The distance between Florence and Monterosso al Mare is approximately 108 miles (175 km), traveling from Tuscany toward the colorful Ligurian coast.
Because there are no direct trains between the two cities, you will have a layover in either Pisa or La Spezia, later taking a second train to get to Monterosso al Mare (2.5-3 hours).
An alternative option is to drive from Florence to Monterosso al Mare (2-3 hours). However, keep in mind that you will not be able to use the car in either city, due to ZTL zones (limited-traffic areas), where certain city centers are closed off to non-resident vehicles. Still, the drive from Florence to Monterosso al Mare is quite scenic, and there are plenty of Tuscan detours along the way.
Before heading to Monterosso al Mare, make sure to review this 10-day Itinerary of Cinque Terre and the Italian Riviera.
Duration: 2.5-3 hours
There is no direct train between Florence and Monterosso al Mare, so you will have to select Pisa, La Spezia, and on some occasions, Savona, for a layover. In case you haven't explored Pisa yet, the layover is an ideal time to stroll into the city center to visit the Leaning Tower for 1-2 hours.
If you choose La Spezia for the layover, instead of Pisa, you can purchase Trenitalia's "Cinque Terre Express" ticket for the second leg, which grants you unlimited travel between La Spezia, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, Monterosso al Mare, and Sestri Levante for your selected time period.
You will arrive at the Monterosso al Mare train station, which is right in the city center. Upon arrival, enjoy a scenic glimpse of the Mediterranean Sea with overarching green cliffs.
By Car or Private Transfer
Duration: 2-3 hours
The drive from Florence to Monterosso al Mare across the via A11 and the A12/E80 is pleasantly picturesque, with olive groves and vineyards lining the way. Take the Carrodano/Levanto exit on the A12 following SP566dir, Località Albero d'Oro, and SP38, toward Monterosso.
Note that the roads are winding and narrow with hairpin bends, and may be difficult for those not experienced with driving across mountainous terrain. Additionally, keep in mind that most of Monterosso al Mare is pedestrian-only; you will be able to drive only in certain parts of the village. There are two parking areas in Monterosso al Mare, one in the Fegina area, near the seaside, and the other in the Loreto area.
Since you will not be driving your car within Cinque Terre, you may also choose to park in one of the other villages, later hopping onto the Cinque Terre Express for transportation along the villages. Many choose to park in the more affordable La Spezia before switching to train travel. Although La Spezia is not one of the "five lands" comprising Cinque Terre, it is just as close and more convenient for vehicles.
In order to avoid parking-related issues along your commute, you can opt for a private transfer, instead.