What is the best way to go to Florence from Cortona?
Train! Train is the best way to go to Florence from Cortona. It is perfect for a day trip while in Tuscany.
One day trip to Florence
If it’s the first time you see Florence one day of course isn’t enough to see all the beauties of the city. Anyway, you can easily take a walk from the station to the “unmissable” sites like the duomo, ponte vecchio, piazza della signoria, the Uffizi gallery. Actually Firenze city center is very compact.
If you have already been to Florence and you want to avoid the crowd, going one day from Cortona to Florence is a perfect solution to focus on “less touristic spots”. You can go shopping, try local trattorias, see less famous (yet amazing!) churches and museums. In the night, you will come back to the much quieter Cortona and you will enjoy a calm night in the town center even more.
Train from Cortona to Florence
When you go to Florence from Cortona by train, you don’t have to worry about driving or parking in the city. Ticket is not expensive (21,60€ return ticket) and the train takes you right to the city centre in less than 1,5 hours.
You can get the train either in Camucia-Cortona station, or in Terontola-Cortona Station (5 minutes south).
Tickets are available here https://www.trenitalia.com/tcom-en or for purchase at the station. Be aware that in Camucia only machine tickets are available. In case of any troubles with the machines, you could get the tickets at the bar next to the station.
How to get to the train station from Cortona
From Cortona to the train station in Camucia (or Terontola) you could get a taxi. It costs about 15€. Otherwise a bus is departing every hour from Piazza Garibaldi. The same bus is going back to Cortona from the bus stop outside the station on the left. Tickets for the bus can be purchased at any tabacchi shop.
If you have a car, park at the large parking lot behind the station. Go down Via Fratelli Cervi and turn left after the narrow subway. The parking is large and free. There is another small one in front of the station, free as well.
Taking a train in Italy: regional trains
The train to Florence is a local one (regional train), and usually there is no first class. My advice is to be at the station 15 minutes before. In Camucia there are only two platforms. Number 3 is going north bound to Florence and number 1 is going south bound towards Rome. In Florence look at the station flip board as the platform number may not be posted or may vary a few minutes before the departure.
Very important! Each ticket for the regional train must be validated before boarding! The only exception is when you buy tickets via internet: in this case the ticket has a date and a time on it and it doesn’t need to be validated. On platforms there are specific machines to validate tickets – “obliterare” in Italian. This means that the ticket has to be stamped with date and time of your departure. If the ticket is not validated it is not valid and you will get a fine from the train controller on board!
When you board on the train, take any seat and relax! I must say that local trains in Italy are not perfectly clean and they are often late. Anyways, they are an excellent means of transport to move between cities without having to drive or park a car! Perfect for a day trip to Florence or to Rome.