Florence is a city located in central Italy and is the capital city of the Tuscany region. It is the most populous city in Tuscany with over 1,520,000 inhabitants in its metropolitan area.
The Historic Centre of Florence was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. The city is known for its culture, architecture, and monuments. It is also home to numerous museums and art galleries. And hence, it attracts millions of tourists each year. If you are also one of those tourists but aren’t sure how to get to your favorite places, don’t worry, we are here to help.
Does it have a Metro?
Sorry to disappoint you but the answer is no, Florence does not have a metro. But don’t let that come between you and your love of visiting historical sites, there are a few other ways of transportation you can use with ease.
Florence is a very small town. The length of the Historic Centre of Florence can easily be covered (from north to south or from east to west) in no more than half an hour. So, if you are a young soul who fancies exploring the world, just put on your favorite shoes, pack your backpack and get going. Another reason why walking is the best option is that the traffic can get really bad sometimes in the city, and in such scenarios, walking might take lesser time than driving around.
Rent a Bicycle
If the option walking around too boring for you, or if you are fitness freak and want to exercise even on your vacation, or if you just love riding bicycles, then I have got some good news for you. Certain shops like ‘Florence by bike’ provide you the option to rent a bicycle for a day. Imagine cycling your way around the city, feeling the fresh air and exploring all the sights; it sounds like a fun trip.
Take a Bus
Too tired to walk around? Not to worry, just hop on one of the city’s efficient ATAF buses. These city buses (orange, deep purple and white, or blue in color) are run by ATAF and LI-NEA.
You can either buy an ordinary ticket (for a single-use 90-minute ride) or a multi-ride ticket (for four 90 minute rides on one single ticket) depending on your requirement. The tickets can be bought from the ATAF booth within the SMN train station or from any authorized sales point (Any shop that has “ATAF” stickers on its shop windows.)
Also, remember to buy your tickets before you board the bus. You can buy the tickets from the driver too but it would cost more, and they often run out of tickets so you might not be able to get tickets from the driver.
Once you get on a bus, find your way to the nearby ‘ticket validating’ machine and put your bus ticket in. The machine then prints the date and time on the ticket, starting its time validity. After that, you could get on and off onto different buses for 90 minutes with the same ticket.
To figure out which bus to take and the time taken to reach your destination, you can use Google Maps. There is also an ATAF website and app to guide you.
The Tramvia (or Tram)
Florence got its first tram line (called the T1) in 2010, which connected the city with Scandicci (one of the biggest suburbs of Florence). Then recently, in February 2019, the T2 line opened that connected the Florence airport to the SMN train station, making it the cheapest and easiest way to get to the center of Florence from the airport.
There are ticket machines at every tram stop so you can buy your ticket before getting on. The same tickets from ATAF also work on the tram.
Practically speaking, using taxis in Florence is not a very efficient way of transportation, as taxis are quite expensive here. The meter starts at about 3 euros on weekdays and is even higher on weekends as well as between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. If you are on a tight budget, try to avoid using taxis or use it sparingly. In fact, many tourists prefer taxis only for transportation to and from the Stazione di Firenze Santa Maria Novella (Florence Train Station).
Also, to use a taxi, call ahead or go to an official taxi line found at most major squares. Hailing taxis is illegal in Florence and you wouldn’t want to spend your vacation dealing with cops, would you?
Cars and Florence don’t really go along. Firstly, the city is composed of many pedestrian areas and narrow, one-way streets, which makes driving a very difficult task. Secondly, much of the city is marked with “ZTL” (“Zona a Trafixo Limitato” or “Limited Traffic Zone) which allows only authorized traffic and excludes tourist drivers.
But if you must drive, you can park your car on the outskirts of the city in one of the parking compounds, and then use another mode of transport depending on the distance.
If you buy the Firenze Card to get into the museums, you can add the FirenzeCard+ option for 5 euros, which include unlimited bus travel on ATAF buses for 72 hours the Firenze card is active.
Now that the doubts are cleared, go pack your bags and live your dream vacation. Happy Journey!