Visitors to Tuscany and Chianti in particular have a number of options for getting from one place to another. It’s definitely possible to see a lot of Chianti without having your own car but renting a car provides much easier access to some of the remoter sights.
The options for moving around in Chianti are as follows:
- Train – not within Chianti proper where there are no trains, but certainly nearby and providing fast and convenient access to the other parts of Tuscany and Italy. Fast trains (Frecciarossa, Frecciargento) run from Florence (SMN station) to more distant cities including Bologna and Milan, and Rome and Naples. Booking in advance often results in substantial discounts. Reservations are in any case mandatory for these fast trains. Regional trains run, for example, from Florence to Pisa, Lucca, Sienna and numerous other towns and villages in Tuscany. There is no point in booking ahead for these trains since they do not have limits to passenger numbers. For non-booked trains, be sure to validate your ticket before boarding, using the yellow machines at the head of every platform. There are towns all around the periphery of Chianti that have railway stations (e.g. Figline, Chiusi etc). There are also some excellent excursions by steam engine trains available. See Trenonatura.
- Bus – comfortable buses run to many parts of Chianti, but they radiate out from the provincial capitals, namely Florence and Sienna, often meaning that you have to travel in to the capital and back out to your destination. These buses are scheduled for the convenience of commuters rather than tourists. Nevertheless, they often provide an excellent service, for example from central Chianti (Panzano, Greve) to Florence, and from Castellina to Sienna.
- Tram – trams were taken out of service in the towns and countryside of Tuscany 70 or more years ago, but have just started to make a comeback with a modern tram route in Florence. For tourists, this tram provides a possibility to park well outside the ZTL restricted traffic zones and to come into the historic centre in stress-free comfort.
- Minibus tours – private or shared minibus tours are not cheap, but as long as you get a well-informed driver who speaks English, they provide a very efficient way to see several sights of interest during the course of a day, more than you can probably expect to see if driving yourself, and of course without the fatigue of driving in unfamiliar territory. In addition, a good driver-guide will have ascertained ahead of time whether the place you’re visiting is open. Specialised minibus tours such as wine tasting make even more sense since you don’t have to drive after “tasting” several glasses of wine and the better drivers can sometimes take you to castles and so on that are not normally open to the public. Click this link for our recommended tour drivers.
- Rental car – if you are unable to drive to Italy in your own car, a rental car provides the greatest flexibility and the possibility to really explore every corner of Chianti and Tuscany. If you are not an EU citizen, you need an international driving permit as well as your driving licence. See Renting a car in Italy.
- Taxis and DMCM cars with driver – taxis will usually agree to take you from one village to another based on the meter reading but note that it will be set to double rate since the driver has to return empty. A ride from central Florence to Greve, for example, costs about 65 euros. DMCM licences allow the driver to offer a fixed price rate for s specific journey. Smaller towns such as Greve and Castellina might have only a single taxi licence so you should make arrangements ahead of time. Most bars will have the details of the local taxi. Click this link for our recommended transfer drivers.
- Scooters – you can rent modern vespas in several Chianti towns (e.g. in Greve). These are easy to ride, have automatic gear change etc. However, we don’t recommend this as a way to get around Chianti basically because we consider scooters to be too dangerous for those unused to both scooters and the Chianti roads and traffic.
- Bicycle – cycling is an extremely popular sport in Chianti and throughout Tuscany. On weekends the country roads are full of velcro-clad, extremely fit Italian men riding racing bikes. If you are reasonably fit (remember – Chianti is very hilly), a bicycle is a wonderful way to explore the highways and byways of Chianti. More about cycling routes in Chianti.
- On foot – there are numerous mapped hiking routes throughout Chianti and, for those who like spontaneity, strade bianche (unsealed country roads and tracks) that are ideal for an stroll through the countryside. Recommended guidebooks for hiking in Tuscany.
Here are some posts providing information on specific aspects of moving around Chianti:
- ➤ What you need to know before renting a car in Italy.
- ➤ Traffic fines in Italy – Limited traffic zones.
- Scholarly tours of Tuscany – Nico’s Tuscan cultural tours.
- A tour of the Val d’Orcia by steam engine – the Trenonatura.
- How to get from the airport to central Florence.
- Tuscany by bike: self-guided bicycling tours in Tuscany.
- How to get from Fiesole to Florence.
- Where to park in Florence.
- Guided tours in Tuscany.