Florence transportation is very simple to navigate.
It's not a big city and most of the main highlights are concentrated within walking distance from one another.
Find out all the ways to get around the city!
While you can easily walk around the Florence city center, there are often times when you need to use one of the many transport options.
Maybe you've had a long day sightseeing, or the weather isn't great, or you're traveling with children, or you just want to get somewhere quickly.
Walking is definitely the best way to enjoy the city, but especially in the hot summer months a bus or a taxi can come in handy.
And if you're planning to explore the countryside around Florence, then a rental car is definitely your best bet.
Knowing how to get around Florence will likely come in useful during your visit, so keep reading for an overview of the different options available to get around, including:
There are two companies to be aware of, the Autolinee Toscane which runs the city buses and GEST which runs the trams.
Within Florence and in the towns surrounding the city you’ll find buses run by the Autolinee Toscane (the company used to be called ATAF but changed name in late 2021 - you may still see references to the old name).
Both within the historical city centre and outside of it, the bus service runs more or less frequently and are usually quite reliable.
There are multiple bus routes available, stopping at or near most major sights and important locations, so taking a bus ride or two during your trip is an efficient way to navigate Florence.
You can purchase tickets as a single ticket or with a Florence bus pass.
Another great option for public transportation, especially if you're looking to get from Florence airport to the city center, is the tram, run by GEST tramvia.
There are two lines in Florence, both of which have their final stop near the Santa Maria Novella train station.
The trams cover the wider Florence area outside of the city center, including the University and across the river, but they do not go inside the main Renaissance city area itself.
If you're planning on driving to Florence from another part of Italy, like Rome or the Tuscan countryside, a great option is leaving your car at the Villa Costanza parking lot and taking the tram into town.
This will help you avoid the limited traffic zone, one way streets and general intensity that is driving in Italian cities!
The trams and buses use the same ticket, which is valid for 90 minutes and cost €1.50.
You can buy these tickets in a number of places, but the important thing to remember is that you must have a ticket BEFORE you get on a tram or bus, and must validate your ticket.
If you are caught without a validated bus ticket, you will be liable for a significant fine.
**It's important to note that if you are caught with an unvalidated ticket, they do not accept any excuses such as "I didn't know." Be prepared to pay a hefty fine on the spot!**
You can buy bus tickets by:
You cannot buy your own bus tickets from the bus driver, you will need to find a bus ticket booth or ticket machines before you get on the bus.
While you would not use the trains to get around in Florence during your visit, lots of people arrive and depart Florence by train, especially if you're visiting other Italian cities like Rome or Venice.
The main Florence train station is Santa Maria Novella, which is ideally located for visitors.
Outside the station there are taxis and bus stops, and it is only a short walk into the most central part of Florence.
Be careful when booking your train tickets and ensure you select the right Florence train station, there are others further out of the city but Santa Maria Novella is the best option.
This is also where the train link between Pisa airport and downtown Florence stops.
A very popular way of getting around big tourist cities are the big sightseeing buses.
However, in Florence they’re a little less convenient as the entire historical center is ‘destination traffic’ only and these big buses aren't allowed to enter to do proper sightseeing tours.
The Florence hop on/hop off bus line takes you around the center but not inside, so to explore Florence this is not the best public transport option.
You can use them to get around from A to B in quite a convenient way however.
The price for a hop on/hop off bus ticket starts at €20,70 for 24 hours.
There are two lines, although the B-line is currently suspended (as of March 2023). Line A runs every 35-70 minutes, every day.
Taxis in Florence are a safe and fast way to get around.
Drivers are usually friendly and helpful and a lot of them speak at least a little bit of English.
As in most of Italy's main cities, you can’t just wave a taxi down on the street in Florence.
Instead, you have to go to one of the specific taxi ranks around the city or call for a taxi to come to your location.
You’ll find the taxi ranks near the main sights, including in front of the Pitti Palace, in Piazza San Marco, in front of Porta Romana, next to Piazza della Repubblica and of course at the Santa Maria Novella train station.
Both companies also have a ‘pink taxi’ service available to women only, usually from 9PM to 4AM, you can order your Pink Taxi by calling +39 055 4378557 or +39 055 4361904.
Taxis are required to turn on their meter so make sure this is on before you start your journey.
If you are taking taxis to and from Florence airport, there’s a fixed taxi fare rate of €25-30 for trips in and out of the historical center.
Tips are not necessary for taxi drivers, unless you really want to or they've been especially helpful.
It just isn't the custom here for taxi drivers to expect tips so do not feel obligated to do so!
It's almost impossible to drive yourself in central Florence because of the ZTL: limited traffic zone.
You can spot these by big screens at the end of roads saying ‘zone open’ or ‘zone closed’, but generally speaking, tourists can’t enter the center with a car.
If you have booked a hotel that you need to drive to, contact them in advance to ask about any driving restrictions and parking arrangements.
Your hotel can arrange for you to be allowed access to reach their establishment, but this does not give you the right to drive around the one way streets and restricted zones.
Unless you have no other choice, I strongly recommend that you do not hire a car for your trip to Florence!
If you're planning on exploring the countryside around Florence however, renting a car is a must.
Most car rental companies have a desk at the airport and a few of them have an office in the city center as well, make sure you check which office you have to go to to pick up your rental!
Driving is a bit of an adventure in Italy, as road rules are not always respected.
Don’t be mistaken though, there are plenty of speed cameras around and the fine will find its way to you, even if you live on the other side of the world.
When driving in Italy, especially in more rural areas, don’t just trust your navigation.
Some roads may be classified as normal paved roads, but can turn into strade bianche, which are unpaved, but usually quite good to drive on.
Driving in Tuscany is very much a matter of keeping an eye out for possible hazards, such as very narrow streets, road works and unpaved roads which may or may not come with a warning sign.
Generally speaking, roads are quite good and safe, but it’s always a good idea to check your insurance before starting your journey.
All over Florence you’ll find places where you can rent a Vespa or scooter to explore the city, it’s a great way to see a lot in a relatively short amount of time.
As well as personal rentals, there are also various agencies that offer accompanied Vespa tours which can be a really fun way to see Florence without getting tired with walking.
When renting a scooter, the company will give you a helmet, which you need to make sure is worn correctly as not wearing a helmet is prohibited in Italy.
Apart from the legal necessity, it’s of course very important for your own safety and for the insurance coverage in case of an accident.
Insurance is usually included in your scooter rent, but make sure you double-check and understand all the terms before signing anything.
As I said previously, Italian and Florentine traffic can get a bit crazy sometimes, so make sure you pay attention to all the rules of the road to make sure you are as safe as possible, both when driving and parking.
Florence is such an easy city to ride a bike in, you will see people on cycles all over the place.
And because Florence is such a bike-friendly city, bicycle tours are another great way to both get around Florence and see the sights.
Around Florence you’ll find RideMovi bikes everywhere.
You need the RideMovi app to use them, so make sure you have the app (with your payment details) up and working before trying to grab one.
The rates differ from one moment and subscription to another, but before you take the bike it will show you the cost per kilometer or minute.
Even though Florentine traffic can be a bit crazy, a bike is an excellent way to see a lot of the city in a relatively short amount of time.
They even have a holder for your mobile phone which makes navigating super easy.
If you want to see quite a bit of the city, but for some reason you can’t or don’t want to be on your own two feet all day, golf cart tours are a good option.
You book and pay for most of those tours either in advance or directly at their ticket office, which generally is the tour departure point unless you're meeting your driver at a predefined location.
The golf tour usually take you on a set route passing most of Florence’s biggest sights, with a tape or guide giving you information about the sights you're seeing.
These tours cost around €50 euro per person for a 1.5-2 hour ride.
Google Maps and Apple Maps are useful for planning your route and to look up public transportation information, as they’re usually quite up to date.
For taxis you can either use App Taxi or It Taxi to order a car.
Uber doesn’t work in Italy, or it does, but it will send you a regular taxi anyway!
There are no private drivers in Italy, since this market is heavily regulated and each taxi-driver needs to have a specific permit.
As mentioned before the RideMovi app is essential if you want to grab a bike, and Tabnet is good for bus tickets.
The local transportation companies have apps too, but I personally don’t find them very useful as it seems often like they describe more of what they ‘wish’ the service they deliver was like, instead of what they actually do deliver!
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