Before you pull out your Florence city guide, there are some Florence travel tips to bear in mind which could save you a lot of time and money! Whether you’re spending 2 days in Florence, 3 days in Florence or 3 weeks in Florence, these tips will help you make the most of any Florence holiday. Every city has its own unique blueprint and, even if you’ve been to every other Italian city, you’ll need different keys to unlock the backdoors to Florence
. Below are some of the most important keys you will need when you visit Florence. “Buone feste” (happy travels)!
Florence Money & Time Saving Tips
If you want to learn about Florence travel, you need to begin by forgetting a few things! Forget the metro
: there isn’t one. Forget the tram
: there’s currently only one line and it doesn’t go through the center or near the Florence tourist attractions you’re probably after. Forget taxis
: taxi prices are the most expensive in Europe! If you’re trying to be careful with money, the best ways of getting around the city are walking (there are some great walking tours
) and the bus. Cycling and segway tours
aren’t as cheap as the bus but they’re great options too. Any decent Florence city guide will confirm this (if they’re not owned by a taxi company!).
Tip #1 - Catch The Bus
Florence has around 100 bus routes but buses A, B, C & D are the most important ones to know about if you’re traveling to the big attractions. They’re electric and much smaller than the main city busses. Of the city buses, number 12 & 13 are the most useful as they go to San Miniato al Monte Basilica and Piazzale Michelangelo. By far the easiest option, however, is to use the “Hop-on Hop-off” bus in Florence. It will take you to all the major sights and you can get off whenever you like (and then get back on without needing to buy another ticket). “Buon viaggio” (safe trip)!
Florence Bike Tour with City Panoramas at Sunset
Tip #2 - Take advantage of the freebies!
Why not skip the admission costs altogether? Florence has so much to see for free. All you need to do is get there! Either hop on a bus or walk up one of Florence’s hills to Piazzale Michelangelo
. Initially designed to be a museum in honor of Michaelangelo, the beautiful sculptures on display and the panoramic views of the city are a must see! It’s not hard to get there but a little guidance always helps. If you’re looking to save time, we’ve got you covered: here’s your guide to how to get to the Piazzale Michelangelo
Browse for hidden treasures at markets such as San Lorenzo Mercato Centrale, or wander the city and cross the medieval bridge, Ponte Vecchio. The choices are nearly endless. “Scegli” (take your pick)!
Tip #3 - Free museum entry
This is one of the best Florence travel tips: state museums are free the first Sunday of the month! This includes the Bargello National Museum
, Cappelle Medicee
, San Marco Museum
, Museum of Palazzo Davanzati
and more! If you have time, it’s best to buy tickets for the Uffizi Gallery
, Pitti Palace, the Accademia Gallery and the other most popular museums to limit the crowds.
Visit the lesser known ones on free days but don’t try and see them all, you’ll burn out! Also, if you’re traveling to Florence over Valentine’s Day (February 14th), “Night at the Museum” (May 21st) or International Women’s Day (March 8th), many museums offer free entry too. Double check before you go, however, as these offers (often obliged by law) are subject to change!
The Duomo museum, filled with renaissance art, is not on the ’free museums’ list unfortunately but the cathedral of Santa Maria Dei Fiori (a part of the famous Duomo
complex) is always free to enter. You must book tickets to climb to the top of the Duomo for its spectacular views of the city, however. If you’re not here over these dates, getting a Florence Pass
to various Florence museums
and attractions can save you time and money!
Florence Uffizi Gallery Tickets with Fast Track Access
Tip #4 - Eat Out For Lunch!
If you like jokes, you’ll enjoy this one: what’s the difference between food in Florence in the daytime and at night? The price. Okay, I didn’t say it was a ‘good’ joke! Still though, it’s useful to bear in mind that for the same food, you could be paying much, much more just to be eating in moonlight instead of sunlight.
At the end of the day, it’s the food that counts so why not save yourself some unnecessary expense and eat out at lunch, not dinner. Many restaurant and bars will also have lunch menus designed for local workers so you can join the ‘gravy’ train too! Florence travel tip#1. Unnecessarily expensive dinners!
You can also check out our recommended “Cheap Eats” in Florence or great value food and wine tours
!“Buon appetito” (enjoy your meal)!
Tip #5 - Don’t drink your money away!
It’s all too easy to get to the end of a trip to Florence, having been very careful about your finances, and find a big shock when you check your bank balance! The problems aren’t likely to be the big expenditures (Florence hotels, travel, entrance tickets, etc). You were probably very diligent with these, referencing average prices in your Florence city guide, etc. Instead, it will be all the charges with names like “Local Firenze, Rasputin, Diorama and Sabor Cubano” which are to blame. What on earth could they be? The answer: bars in Florence (those are particularly good ones, as well by the way!).
In all seriousness though, drinks are the sneaky way you’ll end up slowly sieving your budget into the tills of local Florentine bars and restaurants. The same applies to water but there are water fountains around the city so if you bring a water bottle you can top up for free! Also, if you want to try some great Italian wine at a fraction of the price, you can buy it from the supermarket!
Additional Helpful Florence Hacks
Tip #6 - Learn “un po” (a little) Italian
This will certainly save you time. It may save you money, as well. The locals may be endeared to your efforts and not treat you like such a tourist (with tourist prices!). Most importantly, it will make for a happier holiday as the cultural divide between you and your hosts is bridged a little. I’ve already snuck a few(!) but here’s are some more essentials to get you started:
- Buongiorno = Good-day (formal greeting)
- Buonasera = Good evening (formal greeting).
- Ciao = Hello/Goodbye (informal)
- Per Favore = Please
- Grazie = Thank you
- Prego = You're Welcome
- Parla Inglese? = Do you speak English?
- Non Capisco = I don’t understand
- Quanto costa? = How much does it cost?
- 1 = Uno, 2 = Due, 3 = Tre, 4 = Quattro, 5 = Cinque, 6 = Sei, 7 = Sette, 8 = Otto, 9 = Nove, 10 = Dieci.
Let us know how your holiday goes. We’d love to hear your Florence travel tips! “Buone vacanze a Firenze” (happy holidays in Florence)!