Florence is the capital of the region of Tuscany. Considered the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, some of its greatest artists lived and worked here, like Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, and many others. Formerly an important political, trade, and finance center as one of the wealthiest European cities, it was even the capital of a recently Unified Italy from 1865 to 1871. It is still an important cultural hub and its rich culture is showcased through numerous churches, palaces, piazzas, museums, and world-famous art galleries.
With that said, here’s what you need to know for planning a hassle-free trip to Florence, the Tuscan capital:
ARRIVING in Florence
If you arrive by plane, you’ll likely land in Amerigo Vespucci Airport (FLR), more commonly referred to as Florence Airport, just 6km away from the city center, a.k.a Piazza del Duomo, for the sake of this article.
You have several possibilities to reach the center, but the best cost/benefit is the tram, a short 2min walk from Arrivals. The service is available daily, every 4-11 minutes during most of the day with a journey time of 20min and costs only €1.50 each way. You can purchase the tickets online through the app Nugo (iOS / Android) or vending machines at the tram stops.
|Airport > City*||City* > Airport|
|Last ride||Friday and Saturday||01:32||02:00|
|Sunday to Thursday||00:02||00:29|
*Tram T2 last stop towards the city is at Piazza dell’Unità Italiana, 600m away from Piazza del Duomo.
Alternatively, due to the short distance, taxis are not expensive if you can share the ride. The journey times are approximately 15min, so the price difference is just for comfort and doesn’t translate into much time gain. Prices vary according to the days or hours.
- fixed basic fare: €22;
- holidays: €24;
- nighttime (22:00-06:00): €25.30;
- luggage supplement: €1/each.
Although buses are available too, they are less comfortable, 4x more expensive than the tram, with 30min intervals and 30min journey times. So they are absolutely not good options from the airport.
The easiest arrival in Florence is, as always, with the train. International connections will likely arrive at Firenze Santa Maria Novella (“Firenze SMN”) but arrivals at Firenze Campo di Marte are increasingly common too. If you can choose, go with the first, as it’s only 800m on foot from Piazza del Duomo; as opposed to Campo di Marte, 2km away.
From Firenze Santa Maria Novella, if you are carrying heavy luggage, you can take bus C2 to the stop Duomo Firenze, but it will save you only half of the walk, so it’s not at all time-efficient. Generally speaking, it’s better to just walk all the way.
On the other hand, coming from Firenze Campo di Marte, you can hop on any regionale (purchase with Trenitalia), and with a journey time of 8min and costing only €1.50, you’ll reach Firenze SMN. Alternatively but less advisable, you can take regular buses that will save you half of the walk.
Florence’s main Bus Terminal is located at Piazza della Stazione, next to the main rail station, Firenze SMN. If you are starting from here, read more on the Getting Around section below.
GETTING AROUND Florence
The public transport system is operated by Azienda Trasporti dell’Area Fiorentina (ATAF) and includes minibusses, regular buses, and trams. Inside the historical center, only the minibusses (lines C1-C4) are available.
It’s important to note that if you are staying in the city center proper and will only visit the main spots, you will barely need to take any transport: just from/to the airport. Unless you are going way out of the center or crossing it from end to end, it’s really best to just walk as much as possible.
Unfortunately, unlike lots of European cities, Florence does not offer time-based tickets to tourists. There are, however, different ways to purchase your single ticket (valid for 90 minutes from validation) and it impacts the price accordingly:
- Biglietto 90 Minuti: €1.50, this is the standard single ticket; purchase from machines, sale points, or Nugo app (iOS / Android).
- Biglietto 90 Minuti SMS: €1.80, purchase by sending an SMS to 4880105 with the text ‘ATAF’, but it’s only available for Italian mobile operators.
- Biglietto 90 Minuti A Bordo: €2.50, purchase from the driver, who is not obliged to give change!
- Carnet 10 Biglietti x 90 Minuti: €14, but it cannot be used by more than one person at a time.
You must validate the ticket each time, as soon as you board. It is the passenger’s responsibility to make sure the date and time have been properly stamped. If there’s any problem with the machine, look for a second one. If this also fails, you must report it to the driver. Never ride without a validated ticket, although it’s an honor system on paper, checks are extensive and you won’t be able to talk your way out of a hefty fine.Florence Transport Map