Let’s face it, Bologna is not always a stop in a classic Italy itinerary but in my opinion wrongly so. Of course, if you are planning your first trip to Italy, you might prioritize other cities such as Rome, Florence and Venice, but I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility of spending even only one day in Bologna. If you are traveling independently, you will find the railway a great alternative to driving in Italy and if you are heading north from Tuscany, booking your Florence to Bologna train will be very easy and straightforward.
Our guide covers everything you need to know to travel from Florence to Bologna by train, including what train to choose, how to book and what are the departure and arrival stations. All you will have left to do is sit and relax, and enjoy the view.
Just like other routes such as Rome to Florence train and vice versa, Florence to Rome by train, also the trip from Florence to Bologna by train is quite popular among residents as well as tourists. With our guide, you will find out the difference in time between train options, how many connections are daily, and how much the Florence Bologna train tickets are. After Bologna, we decided to go back home and also on this occasion we traveled via railway booking the Bologna to Rome train.
Train From Florence To Bologna – Our Step-By-Step Guide
Florence To Bologna By Train: What Are The Companies
The Italian railway is run by two companies, the public Trenitalia and the private-owned Italo Treno. While Italo runs only bullet trains, Trenitalia includes also regional and Intercity trains, which are slower than their Freccia high-speed trains and stop in more stations, resulting in longer trips.
Another factor on the prices of both Trenitalia and Italo tickets is the service you are booking and the offer. The services with Trenitalia are Standard, Standard Silence Area, Premium, Business, Business Silence Area, Executive and Working Area, while with Italo they are Smart, Comfort, Prima and Club Executive. The offers are Base, Economy, Super Economy, Senior 60+ and Young up to 30 with Trenitalia, and Flex, Economy and Low Cost with Italo.
Sometimes you can find Trenitalia has slightly higher prices, but also a wider range of services and options. However, since the ride is only 40 minutes, probably you won’t care much about the services. Besides, the difference of price between Italo and Trenitalia’s Freccia is really small.
Florence To Bologna By Train: Stations Of Departure And Arrival
To go to Bologna from Florence by train, your departure point will likely be Firenze Santa Maria Novella (Firenze SMN), the city’s main station. You can get to Santa Maria Novella train station from everywhere in Florence using the local buses or a taxi.
The station is in the very city center so if you have your luggage but the train doesn’t leave before a few hours, you can use the deposit near McDonald’s after platform 16. To collect the luggage, you need to exit the station to go to the other entrance of the deposit shop. The price is 6 euros for the first five hours and then 1 euro each additional hour.
In Firenze Santa Maria Novella you will find shops, restaurants and also a Sapori & Dintorni supermarket, which is a sort of deli of the Conad market chain and where you can buy ready meals takeaway to have on the train. Very handy if your trip is lunchtime, we have used this a few times and the food wasn’t bad at all. Probably if you are taking the train from Florence to Bologna, I would suggest waiting to arrive to have lunch as Bologna has a delicious, hearty cuisine you shouldn’t waste any occasion to try.
In Bologna, I suggest you get off at Bologna Centrale main station to be close to the city center and have a wider option of local transport connections. If it’s your first time in Bologna Centrale, it might be a little confusing as from Florence, you will likely arrive on a platform underground. The station goes down up to even 5 floors but there are elevators on each floor and they all work!
The station is pretty well organized so you simply need to follow the signs and you will eventually get to the exit. Don’t worry if you have luggage, between elevators and escalators, you won’t have to lift it anywhere. The only tip I can give you here is to check out Google Maps to know where is your hotel or next destination so you know the signs to follow to the best exit for you. We didn’t check beforehand so we took the wrong exit and to avoid a huge walk to get around, we had to re-enter the station and take a few elevator up and down to cross it all.
Train Schedule Florence To Bologna
There is almost a train every 10 to 15 minutes departing from Firenze Santa Maria Novella to Bologna Centrale every day with both Trenitalia and Italo.
The first Trenitalia train departs from Florence at 4.32 am and it’s a regional train, while the first Freccia of the day is 7.10 am. Italo starts the day at 8.25 am and also lands in Bologna Centrale station.
The train schedule Florence to Bologna might change with the season. Planning in advance can get you a wider choice of timetables and available seats to choose from.
Cost Of Going To Bologna From Florence By Train
The cost of your train from Florence to Bologna depends on a few factors. While a while ago booking far in advance could ensure some cheaper fares, now it’s hardly the case so even planning a few days in advance, not always you will find more expensive than a month earlier. While this was a great way to save money, it’s quite convenient if you plan your Florence to Bologna trip last minute. Sometimes, you can find cheaper rates planning your trip for weekdays rather than the weekend as on Saturday and Sunday fares are slightly more expensive.
With Trenitalia, the connection between Florence to Bologna runs on both the high-speed Freccia and regional trains. If you book a Frecciarossa or Frecciargento, the ride will be 40 minutes, there won’t be any other stop in between and the tickets will cost around €24. If you take the regional train, the price will be less than €10, there is one stop before Bologna and it takes between 1 hour 45 to 2 hours and 15 minutes. There is also the option of the Intercity train, which costs €12.50, takes 1 hour 20 minutes and doesn’t do any other stop before Bologna from Florence.
On the other hand, Italo Treno runs only bullet trains so prices always range between €20 to €25. There are several connections during the day, about one every 20 to 30 minutes, and it takes 40 minutes to arrive without any middle stop.
Train Tickets From Florence To Bologna: Where to Book and Where to Buy Them
The easiest way to book your train tickets from Florence Santa Maria Novella to Bologna Centrale is online. The website Omio (former GoEuro) shows prices and schedules for both Trenitalia and Italo. This way, you can book your train before arriving in Italy.
You won’t find these tickets on sale at kiosks or newsstands, but at the Firenze Santa Maria Novella train station, you can buy it at the ticket office or the vending machines operative all day. Just remember that if you buy a paper ticket at the station, be it vending machine or office, you must validate it before boarding the train, otherwise, fines can be pretty hefty.
Your Florence To Bologna Train Journey
During your trip from Florence to Bologna by train you can buy snacks, drinks, and light meals on board. They used to be expensive, but now prices are just a little higher than the foods bought in the station, so if you are running late, don’t worry as on the train you can find something to eat and drink. During the journey, Trenitalia staff will pass with a selection of foods and beverages to buy. Right now, Trenitalia is also offering every traveler a bag with water, a disposable headrest and a mask.
For sure, in the station there is a wider choice of foods and drinks, and Firenze Santa Maria Novella offers a lot of options for every preference, including the Sapori & Dintorni Store I mentioned earlier where you can buy a rich salad, roasted chicken, grilled veggies, fish, and more. This is the case if you really want to eat during the journey, but it’s really so short that you should definitely wait and eat some traditional Bologna meal.
On the train, you can place your luggage either on the space above your head, under your seat if you are carrying a small trolley that can fit, or at the ends of your carriages if you have larger suitcases. The latter is unsupervised, so you might not want to leave your laptop inside, although it’s pretty safe.
Rome-based travel writer, blogger and photographer.