Florence and Tuscany: Accommodation in Florence Italy, Florence Tourist Info and Guide
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About FlorenceFlorence city center and the city of Florence
When we say that an apartment is centrally located this means that it is situated inside the area of the ancient walls surrounding the city.
The center of Florence is divided into two parts by the Arno river.
The neighborhoods of San Lorenzo, Santa Croce and San Giovanni lie to the north, while those of Santo Spirito, San Frediano and San Niccol? lie to the south. All these neighborhoods are centrally located. The San Giovanni quarter, where you find the Duomo, the Baptistry and Palazzo Vecchio you might call the heart of the city center. The principal museums and churches of Florence are located both to the south and to the north of the river. In the center of the city you will find houses dating back to Medieval, Renaissance, Neoclassical and early 19th Century times, but never modern homes.
When, on the other hand, we say that an apartment if located in the city of Florence this means that it is outside the ring of roads circling the city where once there stood the last city walls, destroyed in the middle of the 1800's. Here you may see apartment houses dating to the 1800's as well as modern ones. Distances In cities like Florence, city blocks are of different sizes; you can't measure distances by them.
The center of Florence is a marvellous, complex "urban organism" composed of homes, museums, churches, squares, streets, narrow alleys, palaces, shops, schools, garages etc. Almost all streets have commercial establishments, and are punctuated by bars, cafes and restaurants. The city offers a vast selection of restaurants and trattorie.
There are also small supermarkets and food stores (Conado, Il Centro) and two large covered markets (San Lorenzo and Sant'Ambrogio) which I suggest you visit and do some of your shopping.
Some food stores and minimarkets are open on Sundays too. Florence is full of laundries, automatic laundries and Internet points! Florence is often referred to as a city to the measure of man and woman.
You get around easily on foot, by bicycle and with public transportation. It takes at most 30 to 45 minutes to cross the center of Florence from one end to the other.
For those feeling a bit lazy, or in a hurry, little electric buses connect the various zones of the city. They cost, like regular city buses,1.20 Euro for a ticket lasting 70 minutes.
I suggest you to live Florence by walking as much as possible. Losing yourself in the city's streets, simply following your instincts and your curiosity, is an excellent way to discover the unusual aspects it offers. Try going outside of the usual circuits; it will make your stay unforgettable. Even now I discover - and I don't exaggerate - with horror that many people think Florence is nothing but the Duomo and the Uffizi. Florence is surrounded by beautiful, picturesque hills punctuated by elegants villas and panoramiic roads which offer marvellous scenarios.
If you're short of time it would be better to skip a visit to a museum, rather than that to skip a visit to San Miniato all Monte above Piazzale Michelangelo or Forte Belvedere! Or, for those who have little time but strong legs and strong lungs I suggest admiring Florence from on high, climbing up Brunelleschi's Cupola - the Cathedral's Dome - or the Campanile of Giotto - its Bell Tower.
ATAF city busses Tickets must be purchased from authorized dealers (bars, tobacco shops, newsstands) and must be validated on board.
Florence by car
For visitors arriving by car it is important to know that the center of Florence, is restricted traffic zone called ZTL. I invite you to read this importat link.
Only those drivers who have permits may enter, circulate freely and park on the streets.
The access to ZTL is controlled by electronic detection devices that register the plate number and fine non authorized vehicles. If you are thinking of bringing a car the simplest thing to do is to put it in a garage, of which there are many, especially in the San Lorenzo area. The average garage price per day for a medium-sized auto is 25 Euros. However, I strongly suggest that you not arrive in Florence with a car, unless you are returning a hired car. The train station, Santa Maria Novella, is centrally located, as are the main bus companies. Lucca, Pisa, Siena, Rome and Venice have good train connections to Florence, which is located in the center of Italy and is an excellent base for all excursions. But if you really want to have a car in Florence, the only thing to do is to pay a garage's daily charges, and take the car when you want to leave the center. The viability of the city is rather complicated: the streets are narrow and it's not hard to lose your patience! Outside the city the situation is better; the chances of surviving and of parking your car are better!
Carabinieri phone 112
Polizia phone 113
Italy has different police forces: polizia, carabinieri, polizia municipale and Guardia di finanza. The polizia are a governamental department and are found in big cities. The carabinieri are found in all over the city, in a larger cities as well as tiny village. If you lose your passport, have something stolen, the carabinieri are probably your best bet. The polizia municipale mainly operates as traffic police force, and its members (called vigili urbani) rarely carry arms.
Fire Brigade (Vigili del Fuoco) phone 115
Medical emergency phone 118
ACI Car breakdown service phone 116
Towing away (Rimozione auto) 055308249 24-Hours
Chemist Farmacia Comunale inside the Firenze S.M.N. Railway Stattion Farmacia Molteni Via Calzaiuoli 7r Farmacia all'Insegna del Moro Piazza San Giovanni 20r
Police assistance for tourist Polizia, Via Pietrapiana 50r 055203911 Mon-Fri 8:30am - 1:30pm
Carabinieri, Borgo Ognissanti 48 05524811 Questura, Via Duca d'Aosta 3 05549771 Mon-Sun 8:00am - 8pm
Main Post Offices Via Pellicceria 3 Mon-Fri 8:15am - 7:00pm, Sat 8:15am - 12:30pm - Via Alamanni 18r Mon-Fri 8:15am - 7:00pm, Sat 8:15am - 12:30pm
Tourist information Offices Piazza Stazione 4, 055212245, - Borgo Santa Croce 29r, 0552340444, - Via Cavour 1r, 055290832 - Aeroporto Vespucci (arrival side) 055315874
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