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Florence Coronavirus Covid-19 Outbreak – Cases Quarantine Deaths Stats to Tuscany Italy

Florence (Italian: Firenze) is the capital of the region of Tuscany in Italy, with a population of about 366,500. The city is a cultural, artistic and architectural gem, and is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, Florence was the home to powerful families, creative geniuses and scientific masterminds who left their legacies in the city’s many museums and art galleries. The city also has a very rich literary history, being the birthplace of the famous poet Dante, and standard Italian today is primarily based on the dialect of Tuscan spoken in Florence.

Understand

Politically, economically, and culturally, Florence was the most important city in Europe for around 250 years, from some time before 1300 until the early 1500s.

Florentines reinvented money, in the form of the gold florin. This currency was the engine that drove Europe out of the “Dark Ages”, a term invented by Petrarch, a Florentine whose family had been exiled to Arezzo. They financed the development of industry all over Europe, from Britain to Bruges, Lyon and Hungary. They financed the English kings during the Hundred Years’ War. They financed the papacy, including the construction of the papal palace in Avignon, and the reconstruction of St. Peter’s and the Vatican when the papacy returned to Rome from the “Babylonian captivity”.

Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio pioneered the use of the vernacular — the use of a locally spoken language, rather than Latin, and in their case, it was Tuscan, which, because of them, became the standard Italian language. Because Dante, et al., wrote in Tuscan, Geoffrey Chaucer, who spent a lot of time in Northern Italy and who used some of Boccaccio’s little stories to inspire his Canterbury Tales, wrote in English. Others started writing in French and Spanish. This was the beginning of the end of Latin as a common language throughout Europe.

The Florentines, perhaps most notably Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1466) and Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472), invented both Renaissance and neoclassical architecture. These architectural styles revolutionised the way Rome, London, Paris and every other major city in Europe, from Barcelona to St. Petersburg, were built.

Florentines were the driving force behind the Age of Discovery. Florentine bankers financed Henry the Navigator and the Portuguese explorers, who pioneered the route around Africa to India and the Far East. It was a map drawn by the Florentine Paulo del Pozzo Toscanelli, a student of Brunelleschi, that Columbus used to sell his “enterprise” to the Spanish monarchs, and which he then used on his first voyage. Mercator’s famous “Projection” is a refined version of Toscanelli’s map, taking into account the Americas, of which the Florentine was obviously ignorant. The western hemisphere itself is named after a Florentine writer who claimed to be an explorer and mapmaker, Amerigo Vespucci.

Galileo and other scientists pioneered the study of optics, ballistics, astronomy, anatomy, and so on. Pico della Mirandola, Leonardo Bruni, Machiavelli, and many others laid the groundwork for our understanding of political science.

Opera was invented in Florence.

And that is just a smidgen of what went on in this city, which never had a population above 60,000 from the first attack of the plague in 1348 until long, long after it became unimportant.

And there were the Medici, perhaps the most important family that ever lived. The Medicis changed the world more than any other family. Forget all the art for which they paid. They taught first the other Italians, and then the rest of the Europeans, how to conduct statecraft. For example, Catherine de’ Medici (1519-1589) married Henry II of France (reigned 1547-1559). After he died, Catherine ruled France as regent for her young sons, and was instrumental in turning France into Europe’s first nation-state. She brought the Renaissance into France, introducing everything from the châteaux of the Loire to the fork. She also was, to 16th and 17th century European royalty, what Queen Victoria was to the 19th and 20th centuries – everybody’s grandmama. Her children included three kings of France, Francis II (ruled 1559-1560), Charles IX (ruled 1560-1574) and Henry III (ruled 1574-1589). Her children-in-law included a fourth king of France, Henry IV (ruled 1589-1610), plus Elizabeth of Hapsburg, Philip II of Spain (of Armada fame), and Mary Queen of Scots.

And that is without mentioning any “artists”. From Arnolfo and Cimabue to Giotto, Nanni di Banco, and Uccello; through Lorenzo Ghiberti and Donatello and Masaccio and the various della Robbias; through Fra Angelico and Sandro Botticelli and Piero della Francesca, and on to Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, the Florentines dominated the visual arts like nobody before or since. And this list does not include many who, in any other place, would be considered among the greatest of artists, but in Florence must be considered among the near-great: Benvenuto Cellini, Andrea del Sarto, Benozzo Gozzoli, Giorgio Vasari, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Fra Lippo Lippi, Buontalenti, Orcagna, Pollaiuolo, Filippino Lippi, Andrea del Verrocchio, Bronzino, Desiderio da Settignano, Michelozzo, the Rossellis, the Sangallos, Pontormo. And this list does not include the prolific Ignoto. Nor does it include the near-Florentines, such as Raphael, Andrea Pisano, Giambologna, the wonderfully nicknamed Sodoma and so many more, such as Peter-Paul Rubens, all of whom spent time in Florence and were educated by it.

Get in

By plane

The best airport for Florence is usually Pisa International Airport  , just 2 km south of the centre of Pisa. This has extensive connections across Europe and beyond, and most budget airlines fly in there. There are direct buses between the airport and Florence Piazzale Montelungo, which is east side of the main railway station Santa Maria Novella. (On arrival, follow ramp into station to access city centre.) Buses are run by Autostradale (cream buses) and Caronna (black buses) every 75 mins or so till 00:40, taking 70 mins. Single fare €14, you can buy tickets in the baggage hall before exiting through Customs. Alternatively take “Pisamover” tram or airport bus or taxi to Pisa Centrale railway station, which has frequent trains to Florence SMN via Rifredi.

Florence’s own airport is x Amerigo Vespucci International Airport (4 km northwest of centre). Known locally as “Peretola”, this has only a single runway hemmed in by hills, and limited flights. However it’s become a base for Vueling, flying via Barcelona, and direct destinations (some seasonal) include Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London LCY, Munich, Paris CDG, Rome and Zürich. Reaching city centre takes 15-20 minutes by taxi or bus.

From airport by bus: The Volainbus shuttles between airport and SMN main railway station every half an hour from 05:30 to 20:00, then hourly to around midnight. The city bus stop is the ATAF-SITA bus station, west side of the railway station; some early morning / late night buses run from the corner of Valfonda and Piazza Adua north of the railway station. Fare €6 one way, €10 return, buy it on the bus.

You can save all of €4 by taking a standard city bus from Via Pratese; it’s only 10 minutes walk but involves scuttling across the autostrada A11. Walk out of the terminal, ignore the airport bus stop, and cross the northbound carriageway of A11. Ignore likewise the bus stop midway, which has few services, but choose your moment to dash across the southbound carriageway – there’s no crosswalk. Go under the flyover into Via Piantanida, the little residential street directly opposite, and turn right at the other end into Via Pratese. A bus stop, and a newspaper kiosk that sells tickets, are across the street. Tickets are €1.20: if the kiosk is closed just pay the bus driver €2 (and he won’t give change). Any bus from that side of the street will drop you near SMN railway station, and they run about every 15 minutes.

To return to the airport from central Florence, a cheap easy option is the coach to Prato, which stops right outside the airport. They leave from the  CAP bus stop at the end of Via Nazionale near SMN station, round the corner from McDonald’s. Look for big blue coaches. Buy your ticket (€1.20) from the CAP office right next to the bus stops. You can do this in advance. Buses run every 15 minutes from 06:00 to 23:00. Ask the driver for “aeroporto” or “Peretola” (the suburb it’s in).

Taxis charge a €25 flat rate from the airport to anywhere in the historic centre of Florence, plus €1 per large item of luggage.

Travel by train to Florence

Frequent direct trains connect Florence with Rome (90 mins), Milan (1 hour 40 min), Venice (2 hr), Naples (2 hours 50 min) and Italy’s other main cities.

Coming by train from other countries usually involves changing at Milan. However a direct Nightjet runs from Munich leaving around 20:00, reaching Florence around 06:00 and continuing to Rome, with the return leaving Florence towards 22:00 to reach Munich shortly after 08:00. The fare is about €100. This Nightjet divides and also runs to Vienna, with similar times.

Almost all trains run from the main station,  Firenze Santa Maria Novella on the north edge of the historic old town, near most accommodation and sights. There’s a bank of Trenitalia ticket machines (cards or cash accepted) on the terminus platform concourse, staffed kiosks in the main hall, and various fast food options there and nearby. An underpass leads south into Piazza SMN.

A few regional trains bypass SMN, calling at Firenze Campo Marte, 2 km east near Florence Stadium, Firenze Statuto 1 km north of SMN, and Firenze Rifredi, 2 km north of SMN. Unless your ticket specifies otherwise, it’s valid for any connecting train between those stations and SMN – you’ll seldom have to wait longer than ten minutes. Otherwise take a bus or taxi from the street outside.

By car

Florence is well connected by good highways to the rest of Italy. Autostrada A-1 runs to Bologna, Milan and the North, and to Rome and the South. Use Firenze-Impruneta exit for these routes and for Siena via the “Fi-Si” highway. A-11 runs to Pisa and the West: for north of the river follow A-11 to the end, for south of the river turn onto A-1 south to Firenze-Scandicci exit.

Driving in the historic centre – inside the wide “viale” where the old city walls were (and still are, south of the river) – is strictly prohibited, except for residents with permits. This is ferociously enforced by camera – if you drive in the prohibited areas, you will be hunted down and sent a stiff fine – around €100 for every camera you pass before escaping the zone. The city raises over €50 million in traffic fines each year, half of this from traffic zone offences.

If you’re just visiting for the day, use the Park & Ride areas at the edge of town, for instance Villa Constanza (described below under “By bus”). You can’t leave your car overnight here.

If you’re driving to pre-booked accommodation in the centre, check ahead with them: given your car registration (Italian targa) they may be able to get you a 30-minute waiver, barely enough to find the hotel in the warren of old streets, drop luggage and check in, then take the car out of the zone. Central car rental offices likewise have a waiver and permitted route to exit and re-enter the city.

Firenze Parking run a dozen or so edge-of-centre parking lots, with a long walk or a short bus ride to the centre. For example the lot just north of Piazza della Liberta charges €10 per day, €70 per week.

Near the centre, parking is more expensive: e.g. a garage costs €30 per night. On the street, you can only use a blue parking space, if you’re lucky enough to find one free. White parking places are for residents only and yellow ones are reserved. The price is €1 per hour and charges apply from 08:00 to 20:00; leave the ticket visible inside the car. You need coins for parking, as the machine won’t accept banknotes or cards.

By bus

Flixbus ply direct between Florence and Rome (3 hr 30, two per hour), Milan (4 hours, roughly hourly), (4 hours, every 2-3 hours), Naples (7 hours, every 2-3 hours), Geneva (12 hours, one overnight, else change in Milan), Marseille (9 hours overnight), Paris (17 hours), Munich (4 per day, 9 hours), Zurich (9 hours), Frankfurt (14 hours), Vienna (12 hours) and Budapest (14 hours).

Buses that originate or terminate in Florence run from the downtown bus station on Piazzale Montelungo next to SMN railway station. Buses that are passing Florence between other cities pick up and drop off at  Villa Constanza Park & Ride, just off Autostrada A-1 on the west edge of the city – take Tram 1. (And see “Get around: By tram” for practicalities.) The parking lot is short of shelter or other facilities.

Get around

Firenzecard

The Firenzecard is a 72-hour pass giving access to some 80 museums, costing €85 per person (see “See”). It doesn’t cover public transport, but you can add this with a Firenzecard+ for an extra €7 – this can’t be bought separately. It covers you and any other family member under 18 travelling with you. Since the average entrance fee is €8.50, you’ll need to see more than ten museums in your 72 hours to show a saving, but that target dwindles if you have other young family with you. It also gets you priority entrance; pre-booking is otherwise near-essential for the big name museums.

By foot

Most of the major tourist sights in Florence are within easy walking distance of each other. It is possible to walk from one end of the historic center of Florence to the other – north-south or east-west in a half hour. Walking is not only an easy way to get around, it also offers the chance to ‘take in’ much more of the city life. Be warned though, that electric motor scooters are small enough to fit where cars cannot. They are silent but quick and in the summer they often travel into the plazas. Some of the streets in central Florence are closed to traffic. Many more are simply too narrow for buses to get through. Therefore, bus and car tours are not recommended. This is a very small, very compact city that really needs to be seen by foot. And, of course, if you need to, you can always buy a new pair of shoes in Florence.

Travel by bicycle in Florence

There is a bike rental service organized by the city. Bikes can be hired at several points in the city (and returned to the same place). One of the most convenient for tourists is located at SMN station. There are other locations at many railway stations, but often with restricted opening hours.

While there are hills north and south of the center of town, almost all of the historic center of Florence is easy for bikers, because it is as flat as a hat – flatter than that. But there is a problem: Traffic is terrible with buses, trucks, cars, motorcycles, motorbikes, bicycles, and pedestrians are fighting for almost no space. So pay attention.

Beyond the city bikes, some of the hotels in town provide their guest with free bicycles. Bike shops also often rent bikes and some of them organize guided bike tours in the countryside.

By taxi

Taxis are available, but it may be best if you have your hotel or the restaurant you are eating at call ahead. Taxis should be called by phone and the nearest one available is sent to you through the company’s radio system with its meter ticking away. In Florence, it can be difficult to hail a cab from the street curb. You either call for one or get one at the very few taxi stands. One popular taxi stand is at the central Santa Maria Novella Train Station and in a few major squares. The first taxi in the taxi stand line should be free – ask in case of doubt. Most taxis do not take credit card for payment. Be sure to have cash and ask in advance in case you only have a credit card with you. Taxis in Florence are very expensive. Tipping is not expected, unless the driver helps you carry luggage etc.

By bus

Another way of getting around is by using the public buses from ATAF. A day ticket costs €5 and a 3-day ticket costs €12. A four-ride ticket costs €4.70. To get the best price you may have to go to the central bus station. You can buy tickets at tabacchi (shops selling tobacco, which are marked with official looking “T”s out front”), kiosks/newsagents/bars where the symbol “Biglietti ATAF” is shown, as well as at the ATAF ticketing office at the bus station outside Santa Maria Novella train station. A single ticket costs €1.20. Remember to ask for a bus map. Several ticket options are available. One very convenient is the 4-rides ticket and the “Carta Agile”. The former needs to be stamped when entering the bus (from the front and rear doors of buses – the central door is supposed to be exit only; though now it is more accepted to enter from the central door). The latter has an embedded electronic chip and needs to be held close (“swiped”) to the upper part of the ticket machine inside the bus: the “beep” of the machine will inform you that a ticket has been paid and the display will show you how many more tickets (“swipes”) you have left. If you are unable to find a ticket vendor, the automated parking kiosks will sell one for €1.20 and accept credit cards and coins. A ticket may also be available from the driver at €2.00 but there are no availability guarantees. Within 90 minutes of stamping/swiping you can hop-off & hop-on on any bus of the urban ATAF network. Unfortunately and completely against Italian law, it is not uncommon to see bus drivers talking merrily on their mobile phone while driving. Don’t expect riders to complain about it and don’t panic – they will still drive with the same non-comfortable style as when they are “only driving”. Hold tight to hand rails as Florence traffic is unpredictable and frequent sudden braking is necessary. Bus rides are not by all means “smooth”. Buses are “safe” but pick pocketing is quite common. Please keep a close eye to your belongings and avoid showing off cash, jewelry, etc. especially in very crowded buses (especially for lines 17/23/14/22 – generally speaking any crowded bus can give a chance to pick pocket).

By tram

There are two tram lines in the city. The first one runs from Villa Constanza Park & Ride on the south-western edge of the city, just off the A-1, so most users are commuters. It runs into town through the western burbs of Scandicci and L’Isolotto to SMN main railway station (25 mins), then turns north to Rifredi and the University / Hospital area. It runs daily 05:00-00:30 every three to ten minutes, and a single ride costs €1.50. The second, recently opened (as of 2019) line connects the airport and the near west side to the city centre and the Santa Maria Novella station.

By car

Don’t even think of it – see “Get in”. Just thinking of it is probably enough to incur a fine.

See

Consider whether you’ll benefit from buying a Firenzecard, described earlier, but learn from Stendahl and don’t try to see too much. Most tourists rush to do the Uffizi, the Duomo and the Bargello. These are indeed splendid, but you may wait hours to get in, and be jostled by tour groups. Pre-book if you know you want to see them; otherwise spread out and see stuff that is equally fine but less touristy. A long weekend here could comfortably take in a sprinkling of old churches, and a couple of museums or galleries. But leave time and energy for just enjoying the ambience.

Churches: the standout is definitely the Duomo or Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. But other fine churches north of the river include San Lorenzo, Santa Maria Novella, Santa Trinita, Santa Croce, Santo Spirito, SS Annunziata and Ognissanti. Highlights south of the river are Santa Maria del Carmine and San Miniato al Monte.

Art galleries: aim to do at least one of Uffizi, Pitti Palace, Accademia, Bargello and the Museum of the Works of the Duomo. They are filled with the brilliant creations of all the renaissance big names: Donatello, Verrochio, Desiderio da Settignano, and Michelangelo. There’s also a leavening of modern galleries.

City views: the classic panorama is from Piazzale Michelangelo, on the hillside just south of the river, and from San Miniato al Monte a little higher up. But every tour bus pauses here for photos so it can get mobbed. Down on the riverside, perhaps the best view is from the south bank late afternoon, as Ponte Vecchio and the Centro Storico become bathed in honey-coloured light. There’s also a great view from the dome of the Cathedral or Giotto’s Bell Tower, and an even greater line to climb them.

Florence is featured in Assassin’s Creed II; see Assassin’s Creed Tour.

Piazza del Duomo

The Cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore, is an astonishing confection dominating the piazza below and the skyline above. It’s the third largest Christian church in the world, behind St Peter’s in Rome and St Paul’s in London. It’s an early example of “technology-forcing” – like the US lunar missions of the 1960s, the 13th C Florentines started building it without knowing how they’d complete it, until along came Brunelleschi and his vast crowning dome. The eye-catching facade is 19th C. In front of the cathedral is the ornate medieval Baptistery, in use until modern times. Also in the piazza is the Bell Tower, designed by Giotto. The artwork from these buildings has been replaced by replicas, with the originals in the adjacent Museum of the Works of the Duomo. Buy a combined ticket online for €18 (concessions €3) to enter the following monuments (one entry per monument, valid for 72 hours after first use, book up to 30 days ahead; all closed first Tuesday of the month):

  • Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo) (Enter by right hand door in west facade; disabled access on south flank).  Monday – Saturday 10:00-16:30, Su 13:30-16:45The cathedral interior is to a basilica pattern; it’s vast and at first feels dark and empty. Give your eyes time to adjust, and admire the stain glass windows, funeral monument of Bishop d’Orso, and altar of St Zanobius. Below is the Crypt ( Monday – Saturday 10:00-17:00) with remains of the preceding cathedral of Santa Reparata, and the tomb of Brunelleschi. Giotto is believed to lie here somewhere, but his tomb has yet to be identified. Above is the soaring cupola or Dome. The cathedral itself is free, but you need a pre-booked ticket and time slot to climb the 464 steps up to the Dome (entrance north side of the church). Slots are available Monday to Friday 08:30-19:00, Sa 08:30-17:00 and Su 13:00-16:00.
  • Giotto’s Tower (Campanile di Giotto). Daily 08:15-19:00Almost 85 m tall, with 414 steps to climb, this richly decorated tower is topped by an open terrace with a panorama of the Duomo, city and surrounds. By ticket.
  • BaptisteryMonday to Friday 08:15-10:15 & 11:15-19:30, Sa 08:15-18:30, Su 08:15-13:30Octagonal plan, with a pyramidal roof covering its dome. It’s famous for its bronze doors by Andrea Pisano (14th C) and Lorenzo Ghiberti (15th C) and a beautiful interior vault decorated with 13th C mosaics. By ticket.
  • Museo dell’Opera del Duomo (Museum of the Works of the Duomo), Piazza del Duomo 9 (Directly behind the dome end of the cathedral). F-W 09:00-19:00, Th 09:00-17:00This houses original artworks from the Duomo and surrounding religious buildings, including sculptures by Donatello, a Michelangelo Pietà (different from his version in Saint Peter’s, Rome) and the losing entries in the 1401 contest to design the doors of the Baptistery. Plus models and drawings of the Cathedral. By ticket.

Museums

Book ahead for the big-name museums. All of these (plus Boboli Gardens) have a combined booking portal and there are several combi-tickets. In practice, it’s Uffizi that draws the biggest crowds and so is hardest to access; your options are:

– Just wait in line. On a good day this could mean a 4-5 hour wait, hopefully in good climate. On a bad day you wait 4-5 hours outside in bad weather then they sell out and turn you away. This is especially likely on the first Sunday of the month when entry is free. Tuesday too is crowded, since it’s closed Monday so there’s pent-up demand.
– Go on an organised tour – these have a pre-booked slot and you step right in. Caveat emptor, as tour operations range from the shambolic and rushed to the sublime and educating.
– By a Firenzecard, so you skip the usual line. Upmarket hotels sometimes also have access to priority slots.
– Book online, paying €4 extra and pre-printing your email for a fixed time slot. Be there at least an hour ahead, because so many people are skipping line, there’s a line to skip line.
– Book by phone on +39 055 294883, likewise paying €4 extra for a fixed slot and arriving an hour early. It’s not clear how long you’ll typically wait to get through by phone.
  • Galleria degli UffiziPiazzale degli Uffizi.  Tu-Su 08:15-18:50, M closed, last admission 18:00; you may not bring in waterOutstanding fine art museum with Renaissance paintings and sculptures from classical antiquity. It’s in a late 16th C palazzo designed by Vasari, in two wings enclosing a long narrow courtyard, effectively a street, an innovation in its day. Originally the palazzo was magistrates’ offices (hence “Uffizi”) and state archives; then it came to house the Medici’s vast art collection. The artworks are on the first and second floors, they keep the lifts well hidden. Highlights include Birth of Venus by Boticelli, Dukes of Urbino by della Francesca, Medusa by Caravaggio, Venus of Urbino by Titian, Annunciation by da Vinci, Pope Leo X and family by Raphael, Velasquez’ self-portrait, Rembrandt’s final self-portrait, and many other big names. Allow three hours for a visit. Uffizi majors on Renaissance, so although later styles are represented they’re few: you don’t really come here for the 18th – 20th C material. The restaurant/cafè has a large balcony overlooking the main piazza with good views of the Palazzo Vecchio, and naturally their prices reflect the views. Mar-Oct adult €20, conc €10, combi with Pitti & Boboli €38; Nov-Feb adult €12, conc €6, combi €18; booking fee €4.
  • Bargello (Museo Nazionale del Bargello), Via de Proconsolo 4.  Daily Apr-Oct 08:15-17:00, Nov-Feb 08:15-14:00, but closed 2nd & 4th Su and 1st, 3rd & 5th M of each monthUsed as a barracks and prison until the 19th C, this museum houses some of the best Renaissance and Mannerist sculpture. Big names here include Michelangelo, Donatello, Ammannati, Bandinelli, Andrea and Jacopo Sansovino, Desiderio da Settignano, Giambologna, and Antonio Rossellino. It also displays ceramics, textiles & tapestries, ivory, silver, armour and coins. Allow two hours. Adult €8, conc €4, booking fee €3.
  • Galleria dell’Accademia (Accademia Gallery), Via Ricasoli 58-60Tu-Su 08:15-18:50Highlights are Michelangelo’s original David (the one in Piazza della Signoria is a copy) and his unfinished Slaves. It also includes Florentine painting, a museum of musical instruments, and Russian icons. No photography is allowed inside.
    The Accademia di Belle Arti next door is a university department not connected with the Gallery.
     Adult €8, conc €4, booking fee €4.
  • Palazzo Pitti (Pitti Palace), Piazza de’ Pitti (200 m south of Ponte Vecchio). Tu-Su 08:15-18:50, last admission 18:00The original Pitti was a banker; the palace has housed royalty but became best known for its Medici family treasures. It’s nowadays divided into four museums (same ticket): ground floor is the Treasury of the Grand Dukes; first floor houses the Palatine Gallery and the Royal and Imperial Apartments, second floor is the Modern Art Gallery and the Museum of Costume and Fashion. The Boboli gardens are just behind the palazzo. Mar-Oct adult €16, conc €8, combi with Uffizi & Boboli €38; Nov-Feb adult €10, conc €5, combi €18; booking fee €4..
  • Palazzo Davanzati is a house museum with antique fittings and furniture. It’s on Via Porta Rossa and open Monday to Friday 08:15-13:15, Sa 13:15-18:30.
  • Museo GalileoPiazza dei Giudici 1.  W-M 09:30-18:00, Tu 09:30-13:00This museum shows the evolution of the instruments used in various scientific fields such as mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry, astronomy. The room of Galileo Galilei shows some of his original instruments as well as models from his drawings. The room of Spheres and Globes houses an excellent cartographic collection. In a rather macabre twist the museum also has the middle finger of Galileo’s right hand on display. €9.
  • Museo Horne displays art and furnishings of the 14th & 15th C. It’s in the Palazzo Corsi on Via dei Benci: the building and art collection were owned by art historian Herbert Percy Horne. Open Th-Tu 10:00-14:00.
  • The Archaeological Museum is at Piazza della Santissima Annunziata 9B. The Etruscan art collection is particularly good.
  • Museo NovecentoPiazza Santa Maria Novella 10Sa-W 11:00-20:00, Th 11:00-14:00, F 11:00-23:00, Firenze Cardholder freeGallery of 20th & 21st-century art, on three floors of palazzo. Adult €8.50, concs €4.
  • Museo Marini houses the work of that contemporary sculptor. It’s on Piazza di San Pancrazio, but is closed for renovation.
  • A Contemporary Art gallery is sited in Palazzo Strozzi, and there are several other collections around city centre.
  • The Stibbert Museum is a great collection of armour and arms. It’s on Montughi hill 2 km north of city centre, and open M-W 10:00-14:00, F-Su 10:00-18:00.

Old town centre

  • Palazzo VecchioOld city palace/city hall, adorned with fine art. The replica of Michelangelo’s “David” is placed outside the main door in the original location of the statue, which is a symbol of the Comune of Florence. The site displays an important collection of Renaissance sculptures and paintings, including the Putto by Verrochio and the series of murals by Giorgio Vasari at the Salone dei Cinquecento (Hall of the Five Hundreds) – the hall which used to display the now lost Renaissance masterpiece, that is, the so-called Battaglia di Anghiari, by Leonardo da Vinci. “Museum” or “Tower and Battlements”: €10 adults, €8 concessions. “Museum” and “Tower and Battlements”: €14 adults, €12 concessions.
  • Piazza della Signoria is the grand open space in front: not quite a square, as Palazzo Vecchio blocks out one corner. Sights here are the equestrian statue of Cosimo de Medici, the Fountain of Neptune, the statue of David, and Loggia dei Lanzi, an open arched gallery of Renaissance sculpture.
  • Ponte VecchioThe oldest and most celebrated bridge over the Arno, and the only Florentine bridge to survive World War II. The design is distinctive: it’s a three-arched bridge supporting a parade of shops supporting another bridge. It dates to 1345 (hence Ponte Vecchio, “old bridge”), with earlier bridges being swept away by floods, rebuilt and swept away again. At street level it’s a pedestrianised cobbled arch. It’s lined by shops, which were butchers until Renaissance times then – in an insight as dramatic as the discovery of perspective in painting – they realised that goldsmiths shops paid higher rents and didn’t stink; so from then to this day it’s just been overpriced jewellery shops and market stalls. Above these is the higher bridge, the Vasari Corridor, a private walkway added in 1565 so that the Medici Dukes could move between Palazzo Vecchio (Town Hall) and Palazzo Pitti (their blingy residence) without mixing with common folk. On the south bank, the Corridor nowadays continues as a gallery of the Uffizi, and there is sometimes talk of extending this over the bridge, or otherwise making the space accessible. Nothing’s come of this so far, so the common folk will have to continue admiring the scene from street level. Free.
  • Santa CroceContains the monumental tombs of Galileo, Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Dante, Rossini, and many other notables in addition to artistic decorations. There is also great artwork in the church. Museo dell’Opera di Santa Croce (included in ticket) displays a flood-damaged but still beautiful Crucifix by Cimabue (Giotto’s teacher), which has become a symbol of the disastrous floods of 1966. Ticket also includes Pazzi Chapel, a perfectly symmetrical example of sublime neo-Classic Renaissance architecture. Adult 8€, concs 6€.
  • Santa Maria Novella (near the train station). A beautiful church with great artwork, including a restored Trinity by Masaccio. Also, the Chiostro Verde, to your left when facing the front entrance of the church, contains frescoes by Paolo Uccello which are quite unusual in style and well worth seeing, if the separate entrance is open. Off of the church’s cloister is the wonderful Spanish Chapel which is covered in early Renaissance frescoes. €5 adults, €3.50 concessions.
  • OrsanmicheleA beautiful old church from the 14th century, which once functioned as a grain market.
  • San LorenzoThe façade of this church was never completed, giving it a striking, rustic appearance. Inside the church is pure Renaissance neo-classical splendor. If you go around the back of the church, there is a separate entrance to the Medici chapels. Be sure to check out the stunning burial chapel of the princes and the sacristy down the corridor. The small sacristy is blessed with the presence of nine Michelangelo sculptures.
  • San Marco ConventHouses frescoes by Fra Angelico and his workshop. Fra Angelico painted a series of frescoes for the cells in which the Dominican monks lived.
  • Great Synagogue and Jewish Museum of Florence (Sinagoga e Museo Ebraico Firenze), via Farini, 6.  June-Sept: Su-Th 10:00 – 18:30, F 10:00 – 17:00; Oct-May: Su-Th 10:00 – 17:30; F 10:00-15:00. Closed except for religious services on Saturdays and Jewish holidaysLovely Moorish-style synagogue built in 1882 and a museum with many artefacts and documentation of Florentine Jewish life going back many centuries; visits are guided. €6.50 total for the synagogue and museum.
  • The English Cemetery in the 19th C received anyone that the city’s churchyards wouldn’t receive, eg Orthodox Christians, but British & Americans were the majority. Famous names here include Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Fanny Trollope, and Beatrice Shakespeare a relative of William. There are lots of ornate gravestones with flowery inscriptions in multiple languages. It’s on the ring-road 1 km east of the centre near Campo di Marte railway station.

South bank of the Arno

  • Santa Felicita (just south of Ponte Vecchio). Contains frescoes of the Annunciation and a painting of the Deposition of Christ by the brilliant and weird mannerist painter, Pontormo. They are to be found in the Barbadori Chapel, which is to your immediate right when entering the church.
  • Pitti Palace: see Museum listing above.
  • Boboli GardensElaborately landscaped and with many interesting sculptures, behind the Pitti Palace. Wonderful city views. Don’t miss the Bardini gardens. Entrance to that is included in the combination ticket price for the Boboli, and it’s a short walk from the Boboli Gardens. There are great views of the Duomo from the Bardini gardens. Adult €10.
  • Natural History Museum (“La Specola”) is on Via Romana next to Pitti Palace. Open Tu-Su 09:00-16:00.
  • Santa Maria del CarmineFamous frescoes (Masaccio’s Adam and Eve Banished From the Garden and others by Lippi and Masolino) in the Brancacci Chapel.
  • Piazzale Michelangelo (Michelangelo Square). Plaza on a hillside with a great view of the city. Go there by bus or climb the stairs and paths from the Lungarno della Zecca.
  • San Miniato al Monte (uphill from Piazzale Michelangelo). The Sacristy contains frescoes by Spinello Aretino. In the cemetery near this church there are graves of famous people of Florence, including Carlo Lorenzi (Collodi) – author of the famous Pinocchio. Also, turn around when you reach the top of the stairs before entering the church, to see perhaps an even greater view of the city than from nearby Piazzale Michelangelo.
  • Museo Stefano Bardini: collection of early Florentine art, housed in the Palazzo Mozzi just south of Ponte alla Grazia. It’s open F-M 11:00-17:00.

What to do in Florence

Great places to walk include along the Arno and across any of its bridges; through narrow, medieval back streets in the Santa Croce area; and in the Oltr’Arno – on the south side of the river, in many ways like Rome’s Trastevere or Paris’s Left Bank – but far, far smaller.

  • Climb the Duomo or CampanileTraverse the winding staircases inside the duomo or the nearby bell tower to see some of the best views of Florence. Not only can you see the Tuscan countryside in the distance and the impressive palaces and churches of Florence in the fore, but it also shows you just how large the Duomo is.
  • Stroll the Boboli GardensThese extensive gardens behind the Pitti palace provide excellent views of the city of Florence and numerous sculptures in a relaxed environment. Stop in the hilltop café, grab a drink and a seat outside and enjoy the view.
  • Street Performers by the Uffiziin front of the Palazzo VecchioIn the evenings street performers often put on a show here. Performances can range from violin duets to people dressed as sculptures. A nice place to stop while you eat your after-dinner gelato.
  • Enjoy the view from the Piazzale MichelangeloIt’s a big square on a hill, but somewhat distant from the traditional tourist sites. It’s easy to reach it even on foot using the stairs called “Rampe di San Niccolò”. They are on the side of the Arno river just in front of the national library. Do this during the summer and during the night to admire Florence’s lights.
  • Join a monastery: those aged 18-35 are invited to take a two-day spiritual retreat at Badia Fiorentina on Via del Proconsolo. Or just come to hear sung vespers at 6 pm and mass at 6.30 pm nightly in this peaceful church, filled with artwork. It’s central yet virtually free of tourists.

Outside the city

  • Impruneta’s spaVia Cassia 217, Terme di Firenze (from the city of Florence, take the Autostradale Firenze – Siena and the SR2; the spa is on a lefthand turnoff from the R2, approximately 13 km south of the city of Florence). The thermal waters of Impruneta spring from two sources and are used to treat respiratory diseases, liver, gastrointestinal, and skin allergies.

Learn

Photography

  • Florence Phography Workshop & Tour ,   12:00-18:00 (13:30-19:30 in July and August)Discover Florence with your camera and with a professional photography teacher (a Vogue-featured American photographer) and a official Florence guide at your side.

Italian language

  • ABC SchoolVia dei Rustici 7 ,  fax+39 055 212001 09:00-17:00Italian language school offering language and cultural courses since 1982.
  • Centro Machiavelli (Italian language school), Piazza Santo Spirito 4 ,   Italian language and cultural school for foreigners. The structure and the contents of the programmes for the levels are based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. The school also organises a programme of cultural activities and excursions to complement the language classes and enable the students to come into contact with the Italian culture and practice Italian in the field.
  • Istituto GalileiVia Alfani 68 ,  fax+39 055 28 34 81 Italian language school specializing in one-to-one, personalized and small group (max 4 people) full immersion courses.
  • Michelangelo InstituteVia Ghibellina 88 ,   Italian study programmes for foreign students. Cooking workshop, art history classes, plastic arts and visual arts programs are also taught in this academy.

Cooking

  • Cooking ClassFlorence and Tuscany are becoming synonymous with “cooking class”. Tuscan cuisine is appreciated worldwide and a cooking class experience is now more and more part of the attraction of Tuscany, as a way of carrying back home memories and improved cooking skills. There are many in the area, either in historical villas in the countryside or in central Florence, from Florentine use of tripe and giblets to the use of organic ingredients from the local producers, and classes range widely in size. During high season, make sure to book in advance.

Buy

There are a few places to buy things, from the high-end jewelry stores lining the Ponte Vecchio to some of the most famous shops in the world; Gucci, Pucci, Ferragamo, Valentino, Prada, Armani, Ermenegildo Zegna, Buccellati, Frette, as well as many more wonderful shops that aren’t yet world famous. Souvenirs related to art and Florence’s sights can be found everywhere. Books, leather goods, art handcrafted journals, frames, pencils etc. in that gorgeous Florentine paper with swirls of color and gold are great gifts.

It is increasingly difficult to find bargains, but keen-eyed shoppers can still find good deals on smaller, side streets running off of those above and elsewhere in the center of town. Better stores in/near the city center offer superb leathers at sometimes decent prices…perhaps after some bickering. Goldsmiths on the Ponte Vecchio display beautiful and quality work, but can be very expensive. Shops that are not located in the very centre of the city are significantly cheaper. There are also superb shopping streets, such as the Via Tornabuoni, the Via del Parione, and the Via Maggio. The San Lorenzo market is now largely for tourists. There are also a couple of collections of “outlets” in the suburbs.

Some of the most uniquely Florentine shops and sights can be found in the Oltrarno, which is Florence’s “Left Bank” and home to countless generations of artisans. This section of town can be found by crossing “Ponte Vecchio” (the old bridge) or Ponte Trinità from the center. This “undiscovered” Florence is a must-see.

  • Enoteca MondovinoVia S. Agostino 27-29/R.  Decent wine and Liquor store with interesting collection of potable bitters in the back (Italian and German).
  • Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria NovellaVia della Scala 16 NAn old pharmacy, which sells high-qualitiy beauty products like soaps, shaving cream, eau de Cologne.
  • Pitti Vintage – Italian & European Vintage Clothing & AccessoriesBorgo degli Albizi 72r ,   Fendi, Ferragamo, Gucci, Lancetti, Valentino. Specializes in Italian and European designer and one-of-a-kind vintage pieces.
  • Cose Del 900 – Italian Glass ConnectionBorgo San Jacopo 45R (Just two minutes from Ponte Vecchio.) ,    Monday – Saturday 10:30-19:30Since 1981 specializing in sized-to-order, affordable beaded jewelry featuring handmade Murano glass beads.
  • Ortigia SRLBorgo San Jacopo 12R (next to the Ponte Vecchio).  Luxurious soaps, scents, creams, candles and lotions inspired by the aesthetics, colours, and scents of Sicily.
  • AlbriciVia dei Serragli 20R ,   M 15:00-19:00, Tu-Sa 09:00-13:00, 15:00-19:00Long-established antiques and home decor store located among the traditional artisans’ workshops of Oltrarno. Within it, Recollection sells vintage clothing and accessories.

Beware: If the police catch you while buying a knock-off version of something with a brand from an (illegal) street vendor, you can be fined up to €10,000. You’ll see plenty of people on the street selling imitation Gucci sunglasses, Rolex watches, and Prada purses dirt cheap. It’s okay if the item doesn’t have a real brand on it, but buying a knock-off is illegal.

Eat

Remember that restaurants have separate prices for food to go or eaten standing up versus sit down service; don’t try to sit at a table after paying for food or coffee from the restaurant’s to go booth. Also ask always beforehand for the price if you want to sit at a table. Otherwise you might be uncomfortably surprised. Cappuccino al banco i.e. standing up might cost €1-3; but at a table €4.

Florence’s food can be as much of a treat to the palate as the art is a treat to the eye. There is good food for any price range, from fine restaurants to take out food from window stands. The best price/quality ratio you will find outside the historical center where normal Italians go to eat. The worst ratio is probably in the neighbourhood of Mercato di San Lorenzo where there are a lot of tourist restaurants, while many of the best restaurants in the city are found in the Santa Croce district. In some, requests for pizza may be met with a rebuff. For local pizza look for small shops near the Duomo.

The best lunch places don’t always turn out to be the best dinner places. Dinner in Florence really starts sometime between 19:00 and 21:00. If a place looks like they’re preparing to close before 20:00, it might not be the best option for dinner. Reheated pasta is not very tasty.

Typical Tuscan courses include Bistecca alla fiorentina which is huge t-bone steak weighing from 500g to 1,500g. It has always price given per 100g, e.g. €3.5 etto (an etto is a “hectogram” or 100 gram-ettogrammo). Crostini toscani are crostini with tuscan liver pâté.

There is also a uniquely Florentine fast food with a 1,000-year history – lampredotto, a kind of tripe (cow stomach, or calf for preference, but a different part than the more familiar white “honeycomb” kind, dark brown in color; the name comes from its wrinkled appearance, which apparently reminds locals of a lamprey fish). The trippaio set their carts in the public squares in the center, dishing out the delicacy straight from the cauldron in which it is being boiled with herbs and tomatoes, chopping it and slapping the portions between halves of a Tuscan roll; the top is dipped in the broth. A mild green parsley- or basil-based sauce or a hot red one goes with it.

There are many gelato (Italian ice cream) stands; some connoisseurs consider the better Florentine gelato the finest in the world. Often gelato is made in the bar where you buy it. Because of this there are many exotic flavors of ice cream like watermelon, spumante or garlic. It’s hard to find a gelato place open very late, so after dinner might not be an option. Near the Duomo though, there are a few places open after 22:00.

Tuscany is also the wellspring of cantuccini, also called biscotti di Prato. (In Italian, the singular of biscotti is un biscotto). It’s traditional to enjoy them after a meal by dipping them in Vin Santo (“Holy Wine”), a concentrated wine made from late-harvested grapes, but you can also buy bags of them in stores throughout the city and eat them however you like.

Budget

There are numerous caffè and pasticcerie where you can find excellent sandwiches. Pizza sold by weight is an equally excellent solution for budget dining (vegetarian and vegan options are almost always available), as is any caffè displaying a “Primi” card in its window where you’ll find pastas and other dishes at low reasonable prices. The delis (rosticcerie) are very affordable (and the food is often quite good), and some also have dining tables if you don’t want to take away.

You can buy the makings for a picnic or snack at the Mercato Centrale. This large market has everything you might need, often at more affordable prices than supermarkets. The stalls will also sometimes vacuum seal whatever you buy so you can take it home with you.

A general rule: the closer you are to the historic old town, the higher the price.

  • Il VegetarianoVia delle Ruote, 30 r.  Tu-F 12:30-14:30, 19:30–22:30, Sa Su 19:30-22:30, M 12:30-14:30Budget restaurant with more formal front room, the eclectic middle room, or the peaceful outdoor garden in the back. Daily changing menu with vegan and gluten-free items clearly marked, desserts, salads, soups, hearty brown bread, and a good selection of coffee, tea, wine, beer, and liqueur.
  • I fratelliniVia dei Cimatori, 38R.  Daily 10:00-20:00Good street food: panini (€4) and wine (€2+) from a tiny hole in the wall. Patrons eat on the sidewalk while resting their glass of wine on small shelves nested along the street wall.
  • Oil ShoppeVia S. Egidio 22rMonday to Friday 10:00-19:00Deli selling olive oil, but with an extensive sandwich bar, to sit in or to go. Student crowd, feels more Californian than Italian. Sandwiches from €4.
  • Trattoria MarioVia Rosina 2/R (near Piazza Mercato Centrale).   Monday – Saturday 12:00-15:30Lunch only, no booking, you’ll be seated with other walk-ins. Good food, try to save room for a meat main course.
  • Trattoria Le MossacceVia Del Proconsolo, 55R (Corner of Via del Corso).  Monday to Friday 12:00-14:30, 19:00-21:30Reliable local eatery. Local produce and meats are prepared simply using traditional recipes and time-honoured tradition. Some pastas are made fresh daily, so ask for the daily special. If you want to experience Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Florentine-style steak), they do it amazingly without breaking your wallet. They sell and cut the steak from a larger rib slab in increments of 100g (with a minimum of 500g per serving). Primi: 3-6, Secondi €6-25.
  • LeonardoVia de’ Pecori 11 (Corner of Via de’ Vecchietti).  Daily 11:45-14:45, Su-F 18:45-21:45 fAlthough there is a menu at the entrance, it is better to go straight in and pick what you like. You can also order Bistecca alla Fiorentina. Primi €3.5-4. Secondi €4.5-5.5. About €10 per person for a full-course dinner.
  • TionaVia della Scala 24R (near Piazza SMN). Tu-Su 12:00-23:00Not that you’d admit to wanting a break from Italian food, but this small friendly Sri Lankan restaurant makes a refreshing change. Ayubowan! mains €8.
  • Za-ZaPiazza del Mercato Centrale 26RDaily 11:00-23:00A very nicely decorated restaurant with many vegetarian choices. You can choose to sit inside or outside in the piazza. The menu is huge, lots of choices, and the prices are fair. Service is outstanding, they really cater to your needs. Make sure to try the chianti house wine. Note that they have two seating areas on the piazza: between are two other restaurants, Cantastorie and Garibaldi. €10-12 for a dish.

Mid-range

  • al TranvaiPiazza T.Tasso, 14 r (400 m south of Ponte Vespucchio).  M 19:10-22:45 Tu-Sa 12:15-15:00, 19:10-22:45Tourists seldom venture this far south. Traditional Tuscan food at decent prices. 1st courses at €7 and mains at €10 to €16. Vino at €4 / 0.5L. The rabbit, asparagus souffle and fiori fritti are excellent and the service very welcoming and warm.
  • “Il Latini” RestaurantVia dei Palchetti, 6r.  Sa Sun12:30-14:30, 19:30-22:30, Tu-F 19:30-22:30Fun place, communal seating and lively staff. The steaks are good. Menu from €40 pp.
  • Osteria Dell’Olio, Piazza dell’Olio 10r, just west of Duomo. Good food with friendly service.
  • Palle d’OroVia S. Antonino, 43/45R (200 m east of SMN train station).   Monday – Saturday 12:00-14:30, 18:45-21.30Long-standing family-run Tuscan restaurant. This is where the locals come, not least for the low prices. Fixed price 2-course lunch or €13, dinner €14.
  • Trattoria CammilloBorgo San Jacopo 57/R (50 m south of Ponte Santa Trinita).  Th-Tu 12:00-14:30, 19:30-22:30Fairly good Tuscan cuisine, with a number of options for vegetarians and vegans. Make reservations or be there as they open.

Splurge

  • B-RoofPiazza Unità Italiana, 6 (within Grand Hotel Baglioni) ,  fax+39 055 235 888 95Daily 12:30-14:00, 19:30-22:00Fine dining with wonderful night panorama of the city.
  • Enoteca PinchiorriVia Ghibellina, 87 (100 m north of Santa Croce).  Tu-Sa 19:30-22:00They’ve had the occasional bad night, but mostly draw rave reviews for exquisite meals at splurge prices: ravioli at €85 clearly needs to be something special. A bottle of wine will be well north of €100, but try the tasting menu. starters from €80, mains €100 pp.
  • Il CibreoVia Dei Macci, 118/R (corner of V Andrea del Verrocchio) ,  fax+39 055 244 966€50-100 eachGreat choice of Tuscan food, with highly selected ingredients. Daily 12:50-14:30, 18:50-23:15.
  • Trattoria da TitoVia S.Gallo 112/r. (100 m south of Piazza della Liberta).   Monday – Saturday 12:30-15:30, 19:00-23:00Although a bit of a walk from the main attractions, this restaurant speaks for itself with mandatory reservations. Great Italian food and atmosphere. Dinner often includes impromptu free drinks and lively table staff. €50-100 each.

Dessert

  • Gelateria dei NeriVia dei Neri 20rIce cream in many flavors, some experimental, all excellent.
  • Festival Del GelatoVia Del Corso 7550 flavors and has an upbeat atmosphere
  • Perché No Via dei Tavolini 19. Freshly made daily from quality ingredients. The pear will be made with real pears and will taste of pears. Typically fruit flavors will be made with seasonally available fruits. Chocolate flavor will taste of cocoa rather than chocolate milk-powder. If you are a chocolate fan, this is the place to go. Specialties are “sorbetto” (ice cream made with water rather than milk, both with fruit and standard flavors, and “mousse” ice creams. Ask for the “special” taste of the day.
  • Vivoli.  Via Isole delle Stinche, 7/R. Close to Piazza Santa Croce. Vivoli has a good gelato fruit selection, so definitely try the fragola, or strawberry. Make sure that you ask for the cream on top as well, because it adds another element to an already great dessert.

Drink

File:Spinello Aretino – Stories from the Legend of St Benedict – WGA21676.jpg
Stories from the Legend of St Benedict, frescoes by Spinello Aretino in San Miniato al Monte

Tap water is safe but those who prefer bottled water will find it plentiful.

Make sure to sample the excellent wines of the region.

Chianti is the local wine that can be ordered cheaply. Many eateries will offer carafes of various sizes of “house chianti”, usually for under €4.

Bars

  • La CiteA very nice and cozy cafe/bookstore. Good prices, nice atmosphere, good books. Borgo San Frediano 20r.
  • Enoteca Le volpi e l’Uva.  The must of the tasting wines and savory titbits. Piazza dei Rossi, 1.
  • Uffizi Museum The bar at this museum offers an amazing view overlooking la Piazza della Signoria, but it’s only accessible through the museum, so you’ll have to buy a ticket.
  • Irish Pub (The Fiddlers Elbow) Piazza Santa Maria Novella. This pub has plenty of seating, in addition to live music and great staff.
  • Bebop-great coverbands everynight and a €4 pint. Can be found north of the Duomo on the right on Via Dei Servi, before you reach Piazza d Annunziata.
  • Ambrosia – Found in Piazza de Ambrosia. This is primarily a wine bar, and you can sample some great wines at a low cost provided you come with friends and share the price of whole bottles.
  • Rivoire Piazza della Signoria. Founded in 1872 this terrace facing the Palazzo Vecchio is a Florentine institution.
  • Paszkowski or Gilli. On the Piazza Republica, next to the hotel Savoy. The terraces on the other side of the piazza are equally pricey.
  • ÉtéVia Faenza 63A lovely little café with warm service and good local beer and wine. €3 draft beer.

Clubs

  • Cavalli ClubPiazza del Carmine, 8Roberto Cavalli, Italian fashion designer, has one his beautiful clubs in Florence. The inside has a stage with a projector of Roberto Cavalli’s fashion shows running non-stop. The upstairs can be a private lounge for parties or VIP section on certain nights. This club was the most popular on Wednesday nights, but it’s open on the weekends as well. It’s black and leopard interior fits the natural and animalistic designs Roberto Cavalli creates. Roberto and his two sons are frequently at the club so look out! All ages are appropriate and the dress attire here is rather upscale. This is not just a seasonal club so all year visitors are encouraged to go. Drinks run about €10 each.
  • Bamboo Lounge ClubVia Giuseppe Verdi, 57/R ,   23:00-04:00Bamboo Lounge Club is a great place for young adults and students to party. The music is great from European to American techno and many other worldwide DJs. Bamboo Lounge Club offers VIP tables and has two midsized bars. It is very clean and safe to be in. It is located on Via Giuseppe Verdi not far from the Duomo. Dress is a little more than casual, but not too upscale. The loud music, dancing, and exciting atmosphere gives people a chance to let loose and have fun. The club features mostly house, techno and hip hop music. Women free entrance until 01:00; men €10.
  • TenaxVia Pratese, 46If you love house and electronic music this is the best club to go to. It’s a two-story club, located on the outskirts of Florence, features DJ’s from all around Europe, America, and Australia. This club also holds many concerts during the winter and summer. Many people come from all over to enjoy this clubs atmosphere. The dance floor is extremely large and is always very crowded. Be smart where you keep your bag and wallet because it’s very easy to get pick pocketed in large clubs like this. This club usually has a cover of €20 and the drinks are rather expensive, but it is a great place to experience at least once. It is very different than most of the clubs in Florence because of the multi-story building. To venture here would be best by taxi or bus. Since it is located in the outskirts of Florence walking could be difficult and not advised. There are many people who can help in directions in the Santa Maria Novella Station.

Where to stay in Florence

As elsewhere the price of hotels in Florence has been climbing quickly in the last few years. The golden rule here is if you want something cheap you’ll have to stay outside of the historic center. The area around the train station is cheaper, but not as safe, especially for women travelers at night. If you are looking at big chain hotels you should be aware that they are usually quite a distance from the centre, the Novotel for instance is almost at the airport.

Certain hotels, particularly those oriented toward business travellers offer special reduced rates during the weekend (e.g. Starhotel Michelangelo) or during slow weeks like Baglioni. Sometimes you can also get a substantial discount by reserving online. In the train station there is a tourist information office which also offers hotel reservations; you can often get good deals through them at the very last minute, but it’s not guaranteed.

Budget

There are quite a number of one or two star alberghi within a short distance of the station. Young women can find accommodation with certain convents at very low prices, and usually in historic locations. On the other hand, you’ll have to forget about any late-night Tuscan craziness.

Camping

There are campsites round the edge of town: to SW is Ostello Tasso Ente, north is Elite Firenze Gestioie SRL, NE is Camping Albergue, east is Me & Mom in Tuscany, and 3 others further east in Rovezzano. Camping Michelangelo south of town has closed.

Hostel

  • Hostel Florence ExperienceVia Maggio, 9 (Close to Ponte Vecchio and Palazzo Pitti) ,  fax+39 55 293215 A hostel in a historic Florentine noble palace built in the 14th century and modified in the 17th century. Rooms are occasionally clean. from €18 (dorm) and €22 (private double room/per person).
  • Hostel Archi RossiVia Faenza, 94r (Close to SMN train station) ,  fax+39 55 2302601Never mind the renaissance-kitsch walls. Rooms are clean and rates include breakfast, dinner (except Saturdays) and internet access. from €18 (dorm) and €26 (private room/per person).
  • Hostel 7 SantiViale Dei Mille, 11 (Campo di Marte, 10 min from the center by bus) ,  fax+39 55 5057085 A converted 19th-century convent. Rooms are clean and quiet. Has dorm bunks and private rooms. Dorms from €20.

Bed and breakfast

  • B&B Duomo ViewPiazza San Giovanni, 6 ,  fax+39 055 288290Large choice of double bedrooms. Services are in common and some of the guestrooms boast a fantastic view of the Duomo. Internet connection and breakfast also available. Doubles from €80.
  • B&B Giglio BiancoVia Romana 28 (close to Pitti Palace) ,  fax+39 055 7349599This B&B has just the one room, the Camera Verde. They feature gourmet meals and cooking classes directed by Chef Vary. from €100.
  • B&B Tourist House BattisteroVia dei Cerretani, 1 ,   A lovely B&B in the centre, with the Duomo just 30 m away. Doubles from €90.
  • Giulia ResidenceVia Porte Nuove 19 (NW of rwy station) ,   Decent 3-star, access through clanky iron gate in apartment block. Doubles from €60.
  • B&B di Piazza del DuomoVia dell’Oriuolo 49 ,  fax+39 055 285018 A small B&B, rooms with private bathroom and shower, A/C, LCD TV, free Wi-Fi. Doubles from €60.
  • Florence Stadium B&BVia Campo d’Arrigo, 15/A (across footbridge from Campo di Marte Station) ,   3-star with clean, spacious rooms near the Stadium and Mandela Forum. B&B double from €75.

Hotels

  • Arizona HotelVia Luigi Carlo Farini 2 ,  fax+39 055 2346130 Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 11:00This 3-star hotel is in a renovated villa from the 18th century. Doubles from €100.
  • Convitto della CalzaPiazza Della Calza 6 (at Porta Romana 1 km south of centre).  3 star in converted 16th C cloister, with frescoed rooms and a modern conference centre. Doubles from €80.
  • Hotel DesirèeVia Fiume, 20 ,  fax+39 055 291439 Friendly 3-star with 18 rooms, next to railway station. Doubles from €90.
  • Hotel ByronVia della Scala, 49 ,  fax+39 055 213273Three-star hotel with parking. Doubles from €60.
  • Hotel CasciVia Cavour 13 (500 m from SMN train station).  This small 2-star is in a 15th C palace and has some original fresco ceilings. Composer Gioacchino Rossini lived here in the 19th C. Doubles from €100.
  • Hotel DaliVia dell’Oriuolo 17.  One star, consistently clean & cosy, good location, owners Marco and Samanta helpful and fluent in English. Doubles from €50.
  • Hotel FioritaVia Fiume, 20 , toll-free: 800 280722fax+39 055 2728153Next to railway station, on 3rd floor of building that has two other hotels. Rooms have a/c, TV and a safety deposit box. Some rooms also have modem sockets. Doubles from €80.
  • Hotel MasaccioVia Masaccio, 228 (300 m east of Piazza della Liberta) ,  fax+39 055 578153 Cozy one-star in 20th C villa, with restaurant. Doubles from €40.
  • Hotel GiglioVia Cavour, 85 ,  fax+39 055 461163 Simple 3-star on edge of centro storico. Doubles from €80.
  • Hotel Kursaal & AusoniaVia Nazionale, 24 ,  fax+39 055 462 6615A small 2-star, basic but clean. Doubles from €60.
  • Hotel LorenaVia Faenza 1 ,  fax+39 055 288300Two-star hotel in the historic centre, simple but comfy. Doubles from €50.
  • Hotel MontrealVia della Scala, 43 ,  fax+39 055 287491 Two star, central but basic and dated. Double room €100.
  • Hotel PalazzuoloVia Palazzuolo, 71 (very close to the main train station.) ,  fax+39 055 212101 Basic 2-star, many stairs & no lift, but central. Doubles €60.
  • Hotel RomagnaVia Panzani, 4 ,  fax+39 055 2396105Two-star hotel near SMN train station. 22 bedrooms en suite, internet connection and satellite TV. Cosy (ie small rooms, basic), no lift to upper floors. B&B double from €90.
  • Hotel Delle TeleVia Panzani, 10 ,  fax+39 055 290 797Central 3-star near SMN Duomo. Doubles from €80.

Mid-range

  • Albergo FirenzePiazza Donati, 4 (Just off Via del Corso) ,  fax+39 055 212370 2-star hotel, central but basic. Double room from €50.
  • Il Bargello B&BVia dei Pandolfini 33 (In the historical centre) ,   Clean friendly 3-star. Double rooms with private bath €120.
  • FH Calzaiuoli Hotelvia Calzaiuoli 6 ,  fax+39 055 268310 Central 4-star going on 3. B&B double from €150.
  • Hotel CaravaggioPiazza Indipendenza (800 m east of main train station) ,  fax+39 055 480852Good 3-star, consistently clean, well-run & helpful. Doubles from €120.
  • Galileo HotelVia Nazionale, 22/a ,  fax+39 055 4964473 star in elegant 19th C building, but a/c and wifi erratic. Single rooms from €80, doubles €120.
  • Hotel Basilea FlorenceVia Guelfa 41 ,  fax+39 055 268350This 3-star hotel offers 38 bedrooms, single, double, twin, triple and 2 large suites, all with private bath, television and internet connection. B&B double from €85.
  • Hotel BostonVia Guelfa, 68 ,  fax+39 055 4709343-star hotel with 16 bedrooms, not all en-suite. Clean but small and basic. B&B doubles from €80.
  • Hotel CrociniCorso Italia 28 (In the centre) ,  fax+39 055 210171Central 2-star, not all rooms en suite. Doubles from €80.
  • Hotel La GiocondaVia Panzani 2 (Near Santa Maria Novella) ,  fax+39 055 2131363-star hotel. Doubles from €85.
  • Hotel Il Guelfo BiancoVia Cavour 29 (In the heart of the city) ,  fax+39 055 2952033-star in 15th C building. Doubles from €100.
  • Hotel MalaspinaPiazza Indipendenza, 24 ,  fax+39 055 4748093-star in charming late 19th-century residence, enriched with modern comforts. Doubles from €90.
  • Hotel MarignolleVia di San Quirichino a Marignolle 16 (8 km southwest from centre) ,  fax+39 055 20473964-star in hills outside town, in bosky Tuscan scenery. Outdoor pool May to October. Doubles from €150.
  • Hotel Mario’sVia Faenza 89 (Near Santa Maria Novella) ,  fax+39 055 212039Central 3-star. B&B double €90.
  • Hotel Mia CaraVia Faenza, 90 (red) ,  fax+39 055 2302727Small 3-star a short walk from Santa Maria Novella. Friendly English-speaking staff. B&B double from €60.
  • Hotel Morandi alla CrocettaVia Laura, 50 (500 m northeast of Duomo) ,   Comfy 3-star in Dominican 16th C convent. On-site garage parking is available. Doubles from €100.
  • Privilege HotelLungarno della Zecca Vecchia, 26 ,   3-star hotel on the bank of the Arno, with single, double, triple and “Family” rooms. Breakfast buffet, hotel bar and garage available. B&B doubles from €80.
  • Relais Villa AnteaVia Puccinotti 46 (200 m northwest of Piazza della Liberta) ,  fax+39 055 484539 Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00Historical residence in an old palazzo with friendly staff. Rooms are spacious. Doubles from €120.
  • Hotel RivoliVia della Scala 33 (near Basilica SMN) ,  fax+39 055 294041 Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:004-star in former 14th C Franciscan convent. Doubles from €100.
  • Hotel De Rose PalaceVia Solferino, 5 (near SMN railway station).  4-star hotel in a traditional Florentine mansion. Doubles from €100.
  • Hotel SavonarolaViale Giacomo Matteotti, 27 (north edge of Centro Storico, on Piazza della Liberta) ,  fax+39 055 5878243-star with one single and 15 twin, double, triple and quadruple rooms. All with private bath, Wi-Fi connection, telephone and breakfast included. Doubles from €50.
  • Novotel Firenze Nord AeroportoVia Tevere 23, Osmannoro (2 km northwest of airport) ,   4 star handy for airport. Well out of city but they have free shuttle to the city center. Doubles from €80.
  • Villa il MosaicoVia di Monticelli, 9-15 (south bank, 1 km west of centre; tram to Sansovino) ,  fax+39 055 71 30 898Elegant villa, ten self-catering apartments with kitchen, living room, bathroom, internet connection and TV. Private parking and 100 square metre terrace with solarium. Doubles from €80.
  • Residence Select ExecutiveVia G. Galliano 13/a (500 m northwest of SMN railway station) ,  fax+39 055 3515064-star hotel; 12 rooms, some with kitchenette. Doubles from €80.
  • Hotel Unicornovia dei Fossi, 27 (Near Santa Maria Novella) ,  fax+39 055 268332Small 3-star hotel in 17th C building. Double rooms from €80.

Splurge

  • Grand Hotel AdriaticoVia Maso Finiguerra 9 (200 m west of SMN railway station) ,  fax+39 055 289661 Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00Modern 4-star hotel in the historical centre, very close to the train station. Rooms and suites are suitable for both couples, families, single travellers and group of friends. The hotel features a Tuscan restaurant, a private car park, complimentary breakfast served on a terrace on the ground floor and free minibar for direct bookings.
  • Grand Hotel CavourVia del Proconsolo, 3 ,  fax+39 055 218955Friendly, efficient hotel in 13th C palazzo. Former residence of the Strozzi-Ridolfi dynasty. €150-300.
  • J and J HotelVia di Mezzo, 20 ,  fax+39 055 2402824-star hotel in former convent. Has double, twin, junior suite, suite, and double rooms for single use, all en-suite services. B&B single €195, double €225.
  • Kraft HotelVia Solferino, 2 ,  fax+39 055 2398267 4-star hotel near the centre with swimming-pool, restaurant and 5th-floor terrace with bar. B&B doubles from €200.
  • Hotel Laurus al DuomoVia dei Cerretani 54/r. ,  fax+39 055 268308 A historic 4-star hotel, close to the Cathedral and Firenze SMN railway station. Suite rooms with view from €150.
  • Milu Hotel (formerly La Residenza), Via Tornabuoni, 8.  Central 4 star with roof garden with a charming view. Double from €200.
  • Hotel MirageVia Francesco Baracca, 231 (interno 18) (500 m from Florence airport, 5 km northwest of centre) ,  fax+39 055 374096Comfortable straightforward 4-star hotel with restaurant. Regard this as an airport hotel and you won’t be disappointed. Single from €110, doubles from €140, triples from €160, apartments from €300 per week..
  • Hotel Monna Lisa FlorenceBorgo Pinti, 27 ,   Four-star hotel, and yes it’s Monna, that’s not a typo. In a restored 14th-century Florentine noble palace. Gym facilities, sun terrace and meeting rooms. €200-550.
  • NH Porta RossaVia Porta Rossa,19.  Gorgeous hotel built in the 12th century. From €150.
  • L’Orologia (L’O), Piazza di Santa Maria Novella.  Swanky boutique 4-star hotel with rooms themed on watches. Nice view of Piazza & Basilica from breakfast room. Doubles from €150.
  • Orto de’ MediciVia San Gallo 30 (Centro storico) ,  fax+39 055-461276 Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 11:004-star hotel in 19th C building with gardens. Doubles from €150.
  • Palazzo Magnani FeroniBorgo San Frediano, 5 (just south of Ponte Carraia) ,  fax+39 055 26 08 908It’s in a 16th-century building that belonged to Marquis Feroni. It has twelve comfortable suites with classic furniture and original frescoes. Doubles from €300.
  • Residence La Repubblica FlorencePiazza della Repubblica, 4 ,  fax+39 055 21449621 self-catering apartments for a maximum of six people, all with kitchenette, private bath, internet connection, satellite TV and cooking facilities. Short stays (eg single night) welcome. One-person apartment: €160; three/two bedroom apartment: €170.
  • Hotel Pitti Palace al Ponte VecchioVia Borgo San Jacopo, 3 (south end of Ponte Vecchio) ,  fax+39 055 2398867 4 star overlooking the bridge; you’re paying for the location. Doubles from €150.
  • Villa Poggio ai MerliVia di Giogoli 5, Scandicci (6 km southwest of centre) ,  fax+39 055 250718A historic residence on edge of city, in large park. Doubles from €200.
  • Villa la VedettaViale Michelangiolo 78 (on hill just south of Ponte Niccolo) ,  fax+39 055 65825445-star luxury hotel with panorama of Florence’s skyline. Doubles from €200.
  • Hotel degli OrafiLungarno Archibusieri, 4 Boutique 4-star in Florence city centre, overlooking river near Ponte Vecchio. Doubles from €150.
  • Palazzo VecchiettiVia degli Strozzi, 4 50123 Firenze ,   Historic residence a few steps from Piazza della Repubblica, in the center of Florence. Few suites, elegant and modern. The hotel also offers two apartments in the central area. Gluten-free products and breakfast included in the room rate. 

Telecommunications in Florence

Since there are a large number of tourists around, the center of Florence is brimming with webcafés and telephone call centers. Most evenings there are long lines for access to the phone-booths.

You can also buy a pre-paid card which will give you a steep discount on international calls by dialing a special number.

Wireless LAN access is becoming popular. Even when offered for free, you will need to provide your name and contact details to the provider of the service to obtain an access code. This is because of Italian anti-terror laws. Anonymous access is not possible.

Stay safe in Florence

Florence is generally safe and healthy, but beware the inevitable purse-snatchers and pickpockets. They thrive in crowds, particularly around SMN railway station and on the buses, sometimes working with a decoy such as an insistent beggar. If you have a bag with a classy, noiseless zipper, it will be opened.

Florence Photo Gallery

Go next

  • Florence is a great starting point and base for a tour of Tuscany. Attractive day trips include Pisa, Lucca, San Gimignano, Arezzo, Fiesole, Lucignano, Siena, and of course the wine zone of Chianti. Greve in Chianti is the market town of the Chianti zone and it is in the hills surrounding Greve that you can rent a B&B room or a small apartment on a working vineyard for less than a hotel in Florence. The SITA Pullman buses take you to Greve and Greve in about an hour. From then on you see few cars and many cypress and olive trees.
The SITA bus station is just west of the train station in Florence. This is where to go to catch a bus to Siena, San Gimignano, and so on. If you’re at the roundabout, facing the train station, go 90 degrees left and stay on the left until just past the fork. You will see the entrance to the SITA garage on your right.
  • Fiesole is in the hills above Florence, only a short bus ride away from the centre. It offers a beautiful view of the sunset, and a small museum located on ancient Roman and Etruscan ruins of a temple and an amphitheater.
  • World War II Florence American Cemetery and Memorial (12 km (7.5 miles) south of Florence on the west side of Via Cassia. The Rome-Milan highway passes near the cemetery. 20 min bus ride from the Sita Station, just ask agent (get a return ticket)). Open daily except for 25 December and 1 January; 09:00-17:00The cemetery is the final resting place for 4,402 American military dead lost during after the capture of Rome and the battle for the Apennines. A monument is inscribed with the names of 1,409 Americans whose remains were never found or identified. The atrium of the chapel contains marble maps of World War II Italy campaign. Free to enter.
  • Biking options outside of the city include the Chianti area, where you can fully enjoy the hills and the elegance of the landscape surrounding you, which has been taken care of endlessly through centuries. Strong scents can be enjoyed in Spring. The warm temperatures and usually stable weather in the good seasons can make the ride even more enjoyable. If you feel more energetic, ascents to Vallombrosa from Pontassieve through Tosi can be very enjoyable. You start from the Arno river plain and you end up in a thick, shady, fresh forest. In all cases, avoid the hottest hours in Summer and be aware of the traffic, which can be heavy and not cyclist-savvy, until you get in secondary or less populated roads.
  • UNESCO World Heritage Listed rural building complexes (Medici Villas and Gardens) are scattered around Florence.

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Reporting mainly on the Asia Pacific region and the global Coronavirus crises in countries such as the United States, China, Brazil, Mexico, Italy and Germany. Love to Travel and report daily on destinations reopening with a focus on Domestic travel within Europe, North America and the Caribbean. A great fan of Bali, Rhodes & Corfu. Love to follow the English Premier League , the German Bundesliga and the Spanish La Liga.

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Coronavirus

Already eleven Corona Infections at the Pope’s Swiss Guard

In the Vatican, seven other members of the pope’s Swiss Guard tested positive for the corona virus . This increased the number of demonstrably infected guardsmen to eleven, as the Swiss Guard announced on Thursday. All infected people had been isolated, the message said. The brightly uniformed guards protect Pope Francis and his residence.

A major corona outbreak among the guards could therefore also be dangerous for the Pope, 83 years of age belongs to the risk group. The Argentinean pope had part of his right lung removed at the age of 21 due to severe pneumonia but he is considered relatively healthy for his age.

The Catholic media platform “Vatican News” reported in early October that the guardsmen had been asked to “be careful when dealing with the Pope” because of Corona. Face mask and social distancing are required, however a young man who was interviewed about his recruit swearing in (October 4th) said that Francis had already shaken his hand.

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Italy

Corona measures in Italy – Italy reacts to the 2nd Wave of Covid-19

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Italy introduced a nationwide facemask requirement in the open due to the increase in new infections. If you don’t wear a mask when leaving your apartment, you risk a fine of up to one thousand euros, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte recently announced. You do not need to wear a face mask when you are doing sport. The regulations do not apply in private rooms or in places where only one family is staying. Children under six years of age are also exempt from this obligation.

In view of the rising numbers, Italy’s Minister of Health Roberto Speranza also ordered mandatory tests for travelers from Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.

Another measure taken by the government shows how deep the shock of the first wave of more than 30,000 deaths still sits: It passed a law that prohibits the Italian regions from adopting measures that are less restrictive than those taken by Rome. However, you have the option of setting even stricter rules. Some regions, such as Lazio and Campania, had already decided that the public must wear a facemask.

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Lombardy Coronavirus Covid-19 Outbreak – Cases Quarantine Deaths Stats to Italy

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Lombardy or Lombardia is a northern region of Italy, and with 10 million people is the most populous one. Producing 1/5th of Italy’s GDP, it is also the mightiest economically. Geographically, Lombardy encompasses both Alps and Prealps in the north, and relatively flat plains in the south along the river Po and its tributaries. Between them there are many scenic lakes, and the alpine backdrop makes even the low-lying cities picturesque and the air rather fresh.

[wppress-covid19 display=”card” country=”Italy, Lombardia” custom_title=”no” custom_title_text=”Covid-19 in Italy, Lombardy” card_animate_number=”yes” show_pie_chart=”no” show_daily_change=”yes” show_confirmed=”yes” show_deaths=”yes” show_recovered=”yes” show_active=”yes” confirmed_legend=”Confirmed” deaths_legend=”Deaths” recovered_legend=”Recovered” active_legend=”Active” padding=”30px 20px” border_radius=”5″ background_color=”#FFFFFF” title_color=”#333333″ confirmed_color=”#5082c7″ deaths_color=”#d04b5a” recovered_color=”#4caf50″ active_color=”#e38b4f” title_font_size=”16″ stats_font_size=”14″ legend_font_size=”14″ /]Browse down for full details of the current Coronavirus situation in Lombardy

Lombardy is heavily industrialized, although most of the industry is actually not heavy, but rather mid-sized specialized machinery-building and other assembly and engineering firms, as well as consumer industries such as foodstuffs and apparel. The regional capital, Milan, is Italy’s second-largest city and the foremost centre of commerce and a global fashion capital. Smaller cities also have considerable economic might, and have had so for many centuries, hence Lombardy is the region of Italy with the most UNESCO World Heritage List sites – and simply, a lot of history and scenic views to explore and enjoy.

  1. Lombardian Alps and Prealps (provinces of Bergamo, Brescia and Sondrio)
  2. Lake Como (provinces of Como and Lecco)
  3. Southern Lombardy (provinces of Cremona, Lodi, Mantova and Pavia)
  4. Grande Milano (provinces of Milan and Monza and Brianza)
  5. Varese

Cities

  • Milan (Milano, the capital of the province) – shares with Paris the title of fashion capital of the world, and is Italy’s second city.
  • Bergamo – a fairytale pastel-coloured city perched atop a hillside, and the gate to Bergamo Alps
  • Brescia – a major industrial powerhouse since the Ancient Roman times, and a UNESCO World Heritage List
  • Como – the city that gave the name to the popular lake
  • Cremona – home of Stradivarius violins, but also a wealth of ornate romanesque architecture
  • Lecco – a little and charming city situated on Como’s lake.
  • Mantua (Italian: Mantova) – the Ducal Palace has a cycle of frescoes by Mantegna that no art lover should miss.
  • Sondrio – the northernmost provincial capital situated amidst alpine mountain ranges
  • Varese – capital of the namesake province full of lakeside resorts, just 30 minutes from Malpensa airport

Other destinations

  • The magnificent lakes of Lake Como – take boat trips in the shadow of the Alps to the picturesque villages of BellagioVarenna and Tremezzo – Lake MaggioreLake Garda and Lake Lugano.
  • The tiny village of Erbusco, home of the award-winning wines of Franciacorta and L’Albereta, the country inn of Gualtiero Marchesi, one of Italy’s premier chefs
  • Moltrasio
  • The peninsula of Sirmione, on the south shore of Lake Garda
  • The Caves of Catullo, an archaeological site of a former Roman villa situated on the tip of the Sirmione peninsula
  • The Sirmione Spa, the largest privately owned thermal treatment centre in Italy
  • Val Camonica : UNESCO heritage site, medieval towns, castles, holy art in churches, roman sanctuary and theatre/amphitheatre, ski sports.
  • Oltrepò Pavese : Wine region in the utmost southern part of Lombardy, 70km from Milan, part of the Pavia province, medieval towns, castles, stunning views.

Understand

The Longobardis occupied the Peninsula in the 6th century, and the territory has been named after them ever since.

Lombardy is a prosperous region with fertile soil and a temperate climate. As in Piedmont, the Po Valley is the site of much heavy industry. High mountains in the north, marking Italy’s frontier with Switzerland, provide excellent skiing and climbing.

Get in

By plane

Three of Italy’s four busiest airports are in Lombardy:

  • Milan Malpensa Airport is an intercontinental airport, and Italy’s second aviation hub after Rome Fiumicino. It has multiple direct connections to Africa, Asia and North America, as well as across Europe, where it is served by both full-service and low-fare carriers.
  • Milano Linate is Milan’s city airport, served by business-oriented flights to European major commercial centres, as well as a dense Italian domestic network.
  • Bergamo Orio al Serio Airport is served almost exclusively by low-fare carriers, taking advantage of its proximity to both Milan and the Alps.

Despite only Linate being in the city and province of Milan, all three airports are marketed as serving the city. One can easily get to other destinations in the province from them, without necessarily changing in Milan. There is also a small airport in Brescia, which in recent years has seen next to no scheduled traffic.

Travel by train to Lombardy

Road and train links connect the region with Switzerland. As Switzerland is not part of the EU, there is a possibility that you will be delayed by checks at the border, although these are infrequent and usually not rigorous. Remember your passport.

Get around

There is a relatively dense railway network connecting cities and towns in Lombardy, although the layout is intricate and getting from one place to another may not be straightforward. You should be able to reach your destination within 1 or 2 hours by train. Otherwise, buses and minibuses link important destinations, especially those popular with tourists. Hubs are usually in regional centres, as well as near major railway stations and airports; you can try to change there if there are no direct connections. Regional train network is entirely managed by Trenord.

Regione Lombardia offers a good travel planner that lets you query the whole public transportation system.

If you plan to travel a lot, it might be worth buying a io viaggio ovunque in Lombardia pass ticket. Those tickets let you travel without limit on the entire public transport system in Lombardy, including regional trains, buses and city public transportation systems, but excluding some ferry boat lines. Although expensive, they can easily be a cheaper option than regular tickets if you travel long distances. Passes are sold at railway stations (at ticket box or automatic vending machines) and at ATM automatic vending machines. You can buy 1, 2, 3 or 7 day passes (16€, 27€, 32.5€, 43€ respectively – February 2020).

The railway company Trenord offers some good travel packages, under the Trenord Free Time name. The package usually includes a ticket to an attraction or a trip proposal and a train ticket to get to the destination. Most of them are really useful only if you depart from Milan. It’s worth to take a look at the offers as they can also suggest you some new or lesser known itinerary that you may like.

As the Autostrada A4 runs across Lombardy, with the road system radiating from its junctions, you can get around by car as well. The A4 frequently gets congested though and traffic jams can be long and excruciating, especially around Milan. Be aware that Italians drive fast and make no allowances for foreigners, so be sure you are OK with keeping up with the traffic and occasional displays of impatience from other drivers.

Milan, Bergamo and Brescia have efficient and extensive public transportation systems.

What to see in 

Do

  • Milan Fashion Weeks draw crowds of fashionistas to Milan every year.
  • La Scala in Milan is a mecca for opera aficionados.
  • You can enjoy water sports or more relaxed boating on the lakes.
  • The Alps offer opportunities for hiking or skiing.

Eat

Lombardy’s most famous culinary inventions are minestrone soup and osso buco (literally “ox knuckles”). To the west of Milan lie miles of rice fields, where the rice for risotto alla milanese is grown. Other typical dishes of the area include salumi (cold cuts) and polenta.

As in many other areas of Northern Italy, the aperitivo (pre-meal drink with appetisers, for which a small supplement might be charged) is very popular.

Drink

The wineries in Franciacorta, around Erbusco, produce many excellent wines. The region has been elevated to the status of DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita). Other remarkable zones for wine are Oltrepò Pavese (which is the zone around Pavia on the south banks of Po river) and the countrysides around Garda Lake.

Valtellina also produces excellent wines, famous for their strong taste and flavour.

As every big city in the world, Milan has also many high quality restaurants, wine bars and Enoteche (wine store) where you can find high class wines from all over the world.

Where to stay in Lombardy

Large cities, like Milan, Bergamo or Brescia, are important business centres, so they have sizeable bases of business-oriented hotels. They are local hubs with connections to destinations within their provinces, and getting between them is also reasonably quick via a variety of means of transportation (trains, express buses or cars across the A4). Do note that accommodation in Milan is generally expensive, and prices skyrocket during major events or fairs, such as the Milan Fashion Week.

Destinations along the lines of the lakes, as well as those in the Alps, are popular with tourists, so you will find a variety of accommodation options there, from luxurious resort hotels to simple B&Bs.

Stay safe in Lombardy

While Milan features many of the usual tourist traps and con acts, as well as sizeable number of pickpockets due to the number of tourists there, other destinations are generally safe, and you can feel secure and welcome there. Do note, however, that in case you need to contact the police they can have very limited English skills and also may not be able to help foreigners much.

Go next

To the east is Trentino-Alto Adige and Veneto, to the south is Emilia-Romagna and Piedmont is to the south and west. Switzerland lies to the north.

Current Covid-19 Infections in Italy, Lombardy

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Timeline of Covid-19 Infections in Italy, Lombardy

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Covid-19 Italy

Covid-19 Italy
647,674
Confirmed
31,079
Confirmed (24h)
199
Deaths (24h)
4,285
Recovered (24h)

According to the Government in Italy, Italy has confirmed 31,079 new Covid-19 infections within Italy in the last 24 hours and furthermore 199 deaths have been reported throughout Italy. With the new deaths of 199, Italy now has a total of 647,674 Coronavirus/Covid-19 infections and the official death rate reported by the government of Italy is 5.9%. 38,321 died in Italy.

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