If you need to book train tickets while in Italy, you can visit ItaliaRail.com. This is a very user-friendly website and gives you the lowest rates on tickets.
Taking the train
There is a 5-minute train ride you can take at the airport, which begins at the PisaMover train and brings you to the Pisa Centrale station. From here, you can take a train ride to Florence. It will last around an hour to an hour and a half, depending on the train speed and the stops it will make. This is one of the easiest options available since it flexibly accommodates schedules.
It also has cheap rates and has plenty of space for passengers and luggage. You also do not want to miss the Italian experience of taking the train. You’ll find more photos and info on train travel further down. Make sure to book your train tickets beforehand!
Taking the bus
Autostradale offers a bus service available every day. This particular service can take you from the airport to the main Florence train station, called Santa Maria Novella. From 9am to 12:40am, a bus leaves every hour and fifteen minutes, and take around 70 minutes to arrive at their destination, although this can vary due to traffic. Buses cost almost the same as trains, at €7 for children and €14 for adults.
However, space is smaller, and travel time is affected by traffic. You may store smaller luggage above your seat, while large luggage goes in the storage compartment of the bus.
Taking a taxi
Although taxis are convenient for traveling with groups, children or difficult luggage, there are significantly more expensive than buses or trains. The taxis that wait outside the airport cost around €180 going to your destination, but this may vary according to distance and time. Taxis are recommended for groups that are four or smaller.
If taxis are too expensive, you can also try availing of a shuttle which will take you from Pisa airport into Florence. This option is generally more expensive than trains or buses, and rates are for round trips. The fares are at least €281, which can accommodate three passengers. The total fare will increase with larger groups til eight, but will become cheaper per person. The best-known company for private transfers is Sun Transfers. Make sure to book ahead.
Rent a car
You may also opt to rent a car to Florence. This is somewhat cheaper than taking a taxi, and you’ll find that driving in Italy is similar to doing so in the United States. A one-way trip will last a bit longer than an hour, including toll booths.
If you will spend your Italy trip traveling from area to area, such as the idyllic wine country, renting a car will be worth it. But if you don’t plan on taking those road trips, you might be better off taking public transport because of the many pedestrian zones in Florence, and limited but expensive parking.
More about taking the train
PisaMover Departure Info
From 6 in the morning to 12 midnight, the PisaMover travels from the Pisa Centrale station Pisay International Airport. A train leaves every few minutes. The trip only is only around 5 minutes long, with a stop for San Giusto Aurelia. The schedules are the same every day, from weekdays to weekends to holidays.
The train going from Pisa to Florence via the Firenze Santa Maria Novella, which the main Florence station, starts at 4:15 in the morning and stops at 10:30 in the evening. A train leaves every 7 minutes to half-hour. The schedules also do not vary for weekends or holidays, so it should be easy to plan your trip.
Buying tickets for your Pisa-Florence trip
There are several kiosks within the station connected to the airport that you may use to buy your ticket. These kiosks accept either cash or credit, and cost €2.70 one-way for an adult. If there is an office, you can also buy your tickets there (although there are none at the station in the airport). If you are traveling with a child shorter than one meter, they can ride for free with an adult companion. If you have two children both shorter than one meter, you will need two adults companions for them to ride for free. If there are more children than adults, though, you’ll have to buy the rest of them regular tickets.
Trenitalia runs the route to Firenze SMN from Pisa Centrale. A one way ticket per adult is €8.40, and children younger than 4 can ride for free, as long as they stay in the adult’s lap. If they you want them to have a seat to themselves, there is also a standard rate for children. Also, if you see an empty seat near you, you can allow your kids to sit there. Trains are almost never full, so this is quite common. Kids from 4 to 11 years old get a 50% discount on the adult fares with seats for themselves.
Trenitalia also has a program called Bimbi Gratis which allows children younger than 15 to avail of a free ride. To join this program, a family of 2 to 5 members must purchase tickets two days before their trip. The group must be accompanied by one or more adults, whose fares will be at standard price.
If you plan on purchasing the Trenitalia tickets on your day of travel, you can buy them at one of the machines or offices in the train station. If you want to buy them beforehand, you can do so online up to 24 hours before the departure of the train.
Dealing with Delays
Buses and trains in Italy are often delayed but a little while. These are prone to happen any time. Although, it becomes more common close to big holidays like Easter and Christmas, when more people are taking public transportation.
Other causes of delays may be worker strikes, but these will be announced in advance, by at least two weeks. These strikes also will not be for longer than twenty-four hours. They are also not allowed during early January, near Easter, around elections, within July, August, or late December. When strikes happen, the train schedules are limited, but still operational. If you miss your travel connection due to a delay, you can redeem your ticket for the next departure. Just make sure you leave with an hour of your original train. In the chance you needed to take the night’s last train, tell the conductor! They might postpone the train’s departure by just a bit.
Train Travel with Children
If you have children younger than 12 years old, they must have an adult with them. Children below 4 can ride for free, but without a seat reservation. To reserve a seat for children from 4 to 11 years old, they will be at half the price of the adult fare (€4.20). For larger groups of 2 to 5, with one adult (or more), and one child (or more) below 15, all the children in the group younger than 15 can each reserve a seat for free. You will have to book these tickets no later than two days beforehand to avail of this offer.
Kids from 12 to 16 years old need a consent form signed by a legal guardian or parent in order to travel alone. Further details about unaccompanied minors can be found by contacting Trenitalia.
Where to Eat Before You Board
There will be no food served aboard the train because of the brevity of the trip. But if you’d still like to get some food while you walk toward the PisaMover, you can find some cafes, restaurants, pizzerias, and shops within the station. Just take a left of the arrivals sections, and follow the hallway. If you take the escalator on the left of that, upstairs are more eating places.
You can also easily find eating places such as Chef Express, McDonalds, along with a couple of cafes at the ground level of the Pisa Centrale when you face the Piazza. These can fill you up for a quick bite. The tastier restaurants can be found outside the station, somewhere past the Piazza. Among these are Istanbul Bar Kebab and Pizzeria Da Filippo, which are directly beside each other.
Traveling from Station to PisaMover Station
A short walk away from the terminal is the station of the PisaMover. To get there you will have to pass through an indoor hallway, then a covered outdoor path. The signs will indicate your way toward the station. But for reference, if you stand at the arrivals area and face the exit toward the Piazza, the way to the PisaMover station is on your left. Following the signs will bring you outside. Just go on ahead until you find a large station sign near an elevator or some stairs. These will take you to one of the platforms.
The PisaMover arrives at the Pisa Centrale, which is to the south of most of Pisa’s sights, as well as Arno River. If you head north, the church of Santa Maria della Spina, the Royal Palace, with the Palazza Blue Museum are just 1 kilometer away. The Duomo and Leaning Tower, which are also near the Botanical Gardens and Piazza dei Cavalieri, are another kilometer further. If you feel the need to deposit your baggage before you see the sights, you can go on and do so at the Pisa Central, since they offer baggage storage. At least take the time to see the Leaning Tower before heading to Florence.