The central part of historic Florence is quite walkable – it’s compact, most major sights are close together, and much of it is flat. Still, if you’re planning any short excursions to neighboring towns or simply don’t feel like walking all the way up the hill to get that postcard vantage point view over the city from Piazzale Michelangelo, then it’s a good idea to know about your options for getting around Florence besides just walking.
Within the city of Florence, especially if you’re headed up to the Piazzale Michelangelo area (or back down), or if you’re spending a day in neighboring Fiesole, the bus system will be your best bet. The main bus station is in front of the train station right in the city center. This is where you’ll find both city buses (ATAF) and regional buses (like SITA, LI-NEA, and others). For Piazzale Michelangelo, you want bus 12 or 13, and for Fiesole, you want bus #7. A bus ticket good for 90 minutes will cost €1.20, or you can buy a 4-ride ticket for €4.90. Tickets to Fiesole are a bit more (€2 one-way). Don’t forget to validate your ticket when you board your bus.
While you can get from one end of the historic center to the other on foot quite easily, if you fancy spinning your wheels on a bike through central Florence you can rent them by the hour or day from companies like Florence by Bike or Alinari. You can also rent mountain bikes to take into the hills surrounding the city. Pay attention to where you park your bike, however, as there are designated parking areas for bicycles as well as cars.
It’s going to be a rare occasion when taking a taxi within Florence makes sense – you can even reach the train station in under 10 minutes on foot from the Duomo. You may want to arrange for a taxi if you’ve got lots of luggage, or if you’re headed to or from the city’s small airport. Be warned, however, that taxis in Florence are expensive, and the dense historic center can make it slow going at times.
Driving into and around Florence is not only not recommended, in much of the historic center it’s illegal. If you’re on a longer driving tour of Italy, make absolutely sure your hotel in Florence has some kind of arrangement for cars, and let them know you’ll be driving. You can usually drive into the center to drop off or pick up bags, but that’s all.
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