Florence Travel Information for Liberty University Students, Summer 2013
Florence is bursting with Renaissance history and art. We’ve collected some helpful resources and hints here to help you plan your trip. You can find additional and important travel information on the Semester in Rome Travel Information pages.
Planning Your Visit
Making arrangements for your trip is easy because the public transportation system is extensive and also because there are many good guidebooks and websites to aid you in your planning.
Most guidebooks have recommendations for places to stay. Be sure to check Tripadvisor.com before you book in order to see what others have to say about the places you’re considering. We have used these two places extensively:
- Casa Santo Nome di Gesù is located across the Arno River away from the main tourist area, but is easy to reach by bus from the train station. The hotel can give you directions on how to reach them by bus. It is a former medieval palace. Breakfast is included.
- Istituto Gould is also located across the Arno River. It is easy to reach by bus from the train station and the hotel has directions available on their website. The hotel is used as a Protestant retreat center and hotel. They often host large group functions. Breakfast can be included, but must be reserved before arrival.
Getting to Florence
We recommend taking one of the trains that departs regularly from Roma Termini for Florence’s Santa Maria Novella (Firenze S.M.N.)
station. There are usually four trains
an hour that run this route. Check the schedule online or at the Termini. In general, the faster the train, the more expensive your ticket will be. Once you arrive at the station for your departure, be sure that you know your train number because the final destination listed on the departure boards at the Termini might not be listed as Firenze S.M.N. The departure board (labeled Partenze
) will also list the track number (Binario
) of your train. This is abbreviated “Bin” on the departure board. If you arrive real early for your train or if the train is late coming into the station, it might not yet be listed on the departures board. Again, be sure to make note of your train number and look for that rather than your destination.
Before you get on the train, be sure to validate your ticket in one of the yellow machines on the platform if you do not have reserved seats. If you have a ticket with a reserved seat and car number, you do not need to validate your ticket. However, if you do not have a seat reservation, not validating your ticket could result in a fine. If you have an assigned seat, locate the correct train car (Carroze) and settle into your seat. The trains usually leave on time.
You can also take a SENA bus from Rome to Florence.
Seeing the Sights
Unlike Rome, Florence is a compact city, so you’ll probably find yourself walking rather than using the public transportation
system extensively. However, bus tickets can be purchased inside the station at any of the newsstands. A one-way, 90 minute ticket costs €1.20.
There’s lots to see in Florence, especially if you like art and architecture. Again, any good guidebook will provide full details on locations, hours, and ticket prices. We especially recommend the following:
It is also recommended that you make advance reservations when visiting Florence in May and June as there are many tourists and lines can be very long. There is a chance that there will be no tickets available after you’ve waited in line. To make a reservation you can either do so thru through the Museums of Florence website or by calling 011-39-055-294-883 from the US.
Eating in Florence
Florence is known for its hearty cuisine with fare such as ribolita
(bread stew), cinghale
(wild boar), bistecca alla fiorentina
(Florentine steak) and other dishes with beans and bread.
Some of the restaurants that we frequent in Florence are:
- Oesteria Santo Spirito located in Piazza Santo Spirito
- Oesteria del Gatto e la Volpe located on Via Ghibellina
- La Spada located on Via Tornabuoni
- Cantinetta di Verrazzano on Via Citille
But, be sure to leave room for gelato as Florence is the home of gelato.
Within Range of Florence
There’s much to see near Florence as well. You might consider the medieval and charming city of Siena
, Cinque Terra
, or Lucca
. All are within easy reach by train from Florence and trains operate frequently between these cities and Florence.
Returning to Rome
Returning to Rome from Florence is as easy as getting to Florence. Because lodging will not be available on Geneva College’s campus, you might need to find a place to stay before your return flight to the US. Accommodations abound near the Termini and, again, any good guidebook
or website will help you plan. Don't forget to check Tripadvisor.com
for ratings before you book.
Getting to the Rome Airport
Trains run twice an hour from the Termini
to Fiumicino Airport
. The train departs from platform 24. Tickets must be validated prior to boarding the train. Express buses
also make the trip. This bus costs €4 from Termini if you purchase the ticket online. You can also book a shuttle
. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport. We recommend that you leave central Rome about 3 hours before your flight is scheduled to depart.