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Travel to Florence

Flying to Florence

Airlines offering direct 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

Italy has an excellent network of autostrade (motorways). 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 and for all cars when it is raining.

All motorways are tolled except for a very few exceptions. Alternatively, opt for the toll-free strade statali, which are often fast, multi-lane carriageways. The speed limit is 110kph (68mph).

The minimum age for driving a car is 18 years.

UK driving licences and EU licences are valid (UK green licences must be accompanied by an International Driving Permit).

The AA or RAC in Britain and the AAA in America have reciprocal agreements with the Automobile Club d'Italia (ACI) (tel: +39 06 491 115; www.aci.it), who provide a useful advisory service as well as dealing with breakdowns.

Emergency breakdown services

ACI (tel: 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.

Coaches

International coaches depart from Piazza della Stazione, next to Santa Maria Novella train station. In collaboration with Eurolines (tel: +39 0861 199 1900; 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, Flixbus (www.flixbus.co.uk) coaches arrive and depart from Sita Bus Station, Via Santa Caterina da Siena. 

Time to city

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

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, in the north of the city. In case the planned highspeed-train-station Firenze Belfiore is built, it will replace Santa Maria Novella as central train station. But currently, the more likely szenario is that Santa Maria Novella will be transformed into a highspeed-train station and Firenze Belfiore will never be built.

Operators

Trenitalia (tel: +39 06 6847 5475; www.trenitalia.com) is the national rail company, which runs a fast, efficient and good-value service throughout Italy. Italo (tel: +39 06 422 991; www.italotreno.it) offers a high-speed service to Venice via Bologna and Padua and to Salerno via Rome and Naples. You can buy your tickets online and travel with the reference number. If you have a printed ticket, validate it by stamping it in the yellow machines on the platform before boarding - failure to do so can result in a large fine.

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 50 minutes.

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24 hours in: Florence

As the birthplace of the Renaissance period, opera and even gelato, Florence has enough cultural heritage to fill a whole lifetime.

Featured Hotels

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Orcagna Hotel

Located outside the historic old town of Florence but only a 15-minute walk from the Duomo, this budget hotel makes its guests feel welcome with friendly staff and spacious, modern rooms (some with balconies and/or jacuzzi tubs). Breakfast and Wi-Fi access are included in the room rate, and the hotel provides parking, although free spaces can usually be found in the surrounding streets.

Hotel Lungarno

Hotel Lungarno has views to die for. Anywhere closer to the Ponte Vecchio and guests would be on top of it. The recently renovated 59 rooms and 14 suites of this lavish hotel have classic interiors with contemporary touches, and merge strong and serene colours. Little betters a glass of fizz on a private balcony here as the River Arno twinkles by.

Villa Cora

The home of Baron Oppenheim, this incredibly ornate villa has been the smartest address in town for 150 years. Now a luxury hotel, with the only open-air swimming pool in Florence to stay open all year round, guests can choose from rooms adorned with roses, antiques or a 1940s-themed suite.

Hotel Brunelleschi

Imaginatively reinvented from a Byzantine tower and a medieval church, this 4-star-hotel combines swish modernity in a romantic setting, right in the heart of Florence. Located just off Piazza Signoria, its architectural characteristics of exposed brickwork and wooden beams are retained throughout, giving a pleasing sense of history.

Palazzo Magnani Feroni

On another level of luxury, this fantastical palace harbours 12 theatrical suites on four floors, filled with antiques and lavish furnishings, mammoth mirrors and frescoed rooms. A stay is like being immersed in the world of Florentine royalty. The city views from the rooftop over are incredible. Look out for offers that make it affordable.

Ville Sull’Arno

On the banks of the river Arno, this spa hotel is the perfect retreat from the bustle of the city. Highly affordable for a 5-star, many of the large rooms here come with river views and each has elegant furnishings. It also has indoor and outdoor pools, a sauna and steam room as well as a top-notch restaurant serving Tuscan treats.