Florence is a walking city. You can stroll between the two top sights, Piazza del Duomo and the Uffizi, in 5 to 7 minutes. The hike from the most northerly major sights, San Marco with its Fra’ Angelico frescoes and the Accademia with Michelangelo’s “David,” to the most southerly, the Pitti Palace across the Arno, should take no more than 30 minutes. From Santa Maria Novella eastward across town to Santa Croce is a flat 20- to 30-minute walk. But beware: Flagstones, some of them uneven, are everywhere—wear sensible shoes with some padding and foot support.
By Bus -- You’ll rarely need to use Florence’s efficient ATAF bus system (www.ataf.net; (tel) 800-424-500 in Italy) since the city is so compact. Bus tickets cost 1.20€ and are good for 90 minutes, irrespective of how many changes you make. A 24-hour pass costs 5€, a 3-day pass 12€, and a 7-day pass 18€. Tickets are sold at tabacchi (tobacconists), some bars, and most newsstands. If you cannot find a machine or vendor near your stop, pay 2€ to buy a ticket onboard, or if you have an Italian cellphone SIM, text the word “ATAF” to (tel) 488-0105 to buy a validated ticket using your prepaid phone credit. Note: Once on board, validate your ticket in the box near the rear door to avoid a steep fine. Since traffic is limited in most of the historic center, buses make runs on principal streets only, except for four tiny electric buses (bussini services C1, C2, C3, and D) that trundle about the centro storico. The most useful lines to outlying areas are no. 7 (for Fiesole) and nos. 12 and 13 (for Piazzale Michelangiolo). Buses run from 7am until 8:30 or 9pm daily, with a limited night service on a few key routes (mostly local-focused).
By Taxi -- Taxis aren’t cheap, and with the city so small and the one-way system forcing drivers to take convoluted routes, they aren’t an economical way to get about. They’re most useful to get you and your bags between the train station and your hotel. The standard rate is .91€ per kilometer, with a whopping minimum fare of 3.30€ to start the meter (that rises to 5.30€ on Sun; 6.60€ 10pm–6am), plus 1€ per bag. There’s a taxi stand outside the train station and another in Piazza Santa Croce (by Via de' Benci); otherwise, call Radio Taxi at (tel) 055-4242 or 055-4798. For the latest taxi information, see www.socota.it.
By Bicycle & Scooter -- Florence is largely flat and increasingly closed to cars, and so is ideal for seeing from the saddle. Many of the bike-rental shops in town are located just north of Piazza San Marco, such as Alinari, Via San Zanobi 38R (www.alinarirental.com; (tel) 055-280-500), which rents vintage-style city bikes (2.50€ per hour; 12€ per day) and mountain bikes (3€ per hour; 18€ per day). It also hires out 100cc scooters (15€ per hour; 55€ per day). Another renter with similar prices is Florence by Bike, Via San Zanobi 54R (www.florencebybike.it; (tel) 055-488-992). Make sure to carry a lock (one will be provided with your rental): Bike theft is common.
By Car -- Trying to drive in the centro storico is a frustrating, useless exercise, and moreover, unauthorized traffic is not allowed past signs marked ztl. On top of that, 2013 saw the introduction of a city charge even for residents to drive into the center to park. Florence is a maze of one-way streets and pedestrian zones, and it takes an old hand to know which laws to break in order to get where you need to go—plus you need a permit to do anything beyond dropping off and picking up bags at your hotel. Park your vehicle in one of the huge underground lots on the center’s periphery and pound the pavement.
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.