Venice and Florence are two of the most popular cities to visit in Italy, one for its picturesque canals and the other for its Renaissance art and architecture. The two tourist-centric destinations, separated by about 258 kilometers (160 miles), are connected by a fast and efficient rail service and the famous autostrada, where it's perfectly acceptable to drive at 130 kilometers (80 miles) per hour. It would take about three hours to drive it, but that's not counting the time you'll want to spend in places like Padua, Ferrara, and Bologna along the way. Flying takes about the same amount of time, but it's expensive and there are no direct routes. The two-hour train is a popular transportation option and there's a bus for the budget-conscious, too.
|Bus||3 hours, 15 minutes||from $10||Minding a budget|
|Train||2 hours||from $20||Arriving on a time crunch|
|Plane||3 hours||from $286||Traveling in comfort|
|Car||3 hours||257 kilometers (160 miles)||Exploring the local area|
What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From Venice to Florence?
The bus makes it easy to adhere to a budget whilst traveling through the Italian countryside. FlixBus departs several times a day from the Venetian island of Tronchetto (which you may have to ferry to for $9 and 20 minutes of your time). The most direct route takes just over three hours to get to Florence's Piazzale Montelungo, but longer trips can take more than seven hours and require messy transfers. Tickets start around $10. Considering the minimal price difference between taking the bus and the train (a much faster journey)—which can be bridged by that ferry ticket to Tronchetto anyway—most people choose to travel by rail instead.
What Is the Fastest Way to Get From Venice to Florence?
The high-speed train between Venice's Santa Lucia station and Florence's Firenze Santa Maria Novella station takes a mere two hours (sometimes more, sometimes less), making it even faster than driving (especially when you factor in the train's city center-to-city center service). Between the two available services—Trenitalia Frecce and ItaloTreno—trains depart every hour and a half between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tickets start at around $20 and can be booked via Rail Europe.
How Long Does It Take to Drive?
Driving can easily wind up being the most expensive transportation option—what with the cost of parking, fuel, and renting a car, if necessary—but it offers the most potential for adventure along the way. The most direct route between Venice and Florence is the autostrada (highways A13 and E35, specifically), which is a 257-kilometer (160-mile) route that takes about three hours of driving time.
How Long Is the Flight?
There are no airlines that fly directly between Venice and Florence, but Italy's flag carrier Alitalia offers frequent flights to and from both destinations, stopping in Rome. The flight to Rome from Venice Marco Polo is about an hour and 10 minutes, then from Rome to Florence is another 55 minutes. The layover at Rome Fiumicino typically lasts about an hour, too, making the entire journey about three hours (as long as it would take to drive). The real downfall is the price: Tickets start around $286. Florence has only one airport and it's about a 15-minute drive from the center.
When Is the Best Time to Travel to Florence?
The best time to travel to Florence from Venice is before or after the summer high season, when transportation will be booked up and, therefore, most expensive. April, September, and October tend to be quiet and cheap times to travel while still offering mild weather and tourist-centric activities. Book your train ticket well in advance (up to 60 days) for the lowest price. Otherwise, if you're traveling on short notice, it's recommended to opt for off-peak trains, which Rail Europe says are "more affordable than morning and evening trains along with those running on holiday eves, Friday, and Sunday afternoon."
What’s the Most Scenic Route to Florence?
If you're looking to see some authentic Italian countryside along the route, take Po Valley, the country's agricultural heartland, instead of the autostrada. This route, running between Verona and Parma, is a short detour adding about 150 kilometers (93 miles) and an hour and a half onto the trip. On the upside, though, you won't pass any tolls and you'll be treated to some marvelous natural scenery along the way. If you'd still rather take the autostrada, then be sure to make pit stops in historic Padua, artsy Ferrara, and the culinary haven of Bologna for some Tagliatelle al Ragu.
Can I Use Public Transportation to Travel From the Airport?
The easiest and cheapest way to get to the city center from the Florence Peretola Airport is by tram. The Tramvia line T1 connects the airport to Santa Maria Novella (SMN)—Florence's centerpiece—in about 15 minutes and for about $1.63 per ticket. You can purchase tickets at the station, which is located just outside of baggage claim. Alternatively, you can take the Volainbus, a special bus shuttle that goes to SMN, but it takes slightly longer (around 20 minutes) and costs more ($6.50), too.
What Is There to Do in Florence?
Florence was once one of the wealthiest European cities during medieval times (earning the nickname "the Athens of the Middle Ages") and you can still tell it today just by looking at the richness of its Renaissance-era architecture and monuments. The famous Uffizi Gallery—housing works by Raphael, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, and Botticelli—is a good representation of this, as is every building you'll see as you stroll through the city. Sitting at the heart of Tuscany, Florence is also known for its wine and food. You will find it tough to resist the olives and Chianti on every menu.