Driving from Rome to Florence is one of the most popular mini-road trips in Italy–and one of the most frequent questions we get from readers is where to visit along the way!
We’ve traveled between Florence and Rome many times at this point, hitting up plenty of fun destinations along the way.
This guide is designed to help you make the most of your drive from Rome to Florence (or vice versa–these suggestions work in either direction).
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What’s it like to drive from Rome to Florence?
That’s honestly our biggest takeaway: it’s a beautiful drive, and quite relaxed as compared to driving in some other places in Italy.
With the exception of any stops that you might make (small towns, country wineries, etc.), the bulk of the drive from Rome to Florence takes place on well-maintained A1.
The A roads in Italy feel more or less like driving on any highway anywhere in the world, except you get the joy of watching the Italian countryside pass by through the window.
When we drove this route with my dad and stepmom, they remarked that the drive was much hillier and more beautiful than they imagined.
It’s definitely not a boring drive!
How Long Does it Take to Drive From Rome to Florence?
Without stopping or considering the traffic to exit Rome and enter Florence (or vice versa), the drive time from Florence to Rome is about 3.5 hours via the most direct route.
The fairly short timeline means that even if you’re driving from Rome to Florence in a single day, you still have the opportunity to make a day of it and stop somewhere fun along the way!
(And after all, if you’re not stopping to sightsee, taking the high-speed train is a much faster and more efficient way to travel between Rome and Florence!)
Where to Stop When Driving From Rome to Florence
Here are our absolute top picks for where to stop on a drive from Rome to Florence.
Any one of these is doable even when completing the Rome to Florence drive in a single day!
The beautiful hilltop town of Orvieto makes a fabulous day trip from either Florence or Rome–but if you can squeeze it in between the two destinations to avoid doubling back, that’s even better!
We adore this small town and highly recommend a visit.
Be sure to admire the fabulous Duomo, climb the Torre del Moro for amazing views, explore some of Orvieto’s Etruscan and papal history, visit Orvieto’s underground, and sip some Orvieto Classico wine.
If you have time, consider adding a museum or two to your list!
We also loved descending into St. Patrick’s Well on the edge of town.
In our opinion, Montepulciano boasts some of the absolute best views of the Tuscan countryside from any hilltop town, and some of the best wine, too.
Montepulciano is small and doesn’t take too long to see, making it the perfect stop when driving from Rome to Florence.
Even with its small size, though, we count it among our favorite villages in Tuscany and highly recommend a visit.
While you’re there, be sure to check out some of the best things to do in Montepulciano!
Stop by the beautiful Piazza Grande, admire views of the nearby Church of San Biagio which is located just outside of town, and taste the local wine, vino nobile di Montepulciano.
Civita di Bagnoregio
Easily one of the most unique and picturesque small towns in Italy, Civita di Bagnoregio is a bit of a headache to access without a car or tour, making it the ideal road trip stop.
Stunning and somewhat isolated, Civita di Bagnoregio (or simply “Civita”) is perched on a cliff of tufa rock, and has been populated since the Etruscan era.
With beautiful views, pretty churches, and winding alleys to explore, Civita di Bagnoregio is an idyllic stop on a drive between Florence and Rome.
There are a few quirks to visiting Civita di Bagnoregio: the town charges an entry fee (5 Euro as of the time of writing), and you can only access it via a long pedestrian bridge.
Don’t miss the views from the Belvedere before you head down and cross the bridge, either: this is where you’ll find the postcard shot of Civita di Bagnoregio!
As the Tuscan village that is featured in the famous Under the Tuscan Sun book and movie, there’s no doubt that Cortona is a charming place.
Idyllic, beautiful, and quite small, Cortona is a fabulous stop during a Rome to Florence road trip.
It’s also a bit of a hassle to reach by train, as you have to take the train to the nearby area of Camucia and then grab a bus to the charming center of Cortona.
In other words, if you’re hoping to visit Cortona and want to simplify your transportation, it’s a great place to visit by car.
Once you finish exploring Cortona itself, consider using the freedom a road trip gives you to visit the beautiful nearby Monastery of Celle.
Beautiful, quiet, and often overlooked on trips to Tuscany, the city of Arezzo is a bit bigger than the other options outlined above but also makes an excellent stop when driving from Rome to Florence.
Home to Roman ruins (including the remains of Arezzo’s very own Colosseum), sweeping views from the Medici fortress, some impressively well-preserved fifteenth-century frescoes, and a large number of antique shops just waiting to be perused.
If you’re looking for a somewhat off-the-beaten-path Tuscan city, Arezzo is a fabulous option for your Rome to Florence road trip.
Be sure not to miss a chance to climb the clock tower at Palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici right off the main square (Piazza Grande)!
The views from the top are absolutely sublime, and it is our personal favorite spot in Arezzo.
Other Stops to Consider on Your Rome to Florence Road Trip
Planning a Rome to Florence road trip that will last longer than a day?
If you’re hoping to stop for a night or two between the two cities, you can expand your reach, opening up several more interesting places to visit in central Italy.
The destinations outlined here are a bit more out of the way and/or take a bit more time to visit, but make excellent side trips between Florence and Rome if you have time to spare!
Gorgeous Siena, Florence’s ancient military rival, isn’t exactly on the way to Florence from Rome (via the fastest route, anyway), but it’s still worth a visit.
With an impressive history, a fascinating culture (the Palio di Siena biannual horse race has been running since 1719!), and plenty of fun things to do, Siena ranks among many visitors’ favorite cities in Tuscany.
Siena is home to arguably the most beautiful Duomo in Tuscany (don’t forget to check out the Piccolomini Library while you’re in there!).
We absolutely recommend taking the Porta di Cielo, or Gate to Heaven, tour of the cathedral’s roof if you can–it’s magnificent.
Visiting Perugia on the drive from Rome to Florence requires you to go around your nose to get to your face, so to speak, but Perugia can be worth the detour!
This walled city boasts beautiful views, lots of Etruscan history, and delicious food.
As the capital of Umbria, you’ll find plenty of stunning architecture in Perugia too, including the Palazzo dei Priori and the Cathedral of San Lorenzo.
Don’t miss the chance to sample the local chocolate, either!
As the location of the birth, work, and death of St. Francis, Assisi is one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations in Europe among Catholic travelers.
Even if you’re not Catholic, though, this small Umbrian town has plenty of history and beauty to offer.
St. Francis was the founder of the Franciscan Order–a name you’ll see pop up a lot in Italy–and is also one of the patron saints of the country.
In Assisi, you can tour the impressive Basilica of St. Francis while learning about the life and history of the saint.
As the most popular day trip from Florence and one of the most famous sights in all of Tuscany, Pisa makes a great stop if you have a few extra hours to use up with your rental car during your Rome to Florence road trip.
Quite frankly, Pisa does not take long to see–a half-day is generally plenty for the major highlights–and having the flexibility to move on when you’re ready is a benefit given the large numbers of crowds you can generally find there.
The famous Leaning Tower of Pisa is even more beautiful in person than we ever imagined from pictures!
While Pisa itself is far from the loveliest town in Tuscany, if you’ve always wanted to climb the tower, it’s definitely worth a quick stop–be sure to book your tickets before you arrive, though!
Book your skip-the-line tickets to visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa today!
Terme di Saturnia
The most famous of all of Tuscany’s hot springs have emerged from comparative obscurity into a full-blown famous photography location in recent years.
That’s for a good reason, though: there’s no doubt that it’s still a dream to visit!
If you’re a fan of hot springs and want to make a detour for a soak during your drive from Rome to Florence, consider adding Terme di Saturnia to your itinerary.
Tips for Driving From Rome to Florence
Driving from Rome to Florence along the major highways is among the simplest driving we’ve encountered in Italy.
If you’re a confident driver, I would say there’s no reason to hesitate over renting a car for this route.
There are, however, a couple of complications that pop up once you leave the main highways and head to, say, Orvieto or Cortona.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind for the drive from Rome to Florence, and if you’re planning a longer trip, you may want to also check out the additional advice we have in our Tuscany road trip guide.
Don’t plan too many stops between Rome and Florence.
Looking at all the tantalizingly accessible destinations on a map of the drive from Rome to Florence can make it incredibly tempting to try to squeeze in as many stops as possible, but try very hard to resist that idea!
While the distances are fairly short, finding parking, walking to the center of town, exploring the town, and then reaching your car again takes quite a bit of time for each place.
If you’re completing your Rome to Florence road trip in a single day, we recommend choosing just one extra stop between the two.
Shop around for your rental car.
I’m almost 100% certain that we’ve used a different rental car company every time we’ve rented a car in Italy.
That’s how much the prices can vary depending on your time of travel, pickup and dropoff locations, size of the vehicle, and more!
We recommend searching for your car via Discover Cars, which will allow you to check out the rates of several different rental car agencies at once and compare prices and inclusions side-by-side.
Price rental car options for the drive from Rome to Florence today!
Be careful to avoid ZTL zones.
ZTL zones are restricted access areas that dot most of Italy’s historic city centers, including both Rome and Florence.
If you drive into one, even accidentally, you’re risking a big ticket (and we’ve definitely had to call tiny Tuscan police stations to help some of our family members pay them off months after the fact).
Avoid them by parking on the outskirts of historical centers and by doing your research ahead of time, including where to park in each city you hope to stop in when driving from Rome to Florence.
Autogrills make great quick stops when driving from Rome to Florence.
Need to fill up the gas tank, down a shot of espresso, go to the restroom, eat a reasonably tasty and affordable cooked lunch, or grab some snacks?
Keep an eye out for an Autogrill when driving along the highway–they can help you out with that.
Autogrills are essentially very nice gas-stations-slash-coffee-bars-slash-cafeterias, and you can find them right off the highway all over Italy.
You need an international driving permit to rent a car in Italy.
You can pick this up before you leave home from AAA, and it’s very easy and cheap to do–just a bit annoying, as it’s one more thing to add to your to-do list before leaving for your trip to Italy.
Now, that being said–will your rental agency always ask for it? No.
Will the police always ask for it? No.
Is it worth the risk of being refused a rental car or getting a ticket over $25 USD and a bit of hassle?
We don’t think so.
37 thoughts on “Driving from Rome to Florence: Where to Stop + Travel Tips!”
Hmm.. did I give you the idea for this article? 🙂 We emailed about this topic last month. Love the article and your advice – we decided to hire a driver and stop in Montepulciano and Orvieto! Thanks again!
You sure did, Karri! Hope my email back went through and that you have a blast! Montepulciano & Orvieto are both so beautiful.
Where/who did you hire the driver from? We would like to
I realize this post is 3 years old , on the chance you see this can you advise where you found your driver, we are interesting in doing the exact same trip
We are driving for the first time in Italy, and probably our last time to visit Ital. From checking out of a hotel in Rome to checking into a hotel in Florence. Where would be the one stop you would take? Assisi is my thought.
Assisi is a bit out of the way as compared to some of the other stops–I’d pick Orvieto or Montepulciano personally if efficiency is part of the goal–but if you want to see Assisi instead, there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t! Just plan for a bit longer of a drive, as it adds roughly 1.5 hours to the route.
This was very helpful….First timers to Italy…am renting a car in Rome and dropping off in Florence …the biggest reason is to go to the Hot Springs…what other stop would you recommend if going to Springs? Maybe for lunch?
Thanks so much!
Hi Alicia! I’m assuming you mean the hot springs in Saturnia? If so, Siena or San Gimignano would be easy additional stops near Florence for you. 🙂
Hi Alicia & Kate,
My husband and I are planning to do that very trip you described above. Drive from Rome to Florence with stops at the hot springs in Saturnia and a stop in San Gimignano. I was wondering if Alicia did the trip and how’d it go!
We’re going in September 🙂
Hi! I was researching about Florence itinerary and checking out your blog post with the title “How to Take a Fun Florence to Venice Day Trip (No Tour Necessary!)” but the link doesn’t seem to work and it’s showing the Home page instead. FYI. Very informative travel site by the way!
How strange, I’ll be sure to check out it. Thanks, Hazel! 🙂
We are planning a road trip between Rome and Florence in May so coming across your post has been fantastic so thank you. Lots of ideas from reading your article…Montepulciano, Perugia, Pisa, Siena & Assisi. We have 2 possibly 3 nights for the drive (yet to decide on a hotel or Airbnb) so just wanted to see (if you have the time) what you would recommend. I think Assisi will be a must for us. This will be our first trip to Italy.
If you’re doing Assisi, Perugia or Montepulciano would be very easy to add on geographically speaking, so those would be my first picks.
Pisa is interesting but many people find it less compelling than the rest. If you want to visit, I’d consider taking the train from Florence for a day rather than driving out there.
Hope you have a wonderful time!
Thanks for this article. We are going to Italy in September (COVID factors permitting), and we had originally planned on us taking the train from Rome to Florence, but I think instead we will rent a car and visit Orvieto and spend the night in Montepulciano instead as a bit of a mini-Tuscany excursion between.
Hope you guys have a great time! Orvieto and Montepulciano are both gorgeous. 🙂
Hi Kate! We will be driving from Rome to Florence in June, thank you for your in-depth amazing article! We are planning on spending two nights in montepluciano
as a base to explore the countryside. What do you think of that idea?Would you recommend another town that is more central as a base? Thank you so much 🙂
So glad it was helpful, Kim!
Montepulciano is a fantastic idea, we actually based ourselves there on our trip to Tuscany last month. Here’s our guide to the town if you haven’t seen it: https://www.ourescapeclause.com/things-to-do-in-montepulciano-italy/
Be sure to visit the Val d’Orcia and Pienza (one of our favorite little towns in Tuscany) while you’re there! 🙂
Hi Kate, with my wife we are taking a train from Rome To Florence.
The idea is to rent a car
in Forence and drive Tuscany 3 days.
Do you have a route itinerary or routes to take or avoid??
Also any recommended winnery
If you could also recommend places to stay in FLorence, how bout parking in Florence?
Thanks in advance for any info that could assist us!!
With 3 days, you’ll definitely want to stick to northern Tuscany–think places like Lucca, Volterra, San Gimignano, etc. This post will be a good start for you and has lots of information: https://www.ourescapeclause.com/tuscany-road-trip-itinerary/
We have many posts about Florence as well, including places to stay: https://www.ourescapeclause.com/2-days-in-florence-itinerary/
You guys will have a great time–there’s lots to see in that area!
Do you have any recommendations for private drivers? We are looking to travel from Rome to Florence with a stop in Montepulciano for an ebike wine tour and/or Saturnia. Would love any drivers or other advice you may have.
Hi Ellie! No, we’ve never used a private driver in Italy so aren’t a good resource there. I know that some private drivers list their services/tours through Get Your Guide, which we use to book many other kinds of tours. 🙂
Love your site and hope it will be useful.
We are traveling from Florence to Rome and have only one night to stay on the way. It might be around Orvieto, but we don’t want to stay in the town, can you recommend any beautiful place to stay around that area?
Not off the top of my head, but what I’d recommend is looking for a country hotel or agriturismo near Orvieto.
There will be many around, and they tend to include free on-site parking, easy access, and (often) a wonderful included breakfast. Some agriturismos offer a dinner service, too.
Great website you have created and maintained. A lot of information and the links have been helpful for a possible mid April trip.
Thanks, Allen! Hope you guys have a great trip to Italy.
We are planning to go to Tuscany this summer (end of June) and only will have 3-4 days. We are getting off the cruise in Rome, planning to rent a car and drive to Florence. I want to see Montepulciano, Pienza, Orvieto, Volterra, San Gimignano and Greve. Also that town that has the pedestrian bridge if possible, but I’m thinking this is too much to do in this short time! Can you help me narrow it down, or suggest some hidden gems that we might not know about?
Thank you so much!
I’m not sure how busy your trip will be before and after the Tuscany leg, so I’ll give advice as if you’ll have lots of energy toward the beginning of a trip and you can scale down as needed.
First things first, most “Rome” cruises stop in Civitavecchia–assuming this is true of yours, I’d rent a car there and bypass the capital entirely, since it doesn’t sound like you plan to sightsee in Rome.
If you rent a car in Civitavecchia, you can stop in Civita di Bagnoregio (the town with the pedestrian bridge) on your way north. A couple of hours can give you a solid taste of that town. Orvieto is just to the north of there, depending on when your cruise gets in your can potentially spend the night there.
The next day, you can continue north and explore Montepulciano and Pienza before sleeping in Florence.
Technically, the following day you could visit San Gimignano and Volterra, but if you’ve already done all that sightseeing, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it–I’d consider enjoying Florence for the rest of your time instead.
Hotel Silla, which we have linked in our 2 week Italy guide, has both fairly simple parking and easy access to the best of Florence on foot, a coveted combination. We stayed there in 2022 and enjoyed it: https://www.ourescapeclause.com/2-weeks-in-italy-itinerary/
Personally, Greve isn’t our favorite town in Tuscany and I’d consider trimming it–the surrounding area is lovely, but it wouldn’t be my priority on a short trip.
We are heading to Rome in a few weeks and want a driver to take us to Florence while sight seeing along the way. Do you have any recommendations for who can do this? We are interested in a similar service between Florence and Venice
We’ve never hired a private driver ourselves, however, you can often find them on Get Your Guide, which is the aggregate we book lots of our Italy tours and attractions through.
Thank you very much for your information about Tuscany. I am planning a 26 days trip with my wife in Italy from Sicilia to Genoa in May. I plan to spend 6 nights in Tuscany.
We will drive from Rome to Florence and wonder if our plan, based on your recommendation, is good or too many places to visit / drive to. Or should I add more citta?
Day 1 :
Terme di Saturnia
Civita di Bagnoregio
Orvietto – sleep here
Day 2 :
Montepulciano – sleep here
Day 3 :
Siena – sleep here
Day 4 :
San Gimignano – sleep here
Day 5-6 :
Thank you very much in advance for your advice.
It’s doable but a bit rushed! If you consider this route a wish list of sorts, don’t necessarily want to see everything in each place, and are flexible with adding/deleting stops as time allows, it’s workable.
Assisi is a bit out of the way compared to your other stops, if it’s not a high priority for you, I’d recommend considering spending more time in the Val d’ Orcia instead.
Same goes for Saturnia – you could trim a couple hours of driving time off your route by skipping it.
I appreciate your advice. You are absolutely right. It is too rush to include Asissi.
I planned to drive along the western coastline to Saturnia. Is it a pretty and interesting route to explore? Is white whale in San Filippo giving similar experience as Saturnia? If so then I don’t really need to visit Saturnia.
I think Verona/Dolomites (after Tuscany) is also out of my route to Cinque Terre and Genoa. So I will cut 2 nights there and add 1 more night in Florence.
It seems we need at least 2 months to explore the whole Italy!
I’ve only traveled that section of the western coastline by train, but can confirm that the train views at least were wonderful!
Terme di San Filippo will be a bit quieter and likely more peaceful than Saturnia, so if you’re not set on the idea of Saturnia in particular, I think that could be a solid switch.
There’s definitely no end to how much there is to explore in Italy! Our wish list is still longer than when we started visiting. 🙂
I was wondering what you thought about this section of our itinerary:-)
Our family of 5 (2 adults, 18-year-old and twin 15-year-olds).
Cinque Terre to Florence with an overnight stop in Lucca.
Stay in Florence 2 days.
From Florence to Rome, I want to stop at 1 or 2 places. From looking at pictures I thought these were the prettiest places: Orvieto, Montepulciano, San Gimignano, Perugia (Looks like a postcard) Assisi and Siena.
Would you recommend a few combinations of places that I can pick from.
Assuming you’re doing the Florence to Rome drive in one day with these stops, I’d recommend either a combination of Orvieto and Montepulciano or a combination of San Gimignano and Siena.
Perugia and Assisi are further east, so they add the most driving time of the possibilities you mentioned.
Hope you guys have a great time!
I’d love to do a road trip from Rome to Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, with a stop in Montepulciano, but our friends recently had all of their luggage stolen when they were in Pisa for lunch. If there is no way to keep our luggage safe, we’d rather take the train and then double back after renting a car in Florence. Have you found safe/protected places to leave your car while sightseeing? Or, should we consider a night in Montepulciano on the way?
I’m sorry that happened to your friends!
When it comes to keeping your belongings safe while parking, the general rule of thumb for storing things in your car in Italy (or anywhere else in Europe or really, the world) is to leave absolutely everything out of sight. This isn’t necessarily because thieves are breaking in left and right, but it’s seen as a culturally acceptable caution, like locking your doors at home.
Most European cars without a traditional trunk have a shade of sorts that pulls over the trunk section, 100% concealing anything inside. We leave our luggage in there semi-regularly and feel perfectly safe doing so. We also take any odds and ends from the front of our car–spare change, a phone charger, etc–and put it in the glovebox out of sight when leaving our car.
When sightseeing in Tuscany, generally you’ll park in a lot or occasionally garage just outside of the historic center. They’re not generally guarded, but they tend to be busy, especially at popular places during the day.
All of that aside, a night in Montepulciano is never a bad idea. 🙂 I wouldn’t let potential theft be the reason you make that decision, though, unless you think the worry will detract from your trip otherwise.
I hope that helps!