Travel to Florence

Flying to Florence

Airlines offering flights to Florence from the UK include British Airways, Alitalia, easyJet and Jet2.com.

Flight times

From London - 2 hours 15 minutes; New York - 12 hours 30 minutes; Los Angeles - 18 hours 50 minutes; Toronto -12 hours 50 minutes; Sydney - 21 hours 25 minutes.

Travel by road

Summary:

Italy has an excellent network of motorways (autostrade). The main north-south link is the Autostrada del Sole, which links Milan with Reggio Calabria in the toe of Italy. Speed limits on motorways are 130kph (81mph) for cars of 1100cc or more and 110kph (68mph) for smaller cars. All motorways are tolled. Alternatively, opt for the toll-free strade statali, which are often fast, multi-lane carriageways. The speed limit is 110kph (68mph). Small country roads outside Florence are worth exploring to wind through the bucolic Italian countryside. Undimmed headlights are prohibited in towns and cities but are compulsory when passing through tunnels, and headlights must be switched on at all times on autostrade and strade statali.

The minimum age for driving a car is 18 years. On-the-spot fines for speeding and other driving offences are heavy. All vehicles must carry a red warning triangle, available at border posts, and a yellow or orange reflective jacket (or two) which must be worn at night or in bad visibility if your car breaks down on a motorway. There is an on-the-spot fine for failing to wear it. UK driving licences and EU licences are valid in Italy (UK green licences must be accompanied by an International Driving Permit). A Green Card and motor insurance certificate are strongly recommended. A driving licence or a motorcycle driving licence is required for motorcycles over 49cc and crash helmets are compulsory.

The AA or RAC in Britain and the AAA in America have reciprocal agreements with the Automobile Club d'Italia (ACI) (tel: (06) 491115; www.aci.it), who provide a useful advisory service as well as dealing with breakdowns.

Emergency breakdown service:

ACI 803 116.

Routes:

Italy's central road artery, the A1, links Florence to Milan, Bologna, Rome and Naples. Depending on the direction of approach, access is via the first exit marked 'Firenze' (Nord or Sud). From there, signs for the city centre are marked (centro). The Autostrada del Mare (A11) is the main road to Pisa and the coast, linking the city to Tuscan towns such as Lucca, Prato and Siena.

Driving times:

From Bologna - 1 hour; Rome - 2 hours; Milan - 3 hours; Siena - 1 hour 15 minutes.

Coaches:

International coaches depart from Piazza della Stazione (tel: (055) 215 155; www.lazzi.it), next to Santa Maria Novella train station. In collaboration with Eurolines (tel: (055) 5128 419; www.eurolines.it), the station operates an extensive coach service to major European cities, including Antwerp, Barcelona, Brussels, London, Paris and Prague. For domestic travel, the blue SITA (tel: 800 373 760; www.sitabus.it) coaches arrive and depart from Sita Bus Station, Via Santa Caterina da Siena. The fast service to Siena (journey time – 1 hour 15 minutes) is the most direct way for travellers to reach Florence's medieval neighbour. There are also services to Arezzo, Poggibonsi and the wine towns of Chianti (Castellina, Radda and Gaiole).

Travel by rail

Services:

Services operate from the central train station in Florence, Santa Maria Novella or Firenze SMN, 1 Piazza Unita'Italiana, which is known as Piazza della Stazione. Situated in the north of the city, the station takes its name from the nearby church and provides a good orientation point. Facilities include an all-night pharmacy, a bureau de change, left-luggage and an accommodation booking service.

Operators:

The Italian state railway is Ferrovie dello Stato (tel: 892021; www.trenitalia.com), which is reliable and fairly priced, although hefty supplements can be added depending on the type of train (Diretto, Inter-Regionale or InterCity and InterCity Plus). By law, passengers must validate their train tickets, by stamping them in the yellow machines on the platform before boarding - failure to do so can result in a large fine.

Florence is on the main Rome-Milan line, which ensures a fast service to Italy's tourist centres. Services include the EuroStar Italia, with links to Milan and Rome and the express service, which serves Naples. For rail access to ports, there are regular direct trains to Venice and to Genoa, usually changing at Pisa. Direct trains takes 20 minutes less. International train services link Florence to more than 40 other European destinations, including Paris, Zurich, and Munich.

Journey times:

From Milan - 1 hours 45 minutes; Rome - 1 hour 20 minutes; Naples - 2 hours 50 minutes; Venice - 1 hours 51 minutes.

Edited by Tina Banerjee



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