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How Can I Travel In (And To) Tuscany Without A Car?

How Can I Travel In (And To) Tuscany Without A Car?

You cannot claim you have been to Italy until you have experienced Tuscany! From the wealth of Renaissance art, culture and architecture to the breath-taking landscapes, villages and vineyards. Out of all the regions in Italy, Tuscany will undoubtedly be the one to steal a ‘pizza your heart’.

Whether you are a local or tourist, you are able to travel in (and to) Tuscany without a car. Italy has incredible and affordable public transport. As Tuscany is one of the most popular tourist destinations, you can easily visit all of the towns and main attractions by bus, Vespa, bicycle or train.

If you are planning a trip to Tuscany without a car and don’t know where to start, consider the following tips and suggestions from experienced travelers to make your journey a simple, efficient and truly memorable one!

How Do I Travel to Tuscany Without a Car?

If you are a foreign tourist, you will most likely land at one of Italy’s major airports – Fiumicino in Rome or Malpensa in Milan. You will need to make your way to the Tuscany region from either one of these airports. 

Here are a few viable suggestions:

  1. Make Florence the Base for Your Stay In Tuscany
  • As you will be depending on public transportation during your stay in Tuscany, Florence would make the perfect base to begin and end your trip. This is the most straightforward way to arrive from and return to Rome or Milan.

It is also easier to travel from Florence to the other regions of Italy.

  • Florence is the headquarters of Tuscany, with an airport and bus or train connections to all of the other popular Tuscan attractions and towns. 

How To Get from Fiumicino Airport (Rome) or Malpensa Airport (Milan) to Florence

  1. BY PLANE
  2. Fiumicino to Florence:
  • A flight from Fiumicino to Florence Airport will only take around 1 hour and 15 minutes. 

Click on the link below to view flights and pricing:

https://www.rome2rio.com/map/Fiumicino-Airport/Florence-Italy#r/Fly-to-Florence
  • You will then take a taxi or shuttle bus to reach your accommodation, most likely in the city center (around 15 minutes travel time).

Click on the link below to view taxi and shuttle options:

https://www.welcomepickups.com/florence/airport-transfer-to-city/

It is not feasible to fly from Malpensa to Florence, as there are no direct flights and it will cost considerably more than a bus or train trip.

  1. BY TRAIN
  2. Fiumicino to Florence: 

– Le Frecce High-Speed Train will take around 2 hours to get to Florence.

– The Leonardo Express Train includes a connecting train, and the total travel time is 2 hours and 20 minutes.

Click on the link below to view train options:

https://www.rome2rio.com/s/Rome-Airport-FCO/Florence-Italy
  1. Malpensa to Florence:

– As there are no direct trains to Florence, you will need to catch a connecting train:

a) Take the Malpensa Express shuttle to Milan Train Station (50 minutes).

b) The high-speed Alta Velocita will be your connecting train which will take 1 hour and 40 minutes to reach Florence.

Click on the link below to view train options:

https://cms-origin.italiarail.com/pages/routes/milan-malpensa-airport-florence

Arrival at the Florence train station:

Florence Santa Maria Novella Station is right in the city center. You will easily find a taxi or shuttle to your accommodation.

Click on the link to view transfer options from the train station to your hotel:

https://www.toscanainside.com/taxis-transfers-transport-in-tuscany/transfer-from-to-florence-santa-maria-novella-station/#step1
  1. BY BUS
  2. Fiumicino to Florence:
  • Depending on the bus route, travel time is approximately 3 to 4 hours long.

View the Fiumicino Express Bus Schedule below:

https://getbybus.com/en/fiumicino-express
  1. Malpensa to Florence:
  • Travel duration can range from 4 to 6 hours.

View the timetable for the Malpensa Express Bus below:

https://www.malpensaexpress.it/en/

Arrival in Florence:

The bus will arrive in the city center, with simple access to your accommodation via taxi or shuttle.

How Do I Travel In And Around Tuscany Without A Car?

You have sorted out the logistics for traveling to Tuscany without a car – the next step is to strategize how to travel in and around Tuscany without one!

Here is a feasible plan that eliminates most of the guesswork:

  1. Book accommodation in Florence for the entire length of your visit to Tuscany.

Travel experts recommend that you base yourself in Florence for the entire visit to Tuscany. Florence is the prime hub for business and transportation in Tuscany, which means that you will have easy access to public transportation and many guided tour options. 

You can rely on the abundance of public transport and guided tours available to help you reach every corner of Tuscany!

The major benefits of setting up base in Florence:

  1.  You do not need to waste precious time checking in and out of various hotels/ accommodations throughout your stay.
  2. Your luggage remains in one place for the entire stay – this eliminates potential security and logistical issues. You can save your energy for all the exploring instead of hauling heavy bags up and down!
  3. There are far more transportation options and guided tours based in Florence compared to the rest of Tuscany.
  4. Arrival from and departure to the international airports is quick and straightforward.

Traveller Tip:

Where is the best place to stay in Florence?

Remember that you will be without a car – locate and book accommodation where you will be able to access public transport, restaurants, info centers and other facilities hassle-free.

Accommodation in the City Center of Florence is highly recommended because you will be in walking distance to most of the museums, churches, monuments and other main points of interest.

Consider booking lodging in Piazza Della Signoria or Piazza Del Duomo. These are the two major squares in the heart of Florence.

Because the town is fairly small, exploring most of Florence by foot is definitely possible. Walking will allow for a more wholesome experience of the city. 

  1. Plan day trips.

Basing yourself in Florence means that you can plan numerous day trips to most of Tuscany’s beautiful attractions. You will be surprised to discover just how much you can see and explore in a single day!

Travel Options for Day Trips and Exploration:

  • Public Transport

Locals and seasoned travelers agree that a car is not essential for travelling in and around Tuscany. Trains, buses, taxis and shuttles are available around the clock. They will get you to the doorstep of all the major sites and attractions. 

  • Walk or Cycle

Trains and buses come in handy for reaching distant locations, but once you arrive at your destination, you can go on your own adventure on foot or by bicycle. Walking or cycling enables you to see and encounter a lot more.

Most Italian streets are extremely narrow – unlike other modes of transport, walking or cycling won’t restrict your ability to reach all of the attractions, discover hidden gems and immerse yourself in the culture.

  • Car or Vespa Rentals

If you are not keen on public transportation and bigger crowds, you have the option of renting a car or Vespa for the day (or longer). This option does allow for more flexibility and independence. 

Lonelyplanet.com has a very informative post on car and motorcycle rentals, rules and regulations:

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/italy/narratives/practical-information/transport/getting-around/car-motorcycle

Popular Car Rental Companies in Italy                 

Avis –  www.avisautonoleggio.it

Europcar – www.europcar.it 

Italy By Car – www.italybycar.it 

              Florence Vespa Rentals: 

https://www.viator.com/tours/Florence/Florence-Vespa-Rental/d519-128455P1

The Top Day Trips in Tuscany 

Historic towns, picturesque landscapes and vineyards, quaint villages, magnificent art, churches and architecture… experience the very best of Tuscany in a matter of days – no car necessary!

  1. Siena – a Medieval Experience

Best mode of transport: Bus 

Travel time: 1hr 20min

Highlights: 

– Duomo di Siena

– Piazza del Campo

– Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

– Palazzo Pubblico

  1. Pisa – Lively Atmosphere and Magnificent Architecture

Best mode of transport: Train

Travel Time: between 50 mins to 1hr 20mins (depending on train route)

Highlights:

  • Leaning Tower of Pisa
  • The Square of Miracles
  • Church of San Nicola
  • The River Arno
  1. Lucca – a Charming City Rich in History

Best mode of transport: Train

Travel Time: 1hr 20min

Highlights:

  • Lucca Cathedral
  • The Town Walls
  • Guinigi Tower
  • San Michele in Foro
  • Roman Amphitheater
  1. Chianti – Wine and Dine with a View

Best mode of transport: Bus

Travel Time: 1 hour

Highlights:

  • Greve
  • Radda
  • Montefioralle
  • Vineyards and Wine Tasting
  • Stunning landscapes
  1. Florence – Tuscan Culture, Renaissance Art and Architecture

Best mode of transport: Walking or Bus

Travel Time: 10 mins or more (Depending on your accommodation)

Highlights:

  • Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
  • Uffizi Palace and Gallery
  • Palazzo Vecchio
  • Ponte Vecchio
  • Santa Croce

Top-Rated Guided Tours in Tuscany

Guided tours and private excursions are extremely popular and highly recommended when visiting a foreign country. Tourists have peace of mind because they have the opportunity to travel easily and safely.

Click on the links below for more information about each tour.

  1. Florence Hop-On-Hop-Off tour bus  
https://www.hop-on-hop-off-bus.com/florence/hop-on-hop-off-tour-of-florence_5151
  1. Pisa, Siena and San Gimignano Day Trip from Florence (Includes Lunch and Wine Tasting)
https://www.ciaoflorence.it/en/tour-detail/13
  1. Tuscany in a Day: Siena, San Gimignano and Chianti (Includes Lunch and Wine Tasting)
https://tours-discovertuscany.partner.viator.com/tours/Florence/Siena-and-San-Gimignano-Day-Trip-from-Florence/d519-24283GROUP
  1. Tuscany Bicycle Tours

The Top 3 Benefits of Guided Tours

  1. Informative: gain more insight and learn interesting facts about the local culture and history. 
  2. Convenience: your transport and itinerary are already planned and sorted! On most occasions, people doing guided tours get to skip the queue and have VIP access to all of the sites.
  3. Complete experience and relaxation: you will be able to relax and enjoy a more memorable experience as a passenger. You won’t miss out on the breath-taking views along the journey.

A Summary Of How To Travel In and To Tuscany Without A Car

  1. Make Florence the base for your stay in Tuscany. (Book accommodation in the City Center).
  2. Book a train, plane or bus ride from Fiumicino or Malpensa international airport to Florence.
  3. Plan day trips and make use of public transport options (train or bus).
  4. Consider renting a Vespa or bicycle for the day.
  5. Take advantage of the many guided tour options available.

Conclusion

Traveling in (and to) Tuscany without a car has been proven to be both possible and preferable. Avoid the red tape, hassle and difficulties of driving in a foreign country and embrace the opportunity of having a more intimate, laid-back and wholesome Tuscan experience.

Debra Wales

Monday 29th of August 2022

We are in Tuscany right now. Staying three days at a beautiful spa resort in Radda. Arrived from Florence with a driver only to find there is no transport to see the sites. Only two public buses 6am or 3pm! No taxis available, they come from Florence or Siena… so very scarce! If we had of known we would have stayed in Siena.