Last updated on October 14th, 2023
Whether you’re planning a day trip to Venice or you’re just making your way up to Venice to continue your travels, you may be thinking about taking the train from Florence to Venice.
Traveling from Florence to Venice by train (vs. car or bus) is a good idea because:
- It’s quick
- You can travel ‘door-to-door’
- You don’t have to worry about gas, tolls, driving, or parking
- You can find great deals on train tickets if you book in advance
In this guide, I’ll show you how to plan and take your trip, one step at a time. And, assuming no train strikes, your journey from Florence to Venice will be smooth and stress-free!
Traveling from Florence to Venice by Train, Step-By-Step:
- Decide which Venice train station you need.
- Choose your train company.
- Buy your Florence to Venice train tickets.
- Get to the train station in Florence.
- Use the Florence train station facilities.
- Find your train.
- Enjoy the train ride from Florence to Venice.
- Arrive in Venice.
Table of Contents
Decide Which Venice Train Station You Need
When you book your ticket, you’ll need to know where you want to get off the train in Venice. If you want to arrive in the heart of Venice (with the canals and islands – classic Venice), you’ll buy a ticket to Venice Santa Lucia train station. If you need to go to the Venice mainland, you’ll buy a ticket to Venice Mestre.
Choose Your Train Company – Trenitalia or Italo Treno
You can travel from Florence to Venice with state-owned Trenitalia or privately-owned Italo Treno.
Trenitalia has high-speed (alta velocità) trains between Florence and Venice as well as other slower trains (some are still fairly fast, like Intercity trains, while regional and local trains move slowly and make a lot of stops).
For example, you may see choices like these when you’re looking up Florence to Venice trains on Trenitalia:
- 2 hr 14 min (direct) on the Frecciarossa 1000
- 4 hr 11 min (2 changes) on regional trains
- 3 hr 59 min (1 change) on Intercity and regional trains
At the time of writing, I counted 33 trains (14 of them alta velocità) per day that run from Florence to Venice, with the first leaving around 4:30 and the last leaving at 21:20.
Helpful Tip: If you’re on a budget and not in a hurry, the slower trains on Trenitalia are a good option. Keep in mind that they will not have air conditioning, even in the hot summer months.
Visit the official Trenitalia site for schedules, fares, and info.
Italo Treno has a fleet of high-speed trains and its network connects larger Italian cities like Florence and Venice. At the time of writing, there are 9 trains per day that run from Florence to Venice (you can get off at Venice Mestre or Venice Santa Lucia train stations), with the first leaving at 8:39 and the last leaving at 19:39.
Visit the official Italo Treno site for schedules, fares, and info.
What We Do: I have no loyalty when it comes to the Italian train companies. I look to see which company has the best deal and best schedule for our desired train trip. The high-speed trains for both Trenitalia and Italo are excellent and the amenities are fairly similar.
Helpful Tip: Check both train companies’ websites (or apps) for offers at least 3 days before you’re traveling – many of the best offers must be purchased a few days in advance.
You can read more about Trenitalia and Italo Treno in our guide to Train Travel in Italy.
Buy Your Florence to Venice Train Tickets
I use both the apps and website for both Trenitalia and Italo Treno. They both work and both have English language versions.
Helpful Tip: I don’t recommend using 3rd party services to buy train tickets. Why not? Because it’s so much easier to make changes via the company’s apps or by speaking to a Trenitalia or Italo agent in person at a ticket counter or customer service booth at a train station.
Things happen (you run late, trains run late, plans change, etc), and it’s much easier to deal directly with the train companies. This is based on my experience with train travel in Italy and the experiences of travelers I’ve worked with.
Buying Italian Train Tickets Online
Choices you’ll need to make during your booking:
- High speed (alta velocità) train or not
- Changeable ticket
- Train class (1st, 2nd, etc)
- Reserving your seat
- Entering the appropriate train stations – Firenze S. M. Novella (Trenitalia), Florence S. M. Novella (Italo), Venezia S. Lucia (both)
Buying Italian Train Tickets on Apps
Both Trenitalia and Italo have easy-to-use apps. You’ll need to make the same decisions you do when you’re buying tickets from the website.
Nice To Know: If you’re heading to Venice from Florence at the last minute, you can see the individual trains’ statuses (delayed, on time) on Trenitalia – very helpful!
Note that you no longer need to ‘sign in’ to Trenitalia (and you never needed to with Italo) – you can just make a purchase.
Buying Italian Train Tickets at the Train Station
This is my least favorite option because I don’t like waiting in lines. If you need to buy your tickets at the station, be sure to buy them in advance so you know you’ll get a ticket. If you do want to chance showing up just before the train leaves, make sure you leave enough time for lines – especially if you want to wait in line to speak to an agent. You can also use the self-service ticket machines in the Florence train station.
Get to the Train Station in Florence
The best method will depend on where you’re at in the city, as well as other things like how much luggage you have and what options are available where you are. I recommend walking, taking a taxi, or taking the tramvia.
Check Google Maps for the best route and mode of transportation from where you are in Florence to the train station.
Walk to the Florence Train Station
If you’re not far and don’t have a ton of luggage, I think it’s easiest to walk to the station. It’s easy to access and you can walk in the underground passageway to avoid the traffic and intersections right in front of the station.
Take a Taxi to the Florence Train Station
If you have a lot of luggage or need to just get to the Florence train station quickly, call a taxi. +39 055 4242 or +39 055 4390. If you don’t have a phone, ask your hotel to call for you. Or, catch a taxi from a designated taxi stand in Florence (you can’t hail a cab here).
Take the Tramvia to the Florence Train Station
You may be close to one of the Florence tram lines (T1 or T2), which stop at the Alamanni tram station – right in front of the Florence Santa Maria Novella train station.
See the Tramvia official website for routes and timetables.
Returning a Rental Car to Florence: If you’re returning your rental car before getting on the train to Venice, you’ll return it to the Florence airport or locations near the train station. If you return your car to the airport, you can take a taxi or the tram to get to the train station. If you’re returning your car to the locations near the train station, you can easily walk (or take a taxi if you have a lot of luggage).
Use the Florence Train Station Facilities
Once you get to the Florence S.M. Novella train station, you can use some of the facilities (if you have time). Inside the station, you’ll find:
- Bars and Cafés
- Toilets – near binario (track) 5, or use the toilet when you get on the train
- Shopping – below the station, clothing, gifts, candy, miscellaneous
Helpful Tip: There’s a Conad City supermarket just outside the train station (Piazza della Stazione). Perfect for snacks, fresh fruit, water, etc.
Find Your Train
Once you’re ready to find your train, look up at the large digital display boards. Find PARTENZE (DEPARTURES) and look for your train number and the binario (track).
Good To Know: Your binario may not be up, even a few minutes before your train is supposed to depart. This is especially common with the high-speed trains. Don’t worry – there are many others in your situation. When your binario shows up on the board, walk quickly – don’t run – along with everyone else to get to your train.
Walk through the security gates (you may be asked to show your ticket – printed out or on your phone).
Walk to your binario.
If your train hasn’t arrived yet, you’ll need to wait. Otherwise, find your carriage number and hop on.
Find your seat and enjoy the trip!
Helpful Tip: If you’re running late and your train is about to depart, don’t worry about finding your carriage. Just get on the train and then walk through the train to get to your carriage.
Note: If you’re on a slower train, and don’t have a seat reservation, you’ll just need to find a carriage of your ticket type (for example, 2nd class).
Enjoy the Florence to Venice Train Ride
If you’re on a high-speed train from Florence to Venice, you’ll likely stop in Bologna, Ferrara, Padova, and Venice Mestre before arriving at Venice Santa Lucia. Other people will get on and off at these stops.
There are toilets on the trains, and many will have a bar or restaurant carriage.
My boys enjoy going through the tunnel between Florence and Bologna and going across the water between Venice Mestre and Venice Santa Lucia train station.
Arrive in Venice
Important: Remember, if you’re going to Venice (with the islands and canals – not the mainland), don’t get off at the Venice Mestre Station.
When you arrive at Venice Santa Lucia train station, you have a few options of how to get to where you want to go in Venice (your hotel, Piazza San Marco, etc).
- Walk – This is a nice option if you don’t have luggage (or don’t have much). Make sure you have a good map, either on your phone or a paper version. I’m usually a big paper map fan, but Google Maps works just fine in Venice (but make sure you have a spare charge for your phone).
- Vaporetto (water bus) – Exit the train station, walk down the main steps in front of the Grand Canal and to the right on the canal you’ll see the ACTV stops where you can buy tickets (D) and catch the boats.
- Water Taxi – If you’re coming to Venice with a lot of luggage or with your family, you may want to pay a little more and take a water taxi to your hotel. They can be reserved in advance or you can get a water taxi in front of the station
Helpful Tip: If you’ve just arrived to explore Venice and you aren’t in a hurry, a great intro is to take Line 1 along the Grand Canal and get off at the San Marco – San Zaccaria stop. The boat slowly makes its way through the Grand Canal and you’ll get a nice look at the buildings, the Rialto bridge, and other boats (water taxis, water ambulances, postal boats, etc.).
Enjoy your time in Venice!
Tips for Taking the Florence to Venice Train with Kids
If it’s in your budget, take a fast train (alta velocità), so you can travel with A/C, cleaner bathrooms, and amenities like a restaurant carriage.
Check for family specials at least 3 days before your planned Florence to Venice trip. The deals are great!
Pack a snack for the train. You can get something at the grocery store next to the Florence train station, or pick something up at one of the cafes or the bookshop inside the train station.
Use the toilets on the train before you get off in Venice.
The most exciting part of the trip is the last few kilometers when the train goes over the water.
Florence to Venice Train FAQ
You can also drive from Florence to Venice (park in Piazzale Roma), take the bus, or hire a private driver.
Yes, you can. It will be a long day, but we do it sometimes. A nice time of year is December, when there are fewer crowds and you’ll get to see the holiday lights. It’s also lovely in Florence in December!