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Florence Travel Guide

Florence Travel Guide

Florence Travel Guide

Hello and welcome to Florence, the Renaissance jewel of Italy! Here you will immerse yourself in a world of art, history and delicious gastronomy, something you may already know. However, in case this is your first experience in the beautiful city, from GuruWalk and with the help of the best local guides, we have prepared a small practical travel guide in which we have compiled the best recommendations about restaurants, ice cream shops, places to dance, and much more. Let's make your visit unforgettable!

How to Get from the Airport to the City Center

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The city of Florence is served by an international airport, Amerigo Vespucci Airport, also known as Florence-Peretola Airport (FLR). From this airport, you have several options to reach the city center:

  • Bus: The most economical way to get to the center of Florence from the airport is to take the bus. The Vola in Bus service operates between the airport and the Santa Maria Novella train station in the city center. The trip takes about 20-30 minutes, depending on traffic, and the price is 6 euros each way or 10 euros for a round trip.
  • Cab: If you prefer more comfort and speed, you can take a cab from the airport to the center of Florence. Cabs are available outside the terminal and the trip to the city center usually takes about 15-20 minutes, depending on traffic and your exact destination. The price for this trip ranges between 25 and 28 euros.
  • Car Rental: Another option is to rent a car at the airport and drive to the center of Florence. This gives you the flexibility to explore the city and its surroundings at your own pace. However, be aware that traffic in central Florence can be congested and parking can be limited and expensive. The price of this service depends on the type of vehicle and the number of days you rent it, but it is generally the most expensive of the three options.

Where to Park in Florence

If you're driving to Florence, be aware that parking can be quite tricky. The easiest option, although the most expensive, is to use a private car park. However, there are some areas where you can park for free, although they are a bit far from the center:

  • Giardino di Boboli: You can find free parking areas around the Giardino di Boboli. It's a bit far from the historic center but well connected by public transport.
  • Parco delle Cascine: This area is slightly further away but also offers free parking spaces.
  • San Niccolò: A residential area that allows you to park your car without paying.
  • Piazzale Michelangelo: This iconic viewpoint has a few free parking spaces, but they are scarce and hard to get.

Essential Information for Travelers

Here’s some basic info to help you get around the city and answer common traveler questions, like whether you can drink the tap water.

  • Tap water in Florence is safe to drink: The quality of tap water in Florence is excellent and completely safe to drink. Feel free to fill your water bottle at any public fountain or tap.
  • Remember to validate your public transport ticket: Before boarding the bus or tram, make sure to validate your ticket at the ticket machines. Validation is compulsory and will save you from fines of around 40 euros.
  • Carry cash for small purchases: Although most places accept credit cards, it’s a good idea to have cash for small purchases in local markets or smaller shops.
  • Respect the dress code at religious sites: If you plan to visit churches or cathedrals, remember to dress appropriately.
  • Use public transport, bicycles, or walk to get around the city: Florence is a compact city and many attractions are within walking distance. Use public transport, walk, or rent a bike to get around efficiently and enjoy the city.
  • Learn some basic Italian phrases: While many Florentines speak English, knowing some basic Italian phrases like ‘grazie’ (thank you) and ‘per favore’ (please) is appreciated and can make communication easier.

The Most Important Monuments in Florence

Whether you're planning a quick trip to Florence or spending three or four days in this Italian city, there are a few monuments you just can't miss. These are:

  • The Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore): This iconic cathedral with its stunning dome is a must-see.
  • The Uffizi Gallery: Home to incredible artworks by famous artists like Botticelli and Michelangelo.
  • Ponte Vecchio: This historic bridge lined with shops is one of Florence's most photographed spots.
  • Palazzo Vecchio: The town hall of Florence, with its impressive architecture and rich history.
  • Boboli Gardens: Beautiful gardens offering a peaceful retreat and great views of the city.
  • The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (The Duomo): Also known as the Duomo, it's the symbol of Florence. Brunelleschi's dome is an architectural marvel. Don't miss the chance to climb to the top for panoramic views of the city.
  • The Uffizi Gallery: Home to one of the world's most important art collections, including masterpieces by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, and Raphael. Book your tickets in advance to avoid long lines.
  • The Ponte Vecchio: This medieval bridge over the Arno River is famous for its jewelry shops and stunning views. Take a stroll at sunset for an unforgettable experience.
  • The Accademia Gallery: Home to Michelangelo's most famous sculpture, David. Seeing this masterpiece up close is truly impressive.
  • Palazzo Vecchio: This Renaissance palace was the seat of Florence's government. Explore its decorated rooms and don't miss the Salone dei Cinquecento, adorned by Leonardo da Vinci.
  • Basilica of Santa Croce: This Franciscan church is known for housing the tombs of famous Italians like Michelangelo, Galileo Galilei, and Niccolò Machiavelli. It also features stunning frescoes and artworks.
  • Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens: This grand Renaissance palace houses several art galleries and museums, including the Palatine Gallery and the Museum of Fashion. The Boboli Gardens behind the palace are a green oasis with fountains, statues, and panoramic city views.
  • The Medici Chapel: Known for its impressive interior decorations, including Michelangelo's sculptures on the Medici tombs. It's a place of great historical and artistic significance in Florence.

When Are the Museums in Florence Free?

Galería Uffizi

Most of Florence's museums are free on the first Sunday of every month, thanks to a campaign called 'Sunday at the Museum'. On this day, you can visit major art galleries like the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia Gallery for free.

Additionally, most museums offer free entry for minors, journalists with a valid press card, and people with disabilities. Some, like the National Museum of Bargello, are also free for Italian teachers with a MIUR certificate.

The Best Free Viewpoints in Florence

One of the must-dos in Florence is to enjoy the city's splendor from one of its many viewpoints. Some are free, and some charge a fee, but here at GuruWalk, we've compiled the best ones you can access without paying a single euro.

Mirador de Miguel Ángel

  • Michelangelo Viewpoint: This iconic spot offers stunning views of Florence, perfect for photos and taking in the city's beauty. Located here.
  • Viewpoint of San Miniato al Monte: Another great spot to enjoy panoramic views of Florence, with the added bonus of visiting the beautiful San Miniato al Monte church. Located here.

Where to Eat in Florence

The historic center of Florence can be pricey, making it hard to find cheap eats. However, the best tourist guides in the city recommend several restaurants and trattorias where you can enjoy great dishes at reasonable prices. Here they are:

The Best Gelato in Florence

Like everywhere in Italy, gelato is a big part of Florence's food scene. But where can you find the best and creamiest gelato? Check out these recommended ice cream parlors:

Clubs and Pubs in Florence

Florence isn't just about daytime culture; it has a pretty awesome nightlife too. In the historic center, you'll find plenty of wine bars for a good glass of red, as well as pubs and clubs with different vibes where you can let loose and dance. Here are some top recommendations:

One-Day Trips from Florence

Rome, the eternal city

Explore Rome's ancient ruins, Renaissance art, and vibrant street life.

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One of the most popular ways to travel from Florence to Rome is by train. High-speed trains (Frecciarossa or Italo) run regularly between the two cities. The trip takes about 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on the train and route, with tickets starting at 18 euros. You can also choose to travel by bus, which is cheaper but takes longer.

Direct to Rome!

Pisa, the beautiful Tuscan capital

Discover Pisa's iconic Leaning Tower and charming Tuscan vibe.

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The fastest and most convenient way to get from Florence to Pisa is by train. Regional and high-speed trains connect the two cities in about an hour, and the trip costs around 10 euros.

Let's go to Pisa!

Venice, Queen of the Adriatic

Explore Venice's romantic canals, historic architecture, and rich culture.

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To travel from Florence to Venice, you can take a high-speed train that goes directly to Santa Lucia station in Venice. The train trip takes around 2.5 hours and costs 22 euros or more, depending on demand. Another option is to take a bus or drive to Venice, though the travel time will be longer.

Discover Venice!

More free walking tours in Florence

Florence Travel Guide
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