Skip to content

Historic railways and trains

A journey along the tracks of ancient routes, plunged into the most beautiful Tuscan landscapes

A few historic steam trains continue to travel slowly along ancient routes throughout the whole of Tuscany and make those who obliterate their tickets dream as they turn themselves into travelers of yesteryear. Slower than modern trains, they unchain reveries about who knows how many travelers and how many distant stories they have carried over the years.

In Tuscany, there are several opportunities to live an experience between the present and the past on a historic railroad convoy that runs on ancient tracks, discovering scenic wonders that are difficult to reach by other means.

  • 1.
    Porrettana Railway
  • 2.
    Alto-Pistoiese Railway
  • 3.
    Florence - Ravenna railway
  • 4.
    Asciano - Monte Antico Railway
  • 5.
    Garfagnana Railway

Porrettana Railway

Porretta Historic train
Porretta Historic train - Credit: Andrea

Otherwise known as the Strada Ferrata dell'Italia Centrale, it was built at the initiative of three entrepreneurs from San Marcello Pistoiese, the Cini brothers who, in the wake of the already expanding rail network throughout Tuscany, proposed their ambitious project to the then Grand Duke, Leopold II. Nearly 100 kilometers long and plunged into the beautiful Apennine landscapes, it was the first railway line at the mountain crossing pass connecting Pistoia with Bologna and was inaugurated by Victor Emmanuel II in 1864 under the name of Porrettana. Today these tracks are traveled by the Porrettana express, a historic train that stops at some fascinating places crossed also by the Romea Strata.

Alto-Pistoiese Railway

Bridge over the River Reno
Bridge over the River Reno - Credit: Grikkorio

Between San Marcello Pistoiese and the "Santiago minor," Pistoia, also ran the route of the FAP, the Ferrovia Alto-Pistoiese (Alto-Pistoiese Railway), now decommissioned but once of great importance for the development of the area. In place of the railroad, a bicycle-pedestrian path has been established to retrace the steps of the old railroad route, encountering not only the stations but also interesting museums, the land art installations of the "Segnavie" project, and the Antica Ferriera Papini di Maresca, the oldest one in Tuscany.

Florence - Ravenna railway

Interiors of Dante's Train
Dante's Train - Credit: Benedetta Perissi

On board of wagons from the 1920s, with green velvet or wooden seats of that time, Dante's Train leads from Florence to Ravenna, ideally retracing Dante's journey from his birthplace to the one where the supreme poet found his eternal rest. A railroad route inaugurated in 1893, through green mountain landscapes of Mugello and Romagna. On the so-called "centoporte" train (a 100-doors), so called because of the many doors on its sides, you will take a journey into a journey, discovering the "divine" places associated with Dante and his works. As you travel, you will encounter historic villages such as Borgo San Lorenzo and Marradi in Tuscany and pass through Emilia-Romagna, Brisighella and Faenza.

Asciano - Monte Antico Railway

Treno Natura arriving in Siena
Treno Natura arriving in Siena - Credit: Antonio Cinotti

A charming railway line runs through southern Tuscany. From Asciano, in the Crete Senesi, to Monte Antico in Maremma, through the Unesco hills of Val d'Orcia, the railway winds its way for about 51 kilometers to discover the sinuous lines of the countryside in the area around Siena and in Maremma.
Since 1996 used only for tourism, the Treno Natura that runs along these ancient tracks leads not only through the splendid naturalistic views, but also through the flavors and traditions of the territory guarded by the lovely medieval villages that dot the area.

Garfagnana Railway

Garfagnana railway in the vicinity of the Ponte del Diavolo (Devil's Bridge)
Garfagnana railway in the vicinity of the Ponte del Diavolo (Devil's Bridge) - Credit: bluefootedbooby

From Lucca through the emerald green heart of northern Tuscany toward the Lunigiana, the Garfagnana Railway, otherwise called FLA - Ferrovia Lucca Aulla (Lucca Aulla Railway), joins the Pontremolese railway with destination, indeed, Aulla. Inauguration in some sections began in the late 1800s and ended in 1959; the line still traveled by historic trains includes many fascinating Tuscan places such as Equi Terme, Castelnuovo di Garfagnana and the ponte della Maddalena in Borgo a Mozzano.

What’s nearby?

Must-see places, stage-by-stage routes, events and tips for your trip
Events • 4 results
Ideas • 77 results
Itineraries • 41 results
Travelogs • 2 results