Bologna to Firenze / Florence by train

How to travel by train from Bologna to Florence

There are two routes used by trains from Bologna to Firenze/Florence

  1. The newer high speed line on which high speed Frecce and Italo trains rush between the two cities at more than 250 km/h.
  2. The older improved 'classic' route through the Apennine Tunnel taken by the therefore slower, but typically much cheaper, InterCity trains.
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Routes

Option 1: taking the high speed Frecce trains operated by Trenitalia

Travel Information

Final Destination: Roma or Napoli or Salerno or Reggio di Calabria

The service of AV (high speed) trains is split between these Frecce trains operated by Treniatalia and alternative Italo trains, operated by NTV; though these Frecce trains provide by far the most frequent rail service between the two cities.
They have similar speeds, so the differences between them are to do with the on-board experiences, check out the 'Trains' guides below; and the fact that tickets for the Italo trains and Frecce trains can be purchased from different online booking agents.

A mix of Frecce trains operate on this route between Bologna and Firenze/Florence, though it doesn't particularly matter, which type of Frecce train you travel on for this comparatively short journey; and it makes no difference to the ticket price.

Take any of these high speed services and you can make substantial savings if you book in advance, though you will be tied to taking the specific departure you choose when making a booking.

Though if you buy tickets last minute at the station, these Frecce trains and the Italo trains are typically around €15 more expensive than taking the IC trains.

2 - 3 x trains per hour

Tickets

Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings open: 4 months ahead of the travel date

99% of the direct city center to city center (Bologna Centrale station) to (Firenze S.M. Novella station) trains are the high speed AV trains.
So this is a journey when it pays to book ahead, you will save more than €8 if you book in advance for the high speed trains, compared to the price you will pay at the station prior to boarding those services.

The high speed train service is provided by a combination of:

  • These Frecce trains operated by Trenitalia, and
  • Italo trains, operated by NTV

Trains departing at different times can be cheaper than others leaving on the same day, so you may need to look through the day's departures to find the cheapest fares.

Tickets for the Trenitalia Frecce trains are placed on sale around 4 months in advance, but the Italo train tickets are made available around 5 months ahead.
Trenitalia does not sell tickets for the Italo trains; and Italo does not sell tickets for these Trenitalia trains.

If you're booking no more than 4 months ahead and have no particular preference for the train that you will be taking, the price and departure times of the Frecce and Italo trains can be directly compared on Trainline or Omio; though look out for the fact that both of these services will charge a booking fee.

Considering the journey time, tickets for any high speed (AV) train journey between Bologna and Firenze can seem expensive, but the many, many kilometers of tunnel, which the trains travel through, came at a high cost.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
Trenitalia from €14.90

Trenitalia Guide

Trenitlalia is the national rail operator in Italy and in addition to its cheaper types of ticket; it also typically offers other discounts available to non-Italians, which include:

  • Group Offers, provides for a discount of up to 50% when 3-5 Adults travel together.
  • Family Offer for when groups of 2 - 5 people are travelling together and at least one of the party is a aged 11 and under.
  • The Children Free Offer is available for journeys by Frecce trains, when groups of 2 - 5 people are travelling together and at least one of the party is a aged 15 and under.
    Those aged 15 and under travel for free, but the Adults will need to purchase full price 'Base' tickets.
Italia rail from €14.90

Italia rail Guide

Italiarail lives up to its name by selling tickets for rail journeys within Italy and the core feature of its service is that it is primarily designed to be used by international visitors to Italy.
So the English translations of place names are used when looking up journeys and the terms and conditions for using each type of ticket are clearly explained.
It also clearly points out the additional costs of upgrading to other classes and types of tickets while spelling out the additional benefits of doing so.
Though Italiarail will charge a booking fee, typically of around €3.

The Early Bird service

Italiarail has launched an 'early bird' pre-booking service for journeys by Frecce trains.
Tickets can be booked up to a year ahead of travel at a flat-rate price per route, before the tickets have been released for sale by Trenitalia.
If when they are placed on sale, the price is cheaper than what you have already paid to Italiarail, it will automatically refund the price difference.
Conversely, if the price is more expensive, you won't be charged the price difference.
You can also have the peace of mind of securing your seat(s) on the Frecce train(s) when you are first planning a trip.
If before the tickets are placed on sale, you decide to change your plans, you can request a refund; but once the tickets are released for sale, you will then be bound by the terms and conditions of the ticket(s) you have booked.

Trainline from €14.90

Trainline Guide

Omio from €14.90

Omio Guide

Omio is an online ticket agency which offers tickets for rail journeys in France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Spain.

The three key advantages of using Omio are

  • it offers prices in multiple currencies
  • it usually offers price comparison with other modes of travel including flights and buses
  • when visiting Europe, you can book journeys in multiple countries in one transaction.

The disadvantage of booking with Omio is that it often adds a booking fee to the final price; therefore when it does so without offering a price advantage, SMTJ doesn't tend to offer Omio as a booking option.

Save A Train from €14.90

Save A Train Guide

Option 2: taking the high speed Italo trains

Travel Information

Final Destination: Roma or Napoli

Italo trains, operated by NTV, compete with the Frecce trains, operated by Trenitalia, on the high speed line between these cities.

1 - 2 x trains per hour

Tickets

Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings open: 5 months ahead of the travel date

Tickets for the Trenitalia Frecce trains are placed on sale 4 months in advance, but the Italo train tickets are made available 5 months ahead.
Trenitalia does not sell tickets for these Italo trains; and Italo does not sell tickets for the Trenitalia trains.
Complimentary seat reservations are included when booking tickets for either of these train services.

If you're booking no more than 4 months ahead and have no particular preference for the train that you will be taking, the price and departure times of the Frecce and Italo trains can be directly compared on Trainline or Omio; though look out for the fact that both of these services will charge a booking fee.

Trains departing at different times can be cheaper than others leaving on the same day, so you may need to look through the day's departures to find the cheapest fares.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
Italo from €17

Italo Guide

Omio from €17

Omio Guide

Omio is an online ticket agency which offers tickets for rail journeys in France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Spain.

The three key advantages of using Omio are

  • it offers prices in multiple currencies
  • it usually offers price comparison with other modes of travel including flights and buses
  • when visiting Europe, you can book journeys in multiple countries in one transaction.

The disadvantage of booking with Omio is that it often adds a booking fee to the final price; therefore when it does so without offering a price advantage, SMTJ doesn't tend to offer Omio as a booking option.

Trainline from €17

Trainline Guide

Happy rail from €17

Happy rail Guide

Happy Rail is a Netherlands rail ticket agency which sells tickets for both national and international journeys within a range of countries including Belgium France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland.

HappyRail doesn't charge booking fees in the conventional sense, but if you're not Dutch you can expect to pay additional transaction fees, which will be added to the total cost.
That's because the most common form of online payment used in The Netherlands is 'iDEAL' and HappyRail doesn't charge a transaction fee for 'iDEAL' payments, but only Dutch residents can sign up to 'iDEAL'.
Other forms of payment include Visa debit cards will incur a fee.

On this journey

Journey Features

High Speed (total journey)

Good to Know

These Italo trains to Firenze/Florence all depart from the AV station at Bologna Centrale, binari (platforms/tracks) 16-19.

Option 3: to the main station in Florence by IC train

Travel Information

Final Destination: Terni

This train also calls at: Prato

Taking an Intercity train from Bologna to Firenze/Florence is cheaper than taking either of the high speed services, you can save more than €10.
Though the journey will be around twice as long, because the Intercity trains don't take the high speed line.

However, most of the Intercity trains arrive at Firenze Rifredi station and not the main city centre station, Firenze S.M. Novella.

This info is for the only direct Intercity train from Bologna to Firenze S.M. Novella, it usually departs from Bologna daily at 20:04 so it isn't an option for a daytime train journey between the two cities.

1 x train per day
(Departs in the evening)

Tickets

Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings open: around 3 months ahead of the travel date

This train is the the only direct city centre (Bologna Centrale) to (Firenze S.M. Novella) city centre train, that is  NOT a high speed train.

It  is usually scheduled to depart from Bologna Centrale at around 20:04, so target that time when looking up this journey, if you want to travel by it.

If you have a rail pass and don't mind an evening arrival, you can save up to €10 by taking this train instead of the high speed Frecce trains.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
Trenitalia from €9.90

Trenitalia Guide

Trenitlalia is the national rail operator in Italy and in addition to its cheaper types of ticket; it also typically offers other discounts available to non-Italians, which include:

  • Group Offers, provides for a discount of up to 50% when 3-5 Adults travel together.
  • Family Offer for when groups of 2 - 5 people are travelling together and at least one of the party is a aged 11 and under.
  • The Children Free Offer is available for journeys by Frecce trains, when groups of 2 - 5 people are travelling together and at least one of the party is a aged 15 and under.
    Those aged 15 and under travel for free, but the Adults will need to purchase full price 'Base' tickets.
Trainline from €9.90

Trainline Guide

Option 4: taking IC trains to an alternative station in Florence

Journey Summary

Travel Time
1hr 4min (to Firenze Rifredi))
Frequency
Daily
Travel Information

Final Destination: Napoli or Roma

These trains also call at: Prato

Note that these Intercity trains arrive at Firenze Rifredi station and not the main city centre station, Firenze S.M. Novella.
You'll need to take a connecting train to Firenze S.M. Novella in from Firenze Rifredi in order to reach Firenze/Florence city centre.

The 1hr 4min journey time is to Rifredi station, it doesn't include the time required to change trains and to travel on to S.M.Novella station.
There are usually a minimum of 3 x trains per hour from Rifredi to S.M. Novella.

Monday to Friday: 4 x trains per day
Saturday: 5 x trains
Sunday: 4 x trains

Tickets

Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings open: 3 months ahead of the travel date

You canter Firenze Rifredi as the 'Arrival' station when looking up this journey by IC train on Trenitalia.

Though if you book tickets to Firenze S.M. Novella, you won't need to purchase a ticket at Firenze Rifredi in order to complete the journey.

If you have a rail pass you can save up to €10 by taking these trains compared to the Frecce high speed trains, but you will have to take a connecting train on to Firenze S.M.Novella station, in order to reach the city centre.
It's not worth bothering to arrange the optional £3 rail pass reservation fee for this particular journey.

Book a ticket(s) and a complimentary seat reservation will automatically be included.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
Italia rail from €9.90

Italia rail Guide

Italiarail lives up to its name by selling tickets for rail journeys within Italy and the core feature of its service is that it is primarily designed to be used by international visitors to Italy.
So the English translations of place names are used when looking up journeys and the terms and conditions for using each type of ticket are clearly explained.
It also clearly points out the additional costs of upgrading to other classes and types of tickets while spelling out the additional benefits of doing so.
Though Italiarail will charge a booking fee, typically of around €3.

The Early Bird service

Italiarail has launched an 'early bird' pre-booking service for journeys by Frecce trains.
Tickets can be booked up to a year ahead of travel at a flat-rate price per route, before the tickets have been released for sale by Trenitalia.
If when they are placed on sale, the price is cheaper than what you have already paid to Italiarail, it will automatically refund the price difference.
Conversely, if the price is more expensive, you won't be charged the price difference.
You can also have the peace of mind of securing your seat(s) on the Frecce train(s) when you are first planning a trip.
If before the tickets are placed on sale, you decide to change your plans, you can request a refund; but once the tickets are released for sale, you will then be bound by the terms and conditions of the ticket(s) you have booked.

Trenitalia from €9.90

Trenitalia Guide

Trenitlalia is the national rail operator in Italy and in addition to its cheaper types of ticket; it also typically offers other discounts available to non-Italians, which include:

  • Group Offers, provides for a discount of up to 50% when 3-5 Adults travel together.
  • Family Offer for when groups of 2 - 5 people are travelling together and at least one of the party is a aged 11 and under.
  • The Children Free Offer is available for journeys by Frecce trains, when groups of 2 - 5 people are travelling together and at least one of the party is a aged 15 and under.
    Those aged 15 and under travel for free, but the Adults will need to purchase full price 'Base' tickets.
Save A Train from €9.90

Save A Train Guide

On this journey

Journey Features

Not High Speed

Good to Know

So why take these Intercity trains from Bologna to Florence/Firenze, if they don't arrive at the main station in the city?

Well if you'll be travelling during the day and booking tickets last minute at the station, you'll save around €14 by taking these trains and not the high speed trains; which do arrive at Firenze S.M. Novella.

If you will be a using a rail pass, you'll save €10.
(There are no direct Regionale trains from Bologna to Florence/Firenze, but if the timings of these IC trains don't suit rail pass users can avoid having to reserve on the Frecce trains by taking a Regionale train from Bologna to Prato and connecting there for another Regionale train on to Firenze S.M.Novella station).

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