The city of Florence (Firenze in Italian) is often promoted as the most beautiful city in the most beautiful region of Italy. Experts on Tuscany all have their own preferred Tuscan hideaway, but Florence is the city which pulls the biggest crowds. Florence is busy all year round and high demand inevitably means high prices. Florence is expensive. But the city which kick-started the Renaissance certainly deserves a place on any Italian itinerary.

The main railway station is Florence Santa Maria Novella – locally called Firenze SMN. This city centre railway terminus is a showpiece example of Italian modernist architecture dating from 1934. A small number of long-distance trains through Florence do not serve Firenze SMN, but stop instead at Florence Campo di Marte or Florence Rifredi.

Florence lies on the main high-speed axis from Milan to Rome. It is the departure point for direct Trenitalia and Italo trains to Bologna, Milan and Turin (all to the north). Southbound trains on this route speed at least hourly to Rome with many trains continuing to Naples. Florence has direct night trains to Munich, Vienna and the far south of Italy. The city also is the hub of a dense network of local services with trains leaving regularly for Pisa, Lucca, Siena and Poggibonsi (for San Gimignano). Each of these four Tuscan delights makes an excellent day trip from Florence. The train journey from Florence to each of them takes just 60 to 90 minutes.

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