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Livorno to Florence from cruise ship

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I have been reading through past posts about getting from Livorno to Florence. Our cruise ship will let us off at 7 am. Our intent is to take a train from Livorno to Florence at 8:12 am arriving in Florence at 9:32 am where we will walk a short distance to a market to meet Chef Barbara for a 10 am cooking class. Our class gets done at 2 pm. We will shop in Florence for a while and take a 4 something pm train getting back to Livorno around 5 something leaving plenty of time for the 7 pm departure of the ship.

A few questions:
1. How hard is it to get from the cruise ship to the Livorno train station?
- reading online it sounded like a long walk and the cabs might not want to take us to the train station as they would prefer the customer going from Livorno to Florence in a cab
- I read about a local shuttle from the cruise ship area to the central plazza, but doesnt run at 7:30 am

2. Should I buy my tickets in advance, or just get them from the ticket machine when I get to the station/

3. Should I buy a round trip, or just get my return ticket in Florence? (we have used the trains a lot in past Europe trips).

4. Will I have much problem getting a cab to get from the Livorno train station to the cruise ship? How much time should I plan for?


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