Italy is one of those destinations that delivers a surprise around every corner. No matter how many times you visit, you’ll find something new to fall in love with. The beautiful sun-kissed region of Tuscany is one of the most popular places for visitors looking to experience a little of the renowned Italian magic, and one of the best places to start is our beautiful city of Florence.
Brimming with art and culture (not to mention fabulous food, wine and gelato!) it is not only he Birthplace of the Renaissance, it’s also one of the most conveniently-placed destinations to use as a base from which to explore another of Tuscany’s iconic art cities, Siena.
There are various ways to get from Florence to Siena and, while the choice is yours, some are most definitely easier than others. We’ll run through your options here and then give you a taste of what awaits when you get to the famous medieval hilltop city.
Getting from Florence to Siena
When you’re on holiday, time is usually of the essence, so that’s a very important factor to consider when deciding how you’ll get from Florence to Siena. The last thing you want to do is waste precious hours waiting around when you could already be exploring galleries, eating pizza or licking that second gelato…
Taking public transport is certainly an option, but you’ll have to bear in mind the timetables, and relying on buses or trains can hamper the freedom of your itinerary to a certain degree.
Trains from Santa Maria Novella station take around an hour and a half and leave at the rate of two an hour, however not all of them are direct. Some go via Empoli and require you to change, which adds at least another 15 minutes to the journey. Siena is a hilltop town and the train station is at the bottom of the hill, so once you arrive, unless you fancy a rather sweaty uphill walk, you’ll have to jump on a bus or you can also take a mobile escalator that brings you into a street a short way from the historic centre.
There are fairly regular buses from Florence to Siena, but the bus station can be a little tricky to find. While it’s very close to the main SMN train station it is slightly hidden away so you may have to ask for directions. The timetable is about the same as the train, with two services per hour. You can get on either a fast bus, the ‘Rapida’, which is direct and takes around an hour and fifteen minutes, or slightly slower one, the ‘Ordinaria’, which makes several stops and takes about an hour and a half. You’ll arrive in Piazza Gramsci, from where you can walk to the centre.
This website will help you plan your bus trip: http://www.busfox.com/
Rent a Car
You can, of course, rent a car and drive yourself, but because both city centres are traffic free it can be very tricky and frustrating when it comes to parking. Other considerations to bear in mind are the notorious traffic in and out of both cities and the challenging driving conditions you’ll face on unfamiliar roads.
If you’re looking for a scenic journey you can take the old La Cassia route, or if you’re in a hurry you can take on the Firenze-Siena four-lane highway, which offers a more direct route and will take just over an hour and a quarter.
If you’re set on renting a car, you must fully avail yourself of the Italian road rules and speed limits or risk some hefty fines.
The Easy Way: With WalkaboutFlorence Tours
We’ve definitely saved the best way to get from Florence to Siena for last – we might be biased, but we think that taking a comfortable, air-conditioned coach, accompanied by a friendly and informative local guide to get you right into the heart of the historic city centre really is the only way to go. Additionally you get access to more than just Siena – the tour stops at several of the Tuscan gems including San Gimignano, Pisa and a restaurant nestled in a working vineyard where we refuel with a delicious lunch.
Our escorted coach tours allow you to sit back, relax and truly enjoy the journey from Florence to Siena without a care in the world. It’s certainly not expensive and you won’t be forking out for unexpected charges like tolls and parking fees. Not only will your guide offer a great commentary along the way, because the driver stays with the coach at all times, if you want to leave any belongings behind when you go off to sightsee, they’ll be safe.
When you arrive in this gorgeous medieval city, it pays to be as relaxed and ready as possible – because there’s a lot to see. If you’ve chosen to travel with us, your guide will escort you into the historic centre and take you around some of the main attractions before you’ll be free to explore at your leisure.
The huge Piazza del Campo is the city’s main meeting place and also the site of the world-famous Palio horse race. If you’re feeling energetic you can take a deep breath and climb Torre del Mangia for some incredible views over the city and the surrounding Tuscan countryside. The Pubblico Palace is home to some fascinating historical art and artefacts, while the magnificent marble Cathedral and the Gothic Duomo are filled with priceless frescos and art treasures. And that’s just for starters…discovering the rest is up to you!
We Are Walkabout Florence
If you’re planning a day trip from Florence, there’s no easier or more fun way to do it than on our WalkaboutFlorence day tours. You’ll travel in a modern coach in air-conditioned comfort and be free to take in the stunning scenery along the way. Have a look at our range of tours and allow us to show you the real Tuscany!