Firenze / Florence to Parma by train

How to take a rail journey from Florence/Firenze to Parma

There are three options for taking a train from Florence/Firenze to Parma:

  1. Despite the comparatively short distance, the most frequent option involves taking a high speed train to Bologna and connecting there for a journey on to Parma.
  2. There is a daily Frecce train from the main city centre station in Florence/Firenze to Modena, but it doesn't depart until late into the evening.
  3. There are also a few direct Intercity trains, but if you want to set off from the main city centre station, S.M.Novella, you'll need to make a connection into these trains.
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Routes

Option 1: making a connection in Bologna

Travel Information

The high speed line which heads north from Bologna to Milano by-passes Parma, which is why there are so few direct trains from Firenze to Parma.

As a a consequence by far the most frequent option for making the journey by train, involves taking a high speed train 'Frecce' train to Bologna and the connecting there for a train on to Parma.

If the timings suit. the optimum journeys are those which involve taking a Frecciabianca or InterCity train on from Bologna, you can then make the entire journey in assigned seats.

Though Bologna Centrale is a comparatively complicated station in which to change trains, because the Frecce trains will arrive at the underground AV station, but the train on to Parma will depart from the main part of the station, which is two levels above.

1 - 3 x connections per hour

Tickets

Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings open: 3 months ahead of the travel date

If you select the main city centre station, Firenze S.M.Novella as your departure station when looking up this journey to Parma, the vast majority of the journey options you will see on the booking websites involve:
(1) taking a high speed 'Frecce' train to Bologna, and 
(2) connecting there into one of the frequent trains on to Parma

On Trenitalia, these are the journeys which have 'Changes:1'

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
Trenitalia *

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.
Italiarail *

Italiarail 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.

Users of InterRail and Eurail passes can also book seat reservations on the Frecce and InterCity trains without paying a booking fee,

Journey Features

High Speed

Good to Know

Final Destination - Milano or Torino or Venezia or Bolzano (or others)

For 95 % of the high speed journey between Firenze/Florence and Bologna the train will be travelling in tunnels and the part of Bologna Centrale station that the trains heading to Milano, or Venezia or Udine or Torino will use is within the tunnel.
So listen out for the announcement, which will be made in Italian and English, which will alert travellers to the imminent arrival in Bologna.

Journey Features

Not High Speed

Good to Know

Final Destination:
Frecciabianca and IC trains - Milano
The RV trains - Piacenza or Milano;

The journey options which involve taking a Regionale Veloce (RV)) train on from Bologna, tend to be cheaper, but seat reservations aren't available on these trains; though it is a comparatively short journey.
Another plus is that your tickets will be valid on a any R/RV train leaving Bologna within a reasonable amount of time, so you won't have to rush through the enormous station in order to board the next train.
Though a negative is that you won't be able to use your ticket on an IC or Frecce train in the event of a RV train being delayed or cancelled, you will have to wait it out until the departure of a subsequent R/RV train.

In contrast if you book a journey option which involves taking a Frecciabianca or Intercity train on from Bologna, you'll need to take the specific departure you are booked on to on from Bologna.
Though a benefit is that your seat(s) will be automatically assigned if you take one of these trains.

Option 2: taking the daily direct train from S.M.Novella station

Travel Information

This is the only direct high speed 'Frecce' train from Firenze/Florence to Modena, but it is usually scheduled to depart from S.M. Novella station at around 21:36.

Final Destination: Milano Centrale

1 x train per day

Tickets

Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings open: 4 months ahead of the travel date

This one Frecce train of the day is usually scheduled to depart depart from Firenze S.M. Novella station at around 21:36, so hone in on this departure time if you'll want to take a direct train from Firenze/Florence to Parma.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
ItaliaRail from €13.90

ItaliaRail 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.

Users of InterRail and Eurail passes can also book seat reservations on the Frecce and InterCity trains without paying a booking fee,

Trenitalia from €13.90

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.

On this journey

Journey Features

Scenic - NoHigh Speed (partial)

These trains travel at more than 280 km/h between Firenze and Bologna, but this part of the route is mainly in tunnels.

There is no high speed line between Bologna and Parma, so these trains spend most of this journey on a standard line.

Option 3: taking an Intercity train

Journey Summary

From
Firenze / Florence
Image coming soon...
Firenze Rifredi
Travel Time
1hr 55min (Intercity trains)
Frequency
Daily
Tickets

Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings open: 3 months ahead of the travel date

These trains depart from are usually scheduled to depart from Firenze Rifredi at around 08:17, 15:33 and 19:46, so target these times when looking up this journey.

Select 'Firenze Rifredi' as the 'Departure' station when looking up this journey on Trenitalia, though you'll need to make your way to Rifredi in order to board the train.
A train from S.M.Novella is the easiest public transport connection, buy you'll need to buy a ticket for the journey to Rifredi, so the best option is to book an end-to-end journey that involves departing from S.M.Novella and the train on from Rifredi.

Rail pass users will save €10 by taking these trains compared to taking either a Frecce train to make the connection in Bologna, or the direct Frecce train.
SMTJ usually advocates that rail pass users opt to make reservations on Intercity trains, but on this comparatively short trip, there's no need to.
You can just hop on a local train from S.M.Novella station to Rifredi and then board the Intercity train.
You may have to move seats if a travellers boards with a reservation in Bologna, but on balance it's probably not worth paying the €3 fee in order to avoid this scenario.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
Trenitalia from €12 approx

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.
Italiarail from €12 approx

Italiarail 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.

Users of InterRail and Eurail passes can also book seat reservations on the Frecce and InterCity trains without paying a booking fee,

On this journey

Journey Features

Not High Speed

Good to Know

Final Destination: Milano Centrale

Note that these trains depart from Firenze Rifredi station and NOT from the city centre station; Firenze S.M.Novella.

You'll need to take a train from Firenze S.M. Novella to Firenze Rifredi in order to connect into these trains. .

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