Florence–Rome high-speed railway

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Direttissima Firenze-Roma
ETR 500 on a viaduct near Arezzo
Type Heavy rail
System Italian high-speed rail system
Status Operational
Locale Italy
Termini Firenze Santa Maria Novella railway station
Roma Termini railway station
Opened 24 February 1977
completed on 26 May 1992
Owner RFI
Operator(s) Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (RFI) (2001–present)
FS (1977–2001)
Line length 254 km (158 mi)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification 3 kV DC
Operating speed 250 km/h (160 mph)
Route map
From Bologna (high-speed and traditional) and Viareggio
From Pisa, Livorno
Firenze Rifredi
0.00 Firenze Santa Maria Novella
2.83 Firenze Statuto
To Faenza
From Faenza
3.96 Firenze Campo di Marte
6.95 Firenze Rovezzano
Florence–Rome slow line (LL)
Arno River
Autostrada A1European route E35
Florence–Rome line
Arno River
26.25 Valdarno North interconnection with the LL
Autostrada A1European route E35
46.28 Valdarno South interconnection with the LL
Arno River
Florence–Rome LL
61.44 Arezzo North interconnection with the LL
71.96 Arezzo South interconnection with the LL
Autostrada A1European route E35
106.78 Chiusi North junction
to Siena, Empoli
Montallese (disused)
Florence–Rome LL
Chiusi-Chianciano Terme
Florence–Rome LL
126.64 Chiusi South junction
Autostrada A1European route E35
Florence–Rome LL
Florence–Rome LL
Paglia River
146.11 Orvieto North interconnection with the LL
156.61 Orvieto South interconnection with the LL
Tiber River
186.82 Orte North interconnection with the LL
196.35 Orte South interconnection with the LL
Florence–Rome LL
Tiber River
Tiber River
Florence–Rome LL
Tiber River
Tiber River
Tiber River
From Florence LL
244.81 Settebagni
Grande Raccordo Anulare
248.26 Fidene
250.70 Nuovo Salario
Aniene River
253.85 Roma Nomentana
256.53 Roma Tiburtina
To Naples (high-speed), Pescara
From Pisa, Naples (via Formia), Naples (via Cassino)
261.03 Roma Termini

The Florence–Rome high-speed railway line is a link in the Italian high-speed rail network. It is known as the ferrovia direttissima Firenze-Roma in Italian—meaning "most direct Florence–Rome railway" (abbreviated DD); this name reflects the naming of the Rome–Formia–Naples Direttissima opened in 1927 and the Bologna–Florence Direttissima opened in 1934. The line was the first high-speed line opened in Europe when more than half of it opened on 24 February 1977. It was completed on 26 May 1992, reducing the time of the fastest trains between the two cities to 1 hour and 20 minutes. The old line is referred to by Ferrovie dello Stato (the State Railways) as the Linea Lenta (meaning "slow line", abbreviated LL) to distinguish it from the parallel high-speed line.

The line is currently being modified to meet the new Linea Alta Velocità/Alta Capacità (high-speed/high-capacity line, AV-AC) standard being established by Rete Ferroviaria Italiana for high-speed lines. The line is part of Corridor 1 of the European Union's Trans-European high-speed rail network, which connects Berlin and Palermo.


The 315 km railway between Rome and Florence developed from several different lines by several different companies for different purposes and as a result was curvy and slow. Over the years there had been many studies, proposals and projects for deviations to straighten the line but nothing came of them. After World War II it was finally decided to build a new line that was straighter, faster and especially shorter (237.5 km) than the old Florence-Rome line; it was also to be well-integrated with the existing line, rather than replace it. The project was approved and funded in late 1968 and early 1969. This was the first high-speed rail project—in the sense that "high-speed" is now used—to be commenced in Europe.

On 25 June 1970 work began on the most important element of the project: the 5,375 metre-long Paglia viaduct over the Paglia river, which is made up of 205 25 metre-long linear spans of and five 50 metre-long arched spans and is the longest viaduct in Europe. It was expected that the first 138 km section of the line from Roma Termini to Città della Pieve would take five years to complete, but it was not in fact opened until 24 February 1977. It was a milestone in the history of Italian railways, but progress was subsequently slowed by numerous obstacles, some of a political nature. The line had to be rerouted near Arezzo due to problems in driving a tunnel. The official opening took place with a train consisting of an FS Class E444 locomotive and Gran Comfort coaches.

The 51 km section of line between Città della Pieve and Arezzo was completed on 29 September 1985; the 20 km section between Valdarno and Florence was opened on 30 May 1986 and finally on 26 May 1992 the 44 km section between Arezzo and Valdarno was opened.


Direttissima from the A1 near Orte

The line has a largely straight path with a maximum slope of eight per thousand, no level crossings or intersections of any kind and the centre of tracks four metres apart to counteract the dynamic effects created by trains passing each other. Communication with drivers consists of an adaptation of the Italian RS4 Codici train protection system with in-cabin repetition of signals using nine codes and earth to train telephone communication. The minimum radius of curves is 3,000 meters, enabling an operating speed of 250 km/h. Connections between the two tracks in both directions every 16.2 kilometers allow trains to use either track in either direction or for all operations to operate on a single track if necessary.

The rails are laid using a UIC 60 kg/metre rail profile, with electrically welded rails attached to 2.30 metres-long prestressed reinforced concrete sleepers, spaced 60 cm apart with Pandrol clips. The interconnections between the high-speed lines and the old Florence–Bologna lines are implemented through lines that separate away from the opposing line and pass under or over both new lines rather than crossing over the opposing track on the level. The switches between the two running lines are capable of supporting speeds of up to 100 km/h, while the 15 switches to connecting lines support speeds of up to 160 km/h. The line is electrified at 3 kV DC, and supplied by substations at 16 km intervals. It is proposed to re-electrify the line at 25 kV AC and replace the signalling and train protection system with the European Train Control System to raise the maximum speed from 250 km/h to 300 km/h.

See also[edit]



  • Ascenzi, S. (1977). "La Roma Firenze tra cronaca e storia". Voci della rotaia (in Italian). Rome: Ferrovie dello Stato. 
  • Hardmeier, W.; Schneider, A. (1989). Direttissima Bologna-Firenze-Roma (in Italian). Turin: Edizioni Locovision. 
  • Pallotta, T.; Mosca, M. (2007). Dalla Direttissima all'alta velocità (in Italian). Ponte San Nicolò. 
  • Tiberi., G. (1989). "Gli investimenti ferroviari: 150 anni di altalena". La tecnica professionale (in Italian). Rome: CIFI.