Getting around Florence
The best way to get around Florence is on foot as the city centre is so compact. However, there is a comprehensive bus network run by Azienda Trasporti Area Fiorentina (ATAF) (tel: +39 199 104 245; www.ataf.net) from 0600-2325. Tickets, available at newsagents, most coffee bars and automatic ticket dispensers, are valid for 90 minutes, allowing the holder to change buses or make a return journey within the hour. 24-hour and up to seven-day passes are also available.
Taxis can be hailed on the streets, although they rarely stop. It is better for tourists to head for local taxi ranks (located outside the train station and at most tourist destinations) or telephone for one in advance. Taxis are operated by Taxi Firenze (tel: +39 55 4242). There are additional supplements charged for luggage, calling a taxi, night time travel and travelling on a Sunday.
Due to its small size and severe traffic restrictions in the historical centre, there is little point in driving to Florence. However, visitors staying in luxury hotels are allowed to drive into the city centre but only for the purposes of parking.
Sightseers determined to drive can try and find a parking space at the underground car park at Santa Maria Novella, or park at Parterre, near the Piazza della Calza. Alternatively, there may be room at Oltrana near Porta Romana.
Several major car hire companies have offices in the city, including Avis, (tel: +39 55 213 629; www.avisautonoleggio.it), Hertz (tel: +39 55 239 8205; www.hertz.it), and Italy by Car (tel: +39 334 648 19 20; www.italybycar.it).
In order to hire a car, drivers must be at least 21 years old, depending on company policy. All drivers without an EU licence must carry an International Driving Permit.
To blend in with the cruising Romeos, visitors can hire a scooter or moped from Alinari, (tel: +39 55 280 500; www.alinarirental.com). The minimum age for renting a scooter or motorbike is 18 years.
There is also a bicycle-sharing scheme (www.bicifirenze.it) run by the local council. Bikes can be hired at various points in the city centre, including Santa Maria Novella train station. Hire times range from one hour or a full day to a whole month.