Are you thinking about taking a day trip from Florence to Rome but don’t know where to start? Worry not, here’s a guide to planning your DIY trip to the Italian capital.
All roads lead to Rome, they say, but what to do once you’re there? Rome is so full of treasures that it can be overwhelming just to think of having to plan a day trip. But I got your back. Here you will find instructions on how to get to Rome from Florence, and a suggested itinerary.
The sheer amount of things to see and do in Rome is simply mind-boggling and that’s why I recommend spending at least 3 days in Rome, so you will have to choose just a few places to visit. But don’t worry, whatever you pick, it will be awesome.
The good thing about Rome is that you don’t need to get into museums or galleries to feel like you’ve seen something special. History will unravel before your eyes as you walk the city. There is a reason why they say Rome is like an open-air museum, go and see for yourself!
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HOW TO GET FROM FLORENCE TO ROME
Florence is in a very convenient and central location in Italy, with easy access to many parts of the country thanks to the great transport systems, especially the railroad. You can go on many day trips from Florence by train, using the Renaissance city as a base to explore the gorgeous surrounding area. Visiting Rome is one of those options. This is my best advice to get there.
➤ Florence to Rome by Train: There are different ways to cover the distance from Florence to Rome, but if you only have a day to make this trip, the only way to make it work is to take the high-speed train, which will leave you in Rome in 90 minutes.
Booking the train from Florence to Rome is easy and straightforward, you can BOOK IT HERE in a minute.
I recommend you buy the tickets as soon as you decide on a date for your trip, since prices can vary a lot depending on how much time in advance you buy them, and the trains tend to get full. So you get an idea, a ticket bought 1 day in advance can cost around 45-48 euros, compared to 27-32 euros if you buy them 10 days ahead.
Sometimes, there are special deals or discounts. When I made the trip, I got a 2×1 deal only a few days in advance because there were only 3 seats left on the last row (which was perfectly fine, by the way). But do not count on this. Try to get them as early as you can.
The train will leave you at one of 2 railway stations: Roma Termini or Roma Tiburtina. Both will work, but I recommend choosing a train that ends at Roma Termini (most of them do, but double-check), since this station is closer to the main tourist destinations in Rome. From Termini, it will take you about 25 minutes to walk to the first destination in this guide.
➤ Bus from Florence to Rome: If you still choose to go from Florence to Rome by bus, the trip will take about three and a half hours each way, which means you won’t have enough time to visit everything I mention here, but you can always adjust according to your desires.
Tickets are very affordable. You can check the times and prices here.
Make sure to check the departing point in Florence, as it may vary according to the company. The bus will leave you at Roma Tiburtina station in Rome, 25 minutes on the metro to both Piazza di Spagna and the Colosseum, the first suggested stops in this itinerary.
➤ Florence to Rome by Car: If you’d rather drive from Florence to Rome, it will take around 3 hours to cover the 273 kilometers between the two cities on the highway. To be honest, there is a ton to see between Florence and Rome and roads that are way more scenic than the highway, as you will be driving right through Tuscany! But there is no time for that today, unfortunately. This day is about Rome. But don’t worry, you’ll definitely see the rolling Tuscan hills from the fast lane too.
Once you’re in Rome, the biggest problem will be parking. There is free on-street parking in some areas (marked in white), but good luck finding a spot, and even if you do, the maximum time you can park is 3 hours (careful, fines for overstaying are pretty high). So, my advice is to find a paid parking lot and pay for a day’s parking, which will cost around €25-40 per day.
As you can see, for the purposes of this trip, the best way to get from Florence to Rome for a day trip is undoubtedly the high-speed train. It will get you to Rome faster and will leave you in the most convenient location to start exploring.
ONE-DAY TRIP FROM FLORENCE TO ROME | ITINERARY & THINGS TO DO
I have put together an itinerary for you based on must-see spots, the distance between them and the time available. If you follow it to a T, you will be able to see a lot of the main attractions in Rome, just keep in mind that it’s going to be a busy day, so you need to start early and keep moving. Of course, you can take the information here and adapt the itinerary as you wish.
If you catch the earliest trains, you can get to Rome by 9:30 – 10 am. From there, it takes about 25-30 minutes to walk to my first suggested stop: Piazza di Spagna. Let’s go there.
Piazza di Spagna
Piazza di Spagna (“Square of Spain”) is one of the most-visited squares in Rome and an excellent example of Italian Baroque style. The name comes from the Spanish Embassy to the Vatican that has been located there since the 17th century.
In Piazza di Spagna you will find the beautiful Fountain of Barcaccia and the famous Spanish Steps (Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti), a very photogenic flight of steps dating from the 18th century that lead to the Church of Trinità dei Monti. The view from up there is very beautiful and you will see lots of people having improvised photoshoots. Bring your camera and most insta-ready outfit if you want to join them!
Ready to toss a coin into the most famous fountain in the world? You will finally get your chance. A 5-minute walk from Piazza di Spagna you will find the Trevi Fountain, an essential stop in any Rome itinerary. You will be surprised to learn that this fountain dates from the year 19 B.C. (!!) when it was part of the Roman Aqua Virgo aqueduct. Of course, at that time, it didn’t look like it does today. The current design in Baroque style was finished in 1761.
The Trevi Fountain is the largest fountain in Rome and arguably the most beautiful. Made even more famous by Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, the Fountain receives hundreds of visitors a day (I dare you to try to take a selfie without a stranger’s arm in the frame), most of which wait their turn to toss a coin into the water.
The myth has it that if you toss a coin into the fountain, you will surely return to Rome. The coins that are thrown into the water (which can amount to almost a million euros a year) are collected daily and donated to charity since 2007.
Oh, where to start. When Michaelangelo first saw the Pantheon, he said it was the work of angels, not men. The word “Pantheon” comes from the Greek words pan, “everything” and theon, “divine”, since, originally, it was a temple dedicated to all Roman gods.
The Pantheon dates back to 25 B.C. and still boasts the biggest brick dome ever built, and it is the most imitated ancient work ever. Originally a pagan temple, it was later turned into a Christian church. Today, it is a major tourist destination in Rome, but it still continues to work as a church. The Panthen, together with other important monuments in the historical center of Rome, is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Opening Hours: The Pantheon is open every day from 9 AM to 7 PM (the last entry is at 6:30 PM). It closes on January 1st, August 15th, and December 25th. You can check the updated information here.
By now, you will have probably realized that Romans loved to build water fountains. There are tons! Piazza Navona boasts three of them, with sculpture masterpieces by Bernini. The piazza has an oval shape because it sits on what used to be a stadium commissioned in 86 AD to host sporting competitions (think gladiator contests rather than American football).
Piazza Navona is surrounded by gorgeous light ochre buildings and cute alleys, and it’s usually filled with musicians, painters, and other street artists that create a very lively and happy atmosphere. It’s a perfect area to stroll leisurely and chill for a bit before you move on to the next attraction.
Vatican: St. Peter’s Basilica + Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel
After taking a quick rest at Piazza Navona, you will be ready to head to one of the biggest attractions in Rome: the Vatican. Get ready to spend an afternoon in the company of some of the most famous artists in history, like Michaelangelo, Raphael and Bernini.
Located a mere 25-minute walk from Piazza Navona, the Vatican City is the world’s smallest independent state, the seat of the Roman Catholic Church, and home to an incredible collection of artistic and architectural masterpieces, including the world-famous Sistine Chapel inside the Vatican Museums.
At the center of the Vatican sits St Peter’s Basilica, the largest church and most renowned work of Renaissance architecture in the world, which is said to have been erected over the tomb of St. Peter the Apostle. Of course, the Vatican is also the residence of the Pope.
No need to say this is a huge tourist attraction and lines are to be expected. There are over four miles of artistic and architectural masterpieces to admire, so if you’re going to visit the Vatican as part of a day trip, organization is ESSENTIAL.
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday, from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm, (last entry at 4:30 pm). Hours may vary throughout the year, so always check the time. Trust me when I say that you need to plan your Vatican visit on a day trip. It would be a sin to go unprepared.
➤ Most visits start early in the morning, but this tour will fit right into your itinerary. It includes:
• Skip-the-line entrance tickets
• Visit to all the main attractions: the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica and much, much more
• Licensed English-speaking guides
• Specially designed routes with the essentials plus a few surprises
• Visits in small groups with headsets included for a better experience
This tour starts at 1:30 P.M. and takes 3.5 hours. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Until now, you’ve been able to walk from one attraction to the other. To get to the Colosseum, however, you will need to take a taxi or the metro, which will take 30-40 minutes. Don’t forget that Rome is a big city.
You cannot leave Rome without having seen the Colosseum, probably the city’s most iconic and remarkable monument. Built in the 1st century A.D, it is still the biggest amphitheater in the world (yes, even to this date!), and it could hold around 50,000 people. There is a reason why it was chosen as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World!
READ ALSO: 14 Best Views in Rome
This magnificent arena was a public space used for centuries for entertainment and public spectacles, like gladiatoral combats, animal fights, and executions (we will have to leave morals for another time). Nowadays, it is a relic of ancient Rome and a not-to-miss attraction.
If you are spending one day in Rome, you will have to choose between entering the Vatican or the Colosseum; unfortunately, there’s too little time to do both. The Colosseum is magnificent even from the outside, and especially at night, so I highly recommend you stop by to admire it, even if you don’t go inside.
➤ But if you’re more interested in Ancient Rome than the Vatican, you can go on a tour of the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill and skip the Vatican altogether. This tour helps you skip the lines (that often take hours), and provides invaluable insight into ancient Rome thanks to expert archaeologist guides.
You will hear everything about the Colosseum’s history and the crazy stories that happened here and will learn much about life in the city 2000 years ago at the Roman Forum, which used to be right at the center of life in ancient Rome. The tour concludes with a visit to the resting place of Julius Caesar. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
If you decide to take this tour instead of visiting the Vatican, you will have to adjust your itinerary accordingly. This tour starts at 10:30 am, so you can start here and then move on to Piazza Spagna and the other attractions mentioned above. Easy peasy.
Opening Hours: The Colosseum is open every day from 9.30 am to 7.00 pm (the last entry is one hour before closing time). You can always check the official opening hours here.
DAY TRIP FROM FLORENCE TO ROME WITH A TOUR
If you’re overwhelmed by now just by having read this (and I wouldn’t blame you, it’s a lot to take in in one sitting), and prefer having someone else do the boring organization part, then I have good news.
The Imperial Rome Day Trip from Florence by High-Speed Train will get the tickets sorted while giving you free time to roam around the city at your own leisure, so you only have to worry about how to enjoy the most. This Florence to Rome day tour includes:
• Florence to Rome train tickets and back on the bullet train
• Skip-the-line tickets for the Colosseum and Roman Forum
• A 24-hour metro pass to get around.
The Colosseum tour takes place at 3 pm, which gives you ample time to walk around Rome first and get acquainted with the city. It fits perfectly with the itinerary I prepared for you ➥ BOOK IT HERE
TIPS FOR YOUR ROME DAY TRIP
There’s SO much to do and see in Rome, it really is a city that deserves some of your time. However, if you are going on a day trip, there’s still a ton you can do if you’re organized. Here are some tips to make the best of your day there.
▶️ Get up early and take the first train. The first trains leave around 7:50 am, so yes, it will be an early rise but I promise you it will be worth it. If you take the high-speed train, you could be in Rome as early as 9:30, which gives you enough time to see the main spots without having to literally run around the city.
▶️ Don’t sit down for lunch. If food is your main reason to be in Rome, then well, who am I to stop you. But food is amazing all over Italy, really. To make the most of this day and if you’re planning to follow this itinerary, it is best to not sit at a restaurant. You can always get a snack on the go, like focaccia, pizza al taglio (a single slice of pizza), pinsa (typical Roman pizza), panzerotti (stuffed pastries), or a panino (Italian sandwich). And let’s not forget gelato. Eating a gelato while walking the streets of Rome is a religious experience… as long as you keep walking.
▶️ Stay as long as you can. The last high-speed train leaves around 9 pm. If you took the first train in, this gives you almost 12hs to enjoy the city. That’s really good for a day trip. By the evening, though, you will probably be tired and needing to refill. It’s aperitivo time.
If you still have some time in your hands and want to go a bit off the beaten path, head to Pigneto, an up-and-coming artistic neighborhood dubbed “the Roman Brooklyn”. Here, I recommend Cargo, the go-to bar on the main pedestrian street, or Necci dal 1924, both excellent places for aperitivo, with outdoor sitting and terraces for an authentic Italian experience. It’s about 20 minutes by metro to Roma Termini. Do not miss your train!
If you’d rather stay near the Colosseum, some good aperitivo spots nearby are Cafe Bohemian Libreria (cool vibe, fairly free of tourists), Ai Tre Scalini (great wine and food since 1895), Oppio Café (to enjoy views of the Colosseum with your wine), or Al Vino Vino (authentic, family-run winery).
▶️ Book your tickets for Rome attractions in advance. Rome is one of the most touristic cities in the world, and the Vatican and the Colosseum are the biggest paid attractions in Rome. This means long lines. On a day trip, time is of the essence. Book your tickets in advance and with a skip-the-line option.
▶️ Carefully check the opening times of the attractions. Remember that opening and closing times can vary throughout the year, so make sure you check them in advance and that you show up with enough time to enjoy the visit at your leisure.
▶️ Have an itinerary mapped out before leaving. As I have mentioned several times, in a city as rich in attractions as Rome and with so little time, having a rough itinerary in mind (and ideally, some tickets in hand) will reduce stress and make your visit much more enjoyable. I know that planning can be a pain, but you will be happy that you did it once you’re there.
▶️ Be patient with public transport. Public transport in Rome is not 100% reliable at times. Take ample time to get back to the train station on your way back or take an Uber. You don’t want to miss that train.
Rome is a city full of wonders. You could literally just choose to roam the streets and will be amazed at the amount of history displayed before your eyes. Visiting some attractions with a guide will make your trip even more enlightening, since what you see in plain sight is only the tip of the iceberg.
I hope this itinerary can help you make the best of your day in Rome. You can customize it to suit your needs and wishes, but remember, whatever you choose, have a rough plan and prepare accordingly. You will thank me later!
DAY TRIP FLORENCE TO ROME BY TRAIN FAQ
Yes! This is certainly possible, just bear in mind that it will be a busy day and you will do good to organize it well beforehand to make the best of it. Take the high-speed train to get there faster and have more time to explore Rome.
The Florence-to-Rome fast train takes about 90 minutes to get to the Italian capital. Slower (i.e. regular) trains take about 3 hours.
Prices change depending on the day, time, and how much in advance you buy the ticket. A high-speed train from Florence to Rome can cost about €30-35 buying the ticket 2 weeks in advance, and around €45-50 if you buy it the day before your trip. The regular trains are cheaper (from €22) but take twice the time.
This will depend on which road you take. On the highway (which I recommend taking), the driving distance from Florence to Rome is 273 km, which takes about 3 hours by car. If you take other roads (that are more scenic but also take longer), it can take around 4 hours to reach Rome.
2 days will give you enough time to visit the highlights: the Vatican, Colosseum, Roman Forum, the main piazzas (Piazza di Spagna, Piazza Navona, Piazza del Popolo), the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, Castel Sant’Angelo, and maybe even Villa Borghese. But you could also leave a couple of those out, and take things a bit slower to wander around quaint and artsy neighborhoods like Trastevere, and sitting down to enjoy some world-class food and aperitivo. Italian style.
There are many different tours of day trips from Florence to Rome, and which one is best will depend on what you’re looking for. But at the very minimum, look for a tour that includes high-speed train tickets and a guided tour of either the colosseum or the Vatican. In this article, I recommend a great option that includes both.