Florence is located in the north central Tuscany region of Italy and can be reached by train from the Cinque Terre in 3 hours. Florence has some of Italy's best museums with many famous paintings and sculptures, beautiful cathedrals and churches, interesting streets and squares with elegant buildings and shops.
You will need at least two days to explore Florence. Most top attractions are located in Florence's compact centro storico. In high season Florence can become very crowded. We highly recommend you to book your tickets to the major museums and other tourist sights online in advance.
Where to stay in Florence
Our pick of the best places to stay in Florence is a wide-ranging mix with plenty to suit all tastes and budgets, just don't forget to book well ahead: The 10 Best Hotels in Florence.
How to reach Florence (Firenze)
By plane: You can fly into Florence Airport from from many European cities. The are no direct flights from the U.S. to Florence. Several airline companies like Lufthansa and ITA Airways offer connecting flights to Florence Airport.
There is a shuttle tram running from the airport to the Unità stop close to the central station in Florence. The tram runs every five to ten minutes and a one-way ticket costs 1,50 euros. Alternatively you can take the "Vola in Bus" running every half an hour between the airport and the central station in Florence, Santa Maria Novella. The journey takes about 20 minutes and a one-way ticket costs 6 euros and can be purchased onboard.
By train: The central station in Florence, Firenze Santa Maria Novella, is on the main Italian railway line connecting Rome with Milan. You can easily reach Florence by train from all European and Italian cities. If you are in Florence for the day or a few hours, you can leave your luggage at the Florence Santa Maria Novella station. There is a baggage deposit service along track 16.
By car: Florence is a city in central Italy and can easily be reached by car from any city in northern Italy in just a few hours. If you are making a round trip through Italy, car rental is a great alternative to public transportation. In addition, Italy is one of the cheapest countries in Western Europe to rent a car. Book your rental car online in advance and pick it up upon your arrival. Car rental in Italy.
Driving in Florence
Be aware that the historic center of Florence is pedestrian friendly and is small enough to move around completely by foot. The city center is closed to traffic except for residents, taxis and buses and you will need a special ZTL permit to be able to drive there. If you arrive by car and your hotel is in the ZTL area, you can reach your hotel to drop off your luggage and passengers, but you then have to exit the ZTL area to park outside of its perimeter. ALWAYS contact your hotel before entering the ZTL area! Your license plates will be photographed, it is up to you to inform your hotel before entering the ZTL zone. Otherwise you will most probably get a fine back home, several months later, even assisted through car rental records to find you.
Where to park in Florence
We recommend you to contact your hotel and ask if they have a garage or a convention with a nearby private garage. Outside of the ZTL area, the city is still divided into controlled parking zones for street parking. Non-residents, therefore visitors, should always park in the blue marked spaces and pay at the parking ticket machines nearby. You need to leave the ticket inside your car where it can be seen. White lines are spaces reserved for residents only.
What to see in Florence
Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore is the cathedral (Duomo) of Florence and the most popular tourist site. The huge Gothic Duomo was begun in 1296, consecrated in 1436, and holds 20,000 people. Climb to the top of the cathedral for great views of Florence.
The Baptistery of John the Baptist (Battistero di San Giovanni), from the 11th century, standing in front of the famous Duomo is one of Florence's oldest buildings. Its exterior is made of green and white marble and has three sets of amazing bronze doors. Inside, you can see some mosaics and a marble pavement of the zodiac.
The Uffizi Gallery (Galleria degli Uffizi) is one of the world's top art museum. It houses some of the most important works of the Renaissance, including works by Leonardo da Vinci, Giotto, Botticelli and Michelangelo.
The Accademia Gallery (Galleria dell'Accademia) houses Michelangelo's David, easily the most famous sculpture in the world. Once inside, you'll also see Michelangelo's unfinished and powerful Prisoners, along with a few works by Perugino, Giambologna and Botticelli.
Ponte Vecchio, the oldest of Florence's six bridges, is one of the city's best known images and the only bridge to survive World War II.
The National Museum of the Bargello (Museo Nazionale del Bargello) is located near the Piazza della Signoria and houses some of the most incredible sculptures from the leading artists of the Renaissance era. Such as works from Michelangelo, Donatello, Ammannati, Bandinelli and others grace the interior of this great museum.
The Pitti Palace (Palazzo Pitti) and Boboli Gardens (Giardino di Boboli), on the southern bank of the Arno, encompasses several museums and holds paintings from some of Italy's most celebrated masters. The Renaissance gardens are a delight.