Tired of arriving to your destination looking like you’ve just emerged from a human car wash? Well, how about getting to Florence refreshed, reposed and with the swagger of a Medici prince?
Check out these tips to save energy, time and money when arriving in Florence:
Lean toward Pisa (the airport, that is)
Florence has 1.5 airports. The official airport is Firenze Peretola, which is where most people arrive. However, there is also Pisa, Florence’s bratty little cousin. Pisa’s Galileo Galilei Airport has a longer runway and a higher volume of flights. (Pisa now sticks his tongue out.) Pisa also serves low-cost airlines such as Easyjet and Ryanair.
Getting into Florence from Pisa airport is easy. I recommend that you hop on the Terravision bus, which drops you right in downtown Florence at the Santa Maria Novella Train Station. The trip takes about an hour and a round-trip ticket will cost you €16. Be sure to book online, as the bus tends to fill up in the summer months.
A train also makes the journey, which takes about an hour and fifteen minutes. For more information see the “getting into Florence” article in our city guide.
Arriving at Florence’s airport
Florence’s airport is microscopic. And it’s old. But it doesn’t have to be unpleasant. I suggest going to the bathroom before you arrive (i.e., while you’re still on the plane) since there is only one stall per gender in the arrivals hall. Do take advantage of the free luggage carts and get ready to jockey for a position near the conveyor belt. Consider this a prelude to the challenges you’ll face lugging your heavy suitcase.
Florence is a city of cobblestone streets, razor-thin sidewalks and never-ending stairs. Elevators are as rare as unicorns and can be extremely small. So why not pack super light? A small suitcase will be easy on your watch and your sweat glands—remember that Florence is as hot as an oven during the summer months.
For your return flight, be sure to check the airport website to avoid commuting there for nothing: Because of the airport’s short runway and quick-changing weather, flights out of Florence are often delayed or diverted to Pisa.
Renting a car in Florence
So you’ve delightfully retrieved your lightweight suitcase, passed through customs and are possibly now ready to tackle another task: claiming your rental car. Turn left once liberated from the arrival hall and head out of the airport while staying to your left.
Here’s a tip: Have a hat and a (full) water bottle ready. The car rental desks are outdoors and you will be waiting under a scorching, merciless Tuscan sun. Plus, you could be in that waiting line for quite some time during peak summer months.
Bonus tip (because I’m such a nice guy): Keep your speed under 50 km/h when fleeing the airport. There are speed cameras set up all along the road to the city center. A speeding ticket makes a lousy souvenir.
For more information, also see our article on renting a car in Florence.
The ATAF Volainbus from the Florence airport
If you arrive at Florence’s airport, take a right from the arrival hall and exit the airport through the main entrance. Wiggle your way through the snake of idling taxis to get to the ATAF Volainbus. It is by no means a rocket, but it will get you downtown to the Santa Maria Novella train station in about 20 minutes. The bus departs every half hour. Tickets cost €4.50 can be purchased from the driver. Buy a round-trip ticket to save money.
Taxiing into town from the Florence airport
If you want to play big shot and take a taxi into downtown Florence, then expect to spend between €15-25, depending on traffic and extra charges. Know that there are extra charges for everything in an Italian taxi cab (luggage, pickup location, rotation of the moon, etc.). Should anyone successfully decode the logic of these charges, please alert the author.
Did you know?
Did you know that Florence’s airport has two official names? It also goes by Aeroporto Amerigo Vespucci, named after the famed Florentine explorer. Two names for an airport, only in Italy!