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Traveling from Rome to Siena, Train versus Bus

GAC

These notes originally appeared on our forums.

A common question which comes up repeatedly is whether it is better to travel from Rome to Siena by bus or by train.

Here are the reasons why the smart choice for most is the bus, especially if connecting from Rome FCO Airport.

Location, Location, Location

The first and foremost reason to prefer the bus is that it is direct and drops you in central Siena, whereas the Trenitalia unreserved regionale train requires a connection at "Chiusi-Chianciano Terme" Station and takes you to the Siena train station, which is down the hill from the historic quarter and too far (and too steep) to proceed on foot. Connections mean the possibility of missing the onward train to Siena, where service is not that frequent throughout the day. A missed connection can result in a wait of one to two hours for the next local train to Siena! Connections also mean needing to lift/carry/drag luggage on and off two trains (three trains from FCO Airport), then taking a taxi or the local bus from the Siena train station to central Siena. Ugh!

Termini versus Tiburtina Station

If you are starting your trip from the Roma Termini train station, the only advantage of the train is that it originates at Termini Station (stopping at Tiburtina), whereas the bus departs from the Roma Tiburtina bus depot (300 meters on foot from the Roma Tiburtina metro station, itself connected directly to Termini in just a few minutes by underground city train). However, this sole advantage does not overcome the other disadvantages noted above.

From FCO (Rome's Airport)

If you are starting out from Rome FCO Airport, it's very easy to reach Tiburtina Station by Trenitalia unreserved airport train (€8, 48 minutes, frequency every 15 minutes). On Sundays, this train runs every 30 minutes. The 300-meter walk to the Tiburtina bus station takes less than five minutes, is all flat, and is much easier than dealing with the inconvenient arrival by train at the Siena train station (described above).

Cost

The Trenitalia unreserved regionale trains from Roma Tiburtina to Siena (via Chiusi) take around three hours, and cost €16.05 in second class. By contrast, the standard one-way bus fare to Siena is €24, but discounted fares as low as just €10 are also offered, making the bus option potentially cheaper as well as more convenient. Children up to 12 years, 0 days pay €12 on the bus, and half fare on the train.

If connecting from FCO Airport, add €8 for the Trenitalia unreserved airport train to Tiburtina Station (children up to 12 years, 0 days travel free if accompanied by a paying adult).

SENA Bus Lines

The bus is operated by SENA bus lines. Departures are currently at 6:00, 8:00, 10:30, 12:30, 14:30, 15:10, 18:30 and 20:45, and travel time is around three hours. Enter your actual travel date for precise information. You can purchase the bus ticket online or, better yet, at the Tiburtina bus depot (especially if connecting from FCO Airport, as you don't know in advance whether you'll be able to catch the bus at a particular hour). All buses stop at the Siena train station before proceeding to Piazza Gramsci up the hill, where many tourists will alight.

Recap

Rome to Siena by bus takes around three hours and costs as little as €10 (plus €1.50 for the metro in Rome to Tiburtina Station). Roma Tiburtina to Siena by Trenitalia unreserved regionale train (via Chiusi) costs €16.05 and takes about the same time, unless you miss the connection. You must then add the cost of a taxi or local bus (€1.20) to central Siena.

Resources

Trains in Italy

www.selectitaly.com - US service selling Italian train tickets

www.trenitalia.it - Italian Trains (aka Trenitalia)

www.sena.it - Bus Service to Siena
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GAC, an Italophile who has taken many trains and buses in Italy, enjoys passing on useful tips to prospective travellers.

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