Italian cities are always a favourite with tourists and the popularity of flights to Florence suggests that this historic city is toward the top of the list. Amerigo Vespucci Airport sits approximately 3 miles from the centre, so there are no transfer difficulties to contend with. On arrival, there are information desks to look after any needs, together with a special assistance request facility for any passengers seeking additional aid.
Buses run every 30 minutes from directly outside the terminal and a journey, dependent upon the time of day and therefore volume of traffic, can take between 15 and 30 minutes. Taxi-cabs are available, and have fixed prices, but on average are up to 5 times as much; although for a party of 4, possibly arriving on one of the many cheap flights to Florence, splitting the cost equally, would probably be worthwhile. Bear in mind however, that each item of luggage is charged for too.
The centre is actually quite small, often surprising visitors on Florence flights, who are expecting it to be more spread out. Much of it is pedestrianised, but a small fleet of electric trolly buses, ferry folk across short distances. The regular city buses are bright orange in colour and operate a self-service procedure, where passengers purchase and validate their own tickets.
Cars are not recommended as parking is at a premium. Recently introduced, the open top sight seeing buses are proving very popular. However, possibly the best mode of transport is the bicycle; there are masses of them and they can be hired from many points across the city.
As probably the greatest renaissance city in Italy, it is to be expected that the most popular sights are the staggering buildings that adorn the historic centre. The cathedral, and the amazing bronze doors of the baptistery, feature high on any list of places to visit, as does the Campanile Bell Tower, from where there are fantastic views of the city, once you have negotiated the 414 steps to the top that is! The medieval Ponte Vecchio Bridge allows for a great perspective of the Arno River, and once across, the hillside Boboli Gardens and Pitti Palace should not be overlooked.
As a city of style you wouldn't expect anything less than shops full of fashion, and the narrow streets of the centre, which open up to magnificent monuments in sprawling squares, offering up a shoppers paradise. There are many fabulous open air markets selling more or less anything, and mingled in amongst them are the delicious smells emitted by the flavouring of the many food opportunities.
Eating out is a way of life for the Italians and you cannot walk very far before passing a restaurant of some description, many with an emphasis on fish dishes. Foreign students swell the numbers and consequently improve the atmosphere for the city's night-life. The Santo Spirito Oltrarno neighbourhood has some of the liveliest bars and clubs, in particular Caffe La Torre for its live Jazz and Blues music, and the cocktails and selection of wines at Dolce Vita.
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