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Piazza del Campo in Siena, Italy on a sunny day.

Best Way to Get from Florence to Siena + 5 Other Options

You’ve seen Michelangelo’s David, walked across the Ponte Vecchio, marveled at the art in the Uffizi, and filled your belly with bistecca fiorentina and gelato during your time in Florence.

Now, it’s time to move on to the home of the Palio, the Torre del Mangia, and ricciarelli

So, fasten your seatbelt (or buy your ticket) – andiamo (let’s go)!

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6 Ways to Get from Florence to Siena

Overall: Bus

Families: Rental Car or Private Driver

Budget: Bus

Fastest: Bus or Private Driver (depending on the time of day and traffic)

Easiest: Private Driver

Most Scenic: Bike

MODE OF TRANSPORTTIME
Bus1 hr 15 min (without traffic)
Rental Car1 hr (without traffic)
Private Driver1 hr (without traffic)
Guided Tourdepends
Train1 hr 30 min
Bicycle3 – 4 hr

Florence to Siena by Bus

If you don’t have a lot of luggage and aren’t worried about stopping on the way, the bus is the easiest way to get from Florence to Siena.  It’s also fast and not expensive at all. 

Why:  Fast, easy, inexpensive

Avoid if:  You’ve got a lot of luggage, you want to stop along the way, you get car sick easily

Where:  Get the bus at the Florence bus station, which is located just next to the Santa Maria Novella (main) train station.  The bus drops you off in Siena at Piazza Gramsci.  From there, it’s a quick 10-minute walk to Piazza del Campo. 

Buying Tickets:  The bus company for this route is Autolinee Toscane (no longer SITA as of 2022), and you can buy tickets at the bus station ticket office (via Santa Caterina da Siena, 17). 

Other places to buy tickets – at the automatic ticket machines inside the SMN train station or vendors throughout the city.  See a list and map of vendors on Autolinee Toscane’s official website or look for the company logo at tabaccherie (tobacco shops – look for the sign with the ‘T’), newsstands, or shops. 

You can also buy tickets from your phone using the TabNet app (with an Italian or foreign phone number).  It’s only in Italian, but the setup is simple.  You need to choose ‘Toscana’ as your city (even though it’s a region).  Then choose ‘extraurbana veloce,’ ‘anonimo,’ and type in ‘Firenze’ and ‘Siena.’

Good To Know:  You can take the 131R or the 131.  Try to get the 131R (R is for rapido, or rapid) – it takes 20-25 minutes less than the regular route.

Good To Know:  You don’t have to get on at the Florence Santa Maria Novella train station.  The bus route makes its way along the western and southern parts of the city.  So, if you’re staying in the Oltrarno, get on at Piazza Tasso or Porta Romana.

Helpful Tip: Remember to validate your ticket by stamping it in the small machine on the bus.

Helpful Tip:  If you’re visiting Siena on a day trip from Florence, but your return ticket when you buy your ticket to Siena (andata e ritorno, round-trip).  There are no seat assignments, so you can take any bus back to Florence.

Florence to Siena by Rental Car

Road sign pointing toward Siena, Italy.

Driving to Siena is fairly simple (and scenic!).  The challenge lies in city traffic and finding parking in Siena.

Why: Fast, flexible (stop for a picnic, to use the bathroom, take photos, etc), traveling with a lot of luggage or passengers

Avoid if: Driving in Italy makes you sweat bullets, it’s the only time you’ll need a car (in which case it’s not worth it), you need to drive during commute hours

Where:  Your departure point in Florence depends on if you’re picking up your rental car, or you’ve already got one and you’ll be leaving from a parking lot.

If you’re picking up a rental car in Florence, you’ll be leaving from the airport, just northeast of the city center. 

Directions from Florence Airport (FLR) Car Rental to Siena’s Parcheggio San Francesco (77km, 1 hr)

Directions from Florence Borgo Ognissanti Car Rental Garage to Siena’s Parcheggio San Francesco (69km, 55 min)

Note:  The Siena rental car companies are all located near the Parcheggio San Francesco (if you need to return your car).

Getting Gas:  You can get gas on the outskirts of Florence or Siena, or along the raccordo autostradale.  If you take a more scenic route (like the bike route below that goes through Chianti, there are also gas stations along the way.  If you’re returning your car in Siena and need to fill up, there are multiple gas stations close to the car rental offices.

Good To Know:  The quickest route is to take the raccordo autostradale FI-SI (Firenze-Siena).  This is not an Autostrada toll road, so you don’t need to pay anything to use it.  Even though the signs are green (like those of the Autostrada), it’s just a connector road – linking Siena to the Autostrada.

Good To Know:  The raccordo autostradale FI-SI often has sections with road construction, and it gets backed up during commute hours (going toward Florence in the morning and leaving Florence in the evening).  If you can, avoid those times.

Fun Tip:  On the raccordo autostradale, as you get closer to Siena, you’ll see the medieval towers of San Gimignano on the hillside directly in front of you.

If you’re planning on driving in Italy, check out our posts on:
Renting a Car in Italy
Italian Gas Stations and Getting Gas in Italy
Important Italian Road Signs
Driving in Italy

International Driving Permit for Italy
Renting a Car in Italy with a US Driver’s License
Italian Toll Roads – Driving on the Autostrada
Paying Tolls in Italy
Parking in Italy + Parking Sign Translations

Florence to Siena by Private Driver

Boys playing in Piazza del Campo in Siena, Italy.

If you want the flexibility of driving but you don’t actually want to get behind the wheel, you can hire a private driver, an NCC – noleggio con conducente.

Why:  Fast, flexible, traveling with a lot of luggage or passengers

Avoid if:  You’re on a budget 

Where:  Your private driver can pick you up at your doorstep in Florence, help with bags, and take you to other places along the way.  Of course, you’ll need to have a general idea of where you’d like to stop along the way (unless you decide to hire the driver for a fixed time period, like a half or full day).

Helpful Tip:  Request a driver that speaks English so he or she can speak to you about what you’re seeing on the drive or about life in Italy. 

Florence to Siena by Tour

You can also head to Siena from Florence on a day tour.  Some tours head straight to Siena, while others visit additional towns including Pisa, San Gimignano, or villages in Chianti. 

Why:  Easy, everything’s organized for you, meet other travelers

Avoid if: You want a flexible option, you want all day in Siena

Where:  Pick up and drop off will either be at your hotel or a landmark like the Florence Santa Maria Novella train station.  See pick-up and drop-off details on the tour’s information page.

Helpful Tip:  If you see a tour you like, check with the company to see if you can make it a private tour.  If you have a large enough group, often it will be the same price (or very close to it).

Florence to Siena by Train

Florence has been a bit of a bully.  After hundreds of years of bickering and fighting, it’s made sure that Siena isn’t on the main train or Autostrada line.  While this certainly doesn’t help Siena economically, it’s helped the city maintain its charm and as a visitor, you’ll surely appreciate that it hasn’t grown as quickly as other Italian cities. 

Because Siena isn’t on a main train line, there are no fast (alta velocità) trains like the Frecciarossa or Frecciargento.  From Florence, you’ll take a regional (slow) train to get to Siena.  Trains are direct and typically take around 1.5 hours. 

It’s easy to get to the Florence SMN train station, but the train station in Siena is below town.  So, you’ll need to walk, taxi, or take the bus up to the center (about 2km to the Piazza del Campo). 

Walk from the train station to the center: If you decide to walk, take the risalita (escalators) from the Porta Siena shopping area (which is across the street from the train station).  It brings you up to the level of the city center and you then have an easy walk into town.

Take the bus from the train station to the center: You can take the bus (5 min) from in front of the station to Piazza Gramsci or Piazza del Sale, on the northern edge of town. 

Take a taxi from the train station to the center: Taxis can take you from the station into town and even drop you off right in front of your hotel (or wherever you want to go).

Use the Trenitalia website.  Use the Italian names – Firenze S.M. Novella (not Florence) and Siena.  You can’t choose seats on these regional trains.

Florence to Siena by Bicycle

Man cycling on a road that curves around vineyards in Tuscany, Italy.
Cycling from Florence to Siena

My husband and I love cycling here and we’ve made the trip between Florence and Siena many times.  If you’ve got multiple days, you can ride in a couple of stages and ride more in Chianti.  Otherwise, cycle our recommended route below (75km, 950m elevation gain).

Recommended Route: FlorenceGalluzzoTavarnuzzeFerronePasso dei PecoraiGreve in ChiantiPanzano in Chianti – Castellina in Chianti – Fonterutoli – Quercegrossa – Siena (by the SS222 and SR2). 

You’ll definitely see local cyclists out riding, especially on the weekend, when Florentine riders head into Chianti for longer rides.  There are also plenty of visiting cyclists during the spring, summer, and autumn months. 

Good To Know:  If you have any bike issues on your way to Siena, you can stop at Chianti Bike (between Tavarnuzze and Ferrone) or Officina Ramuzzi in Greve in Chianti.  Stop for coffee, snacks or a meal in Greve, Panzano, or Castellina.

Whichever method you choose, enjoy your journey from Florence to Siena!

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Siena with Kids
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FAQ

Can I arrive in Siena from Florence by foot?
Yes, you definitely can get to Florence by walking.  It’s actually on the Via Francigena, the ancient pilgrimage route from Canterbury, England to Rome.  Stage 33 of the route takes you from Monteriggioni (north of Siena) into Siena. 
While you could technically find a walking route from Florence to Siena by piecing together paths and stretches of country roads, I’d recommend joining the Via Francigena in San Miniato.  Take the train from Florence to San Miniato and begin stage 30 of the route.