By Plane -- Several European airlines service Florence’s Amerigo Vespucci Airport (www.aeroporto.firenze.it; [tel] 055-306-1300 switchboard, 055-306-1700 or 055-306-1702 flight info), also called Peretola, just 5km (3 miles) northwest of town. There are no direct flights to or from the United States, but you can make connections through London, Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and other major European cities. The half-hourly SITA-ATAF “Vola in bus” to and from downtown's bus station at Via Santa Caterina 15R ([tel] 800-424-500), beside the train station, costs 6€ one-way or 10€ round-trip. Metered taxis line up outside the airport’s arrival terminal and charge a flat rate of 20€ to the city center (22€ on holidays, 24€ after 10pm).
The closest international airport with direct flights to North America is Pisa’s Galileo Galilei Airport (www.pisa-airport.com; [tel] 050-849-300), 97km (60 miles) west of Florence. Two to three train services per hour leave the airport for Florence. However, until the PisaMover airport transit service opens (at press time scheduled for a Dec 2015 debut), all involve a short bus journey then a change to a rail service at Pisa Centrale (70–90 min.; 9.20€). For early-morning departures or anyone with lots of bags, one simpler solution is the regular train from Florence into Pisa Centrale (50–70 min.; 8€), followed by a 10-minute taxi ride (around 10€) from the train station to Pisa Airport. Alternatively, 17 daily buses operated by Terravision (www.terravision.eu; [tel] 06-9761-0632) connect downtown Florence directly with Pisa Airport in 1 hour. One-way tickets are 6€ adults, 4€ children ages 5 to 12; round-trip fares are 10€ and 8€.
By Train -- Florence is Tuscany’s rail hub, with regular connections to all of Italy’s major cities. To get here from Rome, take the high-speed Frecciarossa or Frecciargento trains (1 1/2 hr.; www.trenitalia.com) or rival high-speed trains operated by private company Italo (www.italotreno.it;). High-speed and IC trains run to Venice (2 hr.) via Bologna and Padua.
Most Florence-bound trains roll into Stazione Santa Maria Novella, Piazza della Stazione, which you’ll see abbreviated as S.M.N. The station is an architectural masterpiece, albeit one dating to Italy’s Fascist period, rather than the Renaissance; it lies on the northwestern edge of the city’s compact historic center, a brisk 10-minute walk from the Duomo and a 15-minute walk from Piazza della Signoria and the Uffizi.
By Car -- The A1 autostrada runs north from Rome past Arezzo to Florence and continues to Bologna, and unnumbered superhighways run to and from Siena (the SI-FI raccordo) and Pisa (the so-called FI-PI-LI). To reach Florence from Venice, take the A13 southbound then switch to the A1 at Bologna.
Driving to Florence is easy; the problems begin once you arrive. Almost all cars are banned from the historic center—only residents or merchants with special permits are allowed into this camera-patrolled zona a trafico limitato (the “ZTL”). Have the name and address of you hotel ready and the traffic police wave you through. You can drop off baggage there (the hotel will give you a temporary ZTL permit); then you must relocate to a parking lot (special rates are available through most hotels).
Your best bet for overnight or longer-term parking is one of the city-run garages. The best deal (better than many hotels’ garage rates) is at the Parterre parking lot under Piazza Libertà at Via Madonna delle Tosse 9 ([tel] 055-5030-2209). It’s open round the clock, costs 2€ per hour, or 20€ for 24 hours; it’s 70€ for up to a week’s parking. More info on parking at www.firenzeparcheggi.it.
Don’t park your car overnight on the streets in Florence without local knowledge; if you’re towed and ticketed, it will set you back substantially—and the headaches to retrieve your car are beyond description. If this happens to you, start by calling the vehicle removal department (the Recupero Veicoli Rimossi) at [tel] 055-422-4142.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.