.. your group signs or wearing the Firenze card around your neck. You become no1 targets for pickpockets!
Super tip Gelato…
.. Pick seasonal flavors to be sure that they are made with real fruits-products and not off-the-shelf jelly!
Look for restaurants that…
.. have the “ticket restaurant” or “pass” stickers on the window (red circle-blue letters). These ones address mainly to locals that work in the area and serve satisfying portions with very good raw materials
Inside the city there are…
.. dozens of water fountains. You should only bring an empty bottle with you.
If you would like to enjoy the view of…
.. the city without the bustle of the Michelangelo Square, go to the church of San Miniato al Monte. It is a little higher and offers an equally beautiful view!
More tips for Florence
Like any other mysterious city, Florence hides quite a lot of dangers and traps. However, Tips for Florence will make your travel life easier. It is best to know everything before you arrive, such as how to move around, when do restaurants close, as well as the tourist traps/mishaps!
- Follow the narrow streets outside the tourist crowds…! There lies all of the city’s beauty.
- Inside the city there are dozens of water fountains. You should only bring an empty bottle with you.
- Walk around in comfortable, sports shoes. The cobbled streets of the city center and the endless steps are not suitable for heels.
- Roam the alleys of the of the Oltrarno district. There hides the traditional Florence charm..
- Enjoy the sunset from one of the bridges. The reflections and colors will stay in your memory forever.
- If you would like to enjoy the view of the city without the bustle of the Michelangelo Square, go to the church of San Miniato al Monte. It is a little higher and offers an equally beautiful view.
- Use Italian words such as Ciao, Buongiorno, Prego, Grazie, Biglietto and other small words, they will appreciate it greatly.
- In August, most shops are closed for holidays!
- The Florentines are not the greatest English speakers, but they are more than willing to attend to you even with the use of body language.
- Do not forget that you are in central-northern Italy, so you should carry an umbrella, no matter the season.
- Sunshine is present in the city almost on half the days of the year.
- The average temperature in the city is 17°C.
- You can move around by bus, taxi and tram.
- Routes after 10 pm are very scarce.
- Mega tip: Download the Move It app to better organize your transportation means.
- On rainy days, transportation in the city (with the means of public transport) gets very difficult.
- Many parking meters issue bus tickets at the regular cost.
- Tickets issued inside the vehicles of the means of public transport are 60% more expensive and are issued by the drive.
- The best and most comfortable solution to move around the city is to rent a scooter.
- You should always have a ticket, as the excuse that you are a tourist will not save you from getting fined.
Amerigo Vespucci Airport- City Center
- By the special Volainbus: Leaves every 30’ for the Santa Maria Novella central train station / Cost of one-way ticket 6€, round-trip ticket 10€.
- By taxi: 15’ from the city center / Trip costs 22€ / +1€ for every large suitcase
- Check for the ZTL signs (restricted traffic zones). You will see them in the historic center, and only residents are allowed to drive there.
- The fine is around 80€.
- Parking is allowed wherever there are white lines and the cost is 1€ per hour.
- Within the blue lines, only residents are permitted to park.
- Buy the tickets before entering the bus, as the driver might be out of tickets and their price is higher.
- With the Firenze Card+ you get free transportation for 72 hours.
- One ticket is valid for 90’.
- Notice! The ticket from the parking meter is valid for 90’ from the time of issue.
- Always enter from the front and rear doors and exit through the central door.
- You will find tickets in all of the tobacco shops and in authorized stores that carry the ATAF sign.
- Ticket via SMS at 4880105 / cost 1,50€.
- In the historic center run only the mini buses of the C lines.
- 3,30€ tariff / 5€ minimum fare.
- Many taxis stop to pick you up from wherever you are, as long as you are not near a taxi rank.
- Mega tip: Take a walk late at night (after 01:00) in order to enjoy and photograph all the sights comfortably and without people. Florence is a city swarmed with tourists. This tip will help you see the real beauty of the capital of Tuscany.
- Get the Firenze card and the Firenze+! It is necessary as it provides access to 72 museums and attractions, Skip Line (so you don’t have to wait in lines for endless hours) and free transport for 72 hours.
- In many museums-attractions bags and carry-ons are not allowed. But they provide free coat check.
- You should make reservations at least 1 week prior to your visit, otherwise you might not find a spot or –even worse- pay double for the tour!
- It is the best experience in the city. It includes art, mystery, wonderful images and plenty of history!
- The price for the Secret passage is around 65€/ person, but if you book the package for Ufizzi guided tour + Vasari Corridor you will only pay 60€!!
- Book your tickets at least 2 months before your visit.
- Botticelli’s tomb is in the first chapel, on the right.
Santa Maria del Fiore (DUOMO) & More:
- Visit the monuments early in the morning so as to avoid long lines.
- Visit them in the following order so that you avoid any hardship. 1) Baptistery of San Giovanni (08:15) 2) Giotto’s Bell Tower (09:00) 3) Opera Duomo Museum (10:30) 4) Cathedral (11:30) 5) Cupola del Brunelleschi (12:30, it requires booking so there is always the same number of people no matter when you visit it
✔️ Bell tower:
- There are three spots on three different levels where you can rest and take your photos.
- Visit it early in the morning. Later on the crowds of people make the ascent even more difficult.
- SOS Tip: Many times there is not a separate Skip Line for those who have the Firenze Card. Get in the front and demand the priority you deserve.
✔️ Cupola del Brunelleschi (Dome):
- SOS: In order to go up to the dome you must have made reservations for the day and time that you want (the reservation must take place at least 2 days before the visit). The same applies even if you have the Firenze card. You can choose the booking time only at the ticket offices.
- Be at the back of the line among your group, so that the others can walk around a bit and leave. Then you will have plenty of time to take photographs and enjoy the view (before the next group arrives).
- The last tour does not include all the floors of the museum and it only lasts 45’.
- The ticket booths close 1 hour before the last tour.
- The bus line with the nearest bus stop is No4 and starts at the San Marco Square near the Galleria dell’ Accademia.
Palazzo Pitti & Boboli Gardens:
- There are two entrances to the gardens: 1st from Palazzo Pitti and 2nd from the Belvedere fortress
- SOS In order to enter from the Belvedere fortress, you should enter at least one of the museums of Palazzo Pitti! Otherwise you will have to go around (20-minute walk) and enter from Palazzo Pitti.
Basilica of the Holy Cross (Santa Croce):
- Entrance is allowed only in modest attire. Otherwise you give a 1€ deposit for a scarf. The deposit is returned at the exit.
- With the Firenze card you have the option to Skip Line to get your ticket, so even if there is not a second line, go in the front…You have priority.
- You can skip the ancient theatre (it is not that interesting) and go straight for the Hall of the Five Hundred!
- In the Hall of Maps behind the map of Armenia hides the secret door to the Vasari Corridor.
- Prefer the morning hours when there are fewer people.
- In case of rain, access is allowed only on the first floor of the tower!
- If you have a Skip Line ticket (Firenze card), look for the red spot to get inside right away.
- At the entrance, choose to go through the first security check (straight ahead from the entrance) and not the one on the right. You will waste 15-20 minutes!
- The secret door that leads to the Inferno path (Vasari Corridor) is located between the numbers 35-45 (do not try to open it).
- You are not allowed to have food with you.
- Do not miss the chance to have a cup of coffee on the gallery’s balcony with a view of the tower of Palazzo Vecchio.
- Buy a guidebook so that you have more information about what you see.
- Do not buy an audio guide from the museum, it is not worth it.
- Avoid visiting on a Tuesday as it is packed, due to the fact that every Monday the gallery is closed!
- We suggest that you only carry small umbrellas, as the large ones are not allowed. If you have a large one, you will have to leave it at the museum’s locker.
- Prefer the days that it closes late at night.
- After 10:00 the market is full of people.
- Make sure you visit the 1st floor, on which you will find food heaven.
- In order to watch a Fiorentina football match, buy your tickets ONLY from the official –collaborating- website of the team.
- Prefer the cafés in the small streets of the city. They are usually cheaper and of higher quality.
- Look for restaurants that have the “ticket restaurant” or “pass” stickers on the window (red circle-blue letters). These ones address mainly to locals that work in the area and serve satisfying portions with very good raw materials!
- For fresh pasta choose the Oltrarno district or the restaurants that make it in front of you.
- Avoid the shops that have “Ice cream” signs. Here there is only gelato.
- Prefer shops where the gelato has a creamy texture.
- When it comes to popular restaurants, make sure you have made a reservation, otherwise you should be there early (19:00-19:30.
- Prefer the local wine varieties. They are always cheaper and better in quality (besides, Tuscany is famed for its wines).
- Tipping is not necessary but it is appreciated by waiters/waitresses.
- SOS Gelato: Pick seasonal flavors to be sure that they are made with real fruits-products and not off-the-shelf jelly!
- Avoid restaurants-trattorie with plastic chefs at the entrance and menus written in 5+ languages!
- Service in the city is not at satisfying levels, so you might come across many a case of rudeness and indifference.
- For good quality food, stay away from the tourist crowds, prefer the Oltrarno district (similar to Travestere with only a small number of tourists).
- Avoid the businesses (bars, cafés and restaurants) in front of and around the Duomo. They are all tourist traps.
- Take a pizza with fresh dough (Gusta Pizza) and sit at the Santo Spirito Square in the company of dozens of Italians to enjoy it.
- Almost all restaurants hang their ladles during noon and open again in the afternoon.
- In Italy there are restaurants that have on their menu pasta, meat, soups, fish, pizza etc.! It is a general rule that you cannot be good in everything! Avoid these restaurants.
- Be absolutely sure to try bistecca alla fiorentina. It may cost 45-60€ per kilo, but it is worth the taste experience.
- Avoid the restaurants that open 17:00-18:00 in the afternoon. They mostly address to tourists. Italians eat after 20:00 at night.
Tourist Traps ⚔️
- Do not buy tickets from street sellers and “guides” that promise skip line.
- Do not buy souvenirs, umbrellas, selfie sticks etc. from street sellers. If you get caught supporting the black market the fine amounts to 7,000€.
- Be careful with your personal belongings in crowded places and inside the means of public transport.
- Be careful with the “authentic” leather products in cheap markets.\
- SOS: Do not walk around the city with your group signs or wearing the Firenze card around your neck. You become no1 targets for pickpockets.
- If you are at some ticket machine and someone approaches you to help you, decline politely. The gangs help the tourists get their tickets, while their accomplice steals their wallet or valuable object.