Barely 100 miles (160 km) separate Rome from the heart of Tuscany, making it easy to incorporate both into your Italian itinerary. For ease and efficiency, travel by train is the best way to make the journey. High-speed and non-stop trains reach the region's renaissance capital of Florence in 90 minutes, while slower Regionale lines link up the popular medieval hill towns and reach the northwestern hub of Pisa in three hours.
While the train will get you where you're going fastest, travel by car or private transport is the best way to explore the area in depth, offering a choice of side trips and detours along the way. The main route is spectacularly scenic—heading north through Lazio, skirting the border of Umbria, and winding through the region's heart before reaching Florence in under three hours.
Multiple daily flights connect Rome with the major Tuscan cities of Florence and Pisa in a speedy 55 minutes but require additional travel time to and from the airports. Travel by bus is an affordable choice, but also the slowest.
Consider making your journey part of a wider tour of the area with this five-day itinerary highlighting the best of Tuscany, or delve deeper into the region with a 14-day trip that immerses travelers in the landscape, culture, and cuisine.
Duration: from 90 minutes
The train is the fastest, most direct way to reach Tuscany from Rome. Two main rail arteries run from Rome northward through the region: the high-speed Rome-Orvieto-Arezzo-Florence line toward Milan and the westerly Rome-Livorno-Pisa line toward Genoa.
The quickest option is Trenitalia's high-speed, non-stop Frecce train, which leaves from Rome's Termini and Tiburtina stations every 30 minutes and arrives at Florence's Santa Maria Novella in under 90 minutes. Slightly slower Trenitalia Regionale trains cover other locations within the area, leaving Rome's Termini and reaching Chiusi in just under two hours, Arezzo or Livorno in 2.5 hours, Pisa in three hours, and Siena or Lucca in 3.5 hours.
Most of the trains in Tuscany are modern and well-equipped, with wifi, air-conditioning, and plenty of luggage storage. Stations in Florence and Pisa are walkable and convenient to the center, but some smaller cities and rural towns require a taxi or bus.
Duration: from 2 hours
Driving is the best way to see the Tuscan countryside and explore the area's smaller towns, but urban traffic in Italy can be stressful, so cars are best avoided if a major city like Florence is your only destination. If small towns and scenic countryside are the highlights of your itinerary, choose a rental agency toward the north of Rome (like Villa Borghese), or pick up from the airport to avoid the congested city center.
Follow the A1/E35 due north toward Florence (3 hrs), skirting Orvieto, Chiusi, Arezzo, and Montepulciano, with the possibility of detours toward Siena and San Gimignano or the scenic Val D'Orcia and Chianti regions along the way.
The fastest route to Pisa also follows the A1, but the quieter E80 is an alternative that offers a change of scenery. The coastal highway runs north from Rome, past Grosetta, the Maremma, and Livorno, before reaching Pisa in just under four hours. Grosetta is close to the halfway point in the drive, making it a great place to stop for lunch. One restaurant option is Locanda de' Medici, located underground within a section of the old Medicean fortress tunnels. Eating here is quite a unique experience, and as such, it can get crowded. It's advised to reserve a table online ahead of time if possible!
Roads in Tuscany are well-marked and generally easy to navigate, but requesting a GPS unit in your rental car is a helpful addition. Driving is restricted or heavily regulated in most historic centers, so plan to park in public lots outside most of your destinations and walk or catch a bus or taxi to the center.
Your local specialist can also help coordinate a private transfer for you. Hiring a driver allows for the freedom to enjoy the spectacular landscapes en route without the worry of navigating and parking and is an excellent choice for those who plan to break up the journey from Rome with multiple stops.
Duration: 55 minutes
Several airlines offer direct flights from Rome Fiumicino (FCO) airport into Florence Peretola (FLR) and Pisa (PSA) in just 55 minutes. Flying is a more expensive mode of transport and adds on travel time to Rome Fiumicino (30 minutes by bus, train, or private transport) and the 90-minute wait required for domestic flights.
On arrival, the Pisa airport is a quick five-minute train ride from the city center, while Florence is 20 minutes by shuttle bus.
Duration: from 2 hours
The bus from Rome to Tuscany is an affordable but much slower option. One exception to this rule is the trip from Rome to Siena. With no direct rail routes linking the cities, the bus is a quicker and more efficient option than changing trains and a good choice if Siena (or nearby San Gimignano) is your main destination.
FlixBus and Baltour offer multiple buses a day, leaving from Rome's Tiburtina station and arriving at Siena's Piazza Stazione Ferroviaria in about 2.5 hours. Siena's station is outside the city walls, but local buses ferry passengers to the historic center in five minutes. Once in Tuscany, buses are a good way to link up smaller towns and rural areas, but the timetables can be sparse and extremely limited on Sundays and holidays, so the train is a better choice for longer trips.