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When you visit Florence, you won’t have any problem finding Internet Hotspots. There are many bars and cafés with Wi-Fi; even the supermarkets now offer Wi-Fi. However, not all Wi-Fi Hotspots are created equally.
For me the perfect Wi-Fi Hotspot has the following things in common:
1. No time limit. I don’t want to worry about getting kicked out after 30 minutes.
2. Plenty of space. I need to use my computer at a table that allows enough space for my laptop, books, notebooks etc. Good lighting is always a plus.
3. A relaxed atmosphere. I enjoy surfing the web in a place that is tranquil, this means no loud music, no TV and no doors constantly slamming when people come and go.
4. Low to no extra costs. I do not want to have to pay €4 for a drink to use their Internet. (I will pay however €1 for an awesome coffee!)
Keep in mind that Italy has strict Internet laws and to use the Internet here you will most likely have to show identification (at internet points/call centers and libraries). That is why many of the public Wi-Fi Hotspots in Florence, such as “FirenzeWiFi” require you to have an Italian cell phone number to log onto their Wi-Fi.
With this in mind, here are the Wi-Fi Hotspots around Florence that I use:
Via de’ Pepi, 14R
Neighborhood: Santa Croce
Meykadeh is a Café/ Bookstore located near Santa Croce. It goes above and beyond my third requirement, which is tranquility! Every time I enter the café, I am greeted with a smiling face and a “Buon Giorno” from the Barista. I have never experienced any distracting or rude behavior from anyone in this café. The music is always very relaxing and played at a low volume, and of course, the WiFi connection is free.
You won’t need an Italian cell phone, but you will need to enter some personal info in their login page, such as your name, country, email, etc. The only downside of this café is that they DO charge a fee for table service. This means they charge you a little extra, if you sit at a table or couch, instead of sitting at the counter.
2. News Café
Via del Giglio, 59
Neighborhood: San Lorenzo
News Café is located near the San Lorenzo marketplace. Internet is free when you enter a valid email address. What I love the most about this bar is that there are many individual tables and lights, meaning, a table for one, but large enough to fit my computer and notebooks.
Another reason that I consistently come to this bar over many others in this “zona” is that the barista makes the most beautiful cappuccinos in the city! He literally spends three minutes designing a picture on the foam with chocolate!
The Oblate Library is a major hotspot in and of itself. It’s always packed with students, tourists and people surfing the web or taking in some sun on the terrace. Anyone can sign up for an Internet account at this library and you can use your computer or one of the desktops inside (if you need to print something). Using the Library’s Wi-Fi you can stay online for as long as you like.
Note: They do not let you use the electrical outlets to charge your computer inside the building, so if this is a problem for you, plan on using your computer outside on the terrace (which isn’t a problem for me because the terrace has a great view of the Duomo). Don’t forget to bring your ID when you come to sign up for an account.
4. Le Murate Library / Café
Piazza delle Murate
Also known as “Caffè Letterario,” this bar and local hang out comes in handy when you need a late night Wi-Fi Hotspot. Le Murate is a great choice because there is so much space inside. There are five different rooms filled with tables and couches. There is also a large outdoor courtyard with tables and benches, which is nice in the summer and you can hook up to the Wi-Fi there as well. I usually come here after lunch hours (around 3 p.m.) when hardly anyone is around–I can have any table I want.
Via Petrosa, 19
Neighborhood: Sesto Fiorentino
“Coop” is the name of a popular Italian grocery store. “Ipercoop” just means: “really big Coop.” It’s a shopping center that includes not only the supermarket, but also a pharmacy, clothing stores, electronics store, food court etc.
The Ipercoop of Sesto Fiorentino is my go-to place not only for grocery shopping, but for Wi-Fi too. I bring my laptop to their “bibliocoop” (little library) to do whatever work I need to get done online (and offline too). Side Note: The cafeteria upstairs is really good and cheap, too!