The ATAF local bus service covers the city fairly well but is less frequent in the evening and at weekends. Tickets must be bought in advance where you see the bright orange ATAF logo in bars, news stands and tobacco stores. Like the trains, you must ‘validate’ your ticket using the franking machine on the bus. It’s then valid for consecutive journeys so you only have to stamp it on the first bus. A 60-minute ticket costs €1.00 but you might like to consider buying a day ticket, which lasts until midnight, for €4 at the time of writing. Doing this early on during your stay will allow you to hop on and off buses without the hassle of finding a ticket outlet every time. You might also find you get to know the city much better. The compact buses on routes 12 and 13 are particularly recommended for the experience of winding around the tiny back streets of old Florence. An absolute must is a trip on the number 7 bus up to the small town of Fiesole.
Trains in Italy - www.trenitalia.com -
Information Line in Italy (some English spoken)
Buying train tickets at the station can sometimes be confusing and time consuming so it is worth making use of ticket machines. You can also buy tickets from travel agents displaying the distinctive FS symbol (Ferrovie dello Stato or State Railways). Once you have your ticket you will need to ‘validate’ it by stamping it using one of the yellow machines located on each platform. If you do forget, find and train guard, explain your mistake and ask them to validate your ticket or write the date and time on the ticket yourself.
Travelling by train on day trips from Florence’s Santa Maria Novella station can be a pleasant way to see the spectacular Tuscan landscapes and myriad of charming towns and villages that surround the city. Lucca, Arezzo, Siena, Pistoia and Pisa are all easy day trips and all class acts in their own right. If you are staying for longer than a week it might be worth taking a few days to see Rome or even the Tuscan Riviera, all of which are well connected by fast, modern trains. Fares are very reasonably priced – visitors from the UK in particular might be shocked at just how much cheaper train travel is in this fellow EU country!
If you are travelling from the UK you may consider getting to and from Florence by train. This is now surprisingly easy with Eurostar and overnight trains between Paris and Florence. At the time of writing, fares start at just £59 return for the Eurostar plus £52 return from Paris to Florence in a basic 6-bunk couchette or £89 return in a more spacious 4-bunk couchette. More privacy and comfort is also available in 1, 2 & 3-bed sleeping-cars which also include breakfast. See the award winning website http://www.seat61.com for details and travel in style with a clear environmental conscience.