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Florence: 7 Things Travelers Need To Know Before Visiting

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Florence is a treasure trove of discovery. The city boasts an impressive amount of world-renowned artwork, incredible ancient architecture, and delectable local cuisine. In addition, Florence has an undeniable charm that has delighted visitors for ages.

Florence is compact, making it easy to navigate on foot, and there is something incredible to see (and eat) around every corner.

A out old windows onto Florence Italy landmarks

But before setting off to Florence, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. In this post, we'll cover everything you need to know about traveling to Florence, including:

  • What are the costs for travelers?
  • Things to know about culture and etiquette
  • What are the top attractions?
  • How safe is it?
  • Local food and drinks
  • How good is the WiFi?
  • How long can you stay?

Ready? Here are the top 7 things you need to know before visiting Florence:

The Florence Skyline

Did you know…  Florence’s magnificent cathedral, or Duomo, is one of the city’s top tourist attractions, and for good reason. Construction on the building began in the late 13th century and was completed nearly 200 years later. The dome that tops the cathedral was designed by famous Renaissance architect Filippo Brunelleschi and remains the world’s largest brick dome. Entry to the Duomo is free, however, tickets must be purchased to climb the dome and to visit the bell tower and museum.

1) Florence Affordability

Rating: 2 out of 5.

The currency in Florence is the Euro, or EUR. The current exchange rate is €1 EUR = $1.08 USD and $1 USD = €0.93.

Here are the average costs for travelers in USD:

Accommodation

Accommodation in Florence fluctuates quite a bit with the seasons, so if you can’t afford these peak summer rates, consider traveling during the off-season.

  • Average hotel price: One night at a 3-star hotel typically costs around $310, or $430 for a 4-star hotel.
  • Luxury 5-star hotels: Florence has some great 5-star hotels which can cost about $800 per night. If you really want to indulge, ultra-luxury hotels like the gorgeous St. Regis Florence where Premium rooms start at $2,300 per night.
  • If you're on a budget: Florence’s hostels range from $35-60 for a bed in a dorm during peak travel times, or around $90 – $175 per night for a private room.

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Public Square In Florence, Tuscany, Italy

Food

  • A 3-course meal at a mid-range restaurant for two costs around $70.
  • For a cheap meal at an inexpensive restaurant, expect to pay less than $20.
  • A beer costs about $5.50, while a cappuccino is a steal at $1.75.

Transportation

  • The most convenient and affordable way to navigate Florence is on foot. The city is compact enough that the top sites are easily reachable by walking.
  • Public transportation in Florence consists of a reliable bus network called the Autolinee Toscane. 90-minute tickets are available for $1.64.
  • Florence is flat enough that cycling is a good option. Traditional bikes can be rented for around $15 per day or you can rent an e-bike for around $40 per day.  
  • If you need to take a taxi while in Florence, expect to pay about $4 plus an additional $2.20 per mile.
  • Car rentals are available for about $75 – $125 per day during peak season if you plan on exploring the surrounding region by car.
A quiet street in Florence Italy

2) Culture And Etiquette In Florence

Check this list before your trip! Here are some of the major Dos and Don’ts in Florence.

  • DO book in advance: To avoid disappointment (and to avoid long hot lines), book tickets for the attractions you want to see well in advance.
  • DON’T expect to eat early: Italians dine later than Americans, so expect to eat dinner anytime after 8 pm.  
  • DO carry cash: While most businesses in Florence accept cards, there are some holdouts. Carry cash to avoid high ATM fees and for leaving tips.
  • DON’T be disrespectful: When visiting churches silence your phone, speak in a quiet voice, and do not disturb people who are praying. It is also a good idea to dress modestly when visiting a church, and never bring food inside.
  • DO leave a tip: leave a few extra euros or include a tip of around 10% at restaurants and cafes.
Italian Coffee With Blurred Florence Dome In The Background, Italy

3) Top Attractions in Florence

Florence is full of incredible things to see, do, and eat. Here are a few of the top things you can’t miss while visiting the city:

  • Duomo – A UNESCO World Heritage Site in Florence’s historic center. Visitors can explore the iconic cathedral and even climb the 463 steps to the enormous dome which tops the building. The views from the top are spectacular.
  • Ponte Vecchio – The Ponte Vecchio bridge, which was built in 1345, is the only surviving historic bridge that crosses the Arno River. The bridge is closed to vehicles and lined with small shops making for a nice place for a stroll.
  • Boboli Gardens – Beautifully designed and landscaped gardens act as an open-air museum. The grounds are dotted with ancient marble statues, ancient trees, and water fountains and are a great escape from the city streets.
A woman sits on a ledge overlooking the Ponte Vecchio Bridge in Florence Italy

4) How Safe Is It For Tourists?

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Florence is a safe place to visit. However, there are still some things that travelers should keep in mind to stay safe during their visit:

  • Be aware of thieves: pickpocketing and petty theft is the most common crime that tourists encounter in Florence. Be on high alert in crowded areas and tourist attractions like the Piazza del Duomo and Ponte Vecchio.
  • Buy tickets from the source: Some tourists have reported that they have unknowingly purchased fake “skip-the-line” tickets for top attractions. Avoid being scammed and always purchase tickets directly from the source.
  • Know how to call for help: Emergency services can be reached by calling 113.
  • DO get travel insurance: Travel insurance can help in health emergencies as well as with covering the costs of any travel mishaps during your Florence trip. For 5 great options, read more here.
a crowd of tourists stands in front of the David statue in Florence Italy

5) Local Eats And Drinks

One of the best parts of travel is checking out the local cuisine, and Florence is a fantastic place to try new foods. In fact, the city is frequently recognized as one of the best food destinations. Don't let yourself leave without trying at least one of the following:

Food

Italians take their food very seriously, and Florence has many classic dishes to try, so be sure to try some of these traditional favorites.

  • Florentine steak – 2-inch thick bone-in steak grilled over a flame and then salted.
  • Trippa– Strips of tripe (bits from a cattle’s stomach) sauteed with tomato, onion, carrot, and celery eaten as a dish or served inside a sandwich.
  • Seppie in zimino – octopus simmered with spinach, herbs, onions, and tomato sauce, typically served with toasted bread
  • Zuppa di Fagioli – white bean soup full of vegetables and pasta
many people sit outdoors under shade along the street to eat in Florence Italy

Drinks

  • Wine – Florence is one of the best places to sample local wines – Chianti and Brunello are two popular varieties that are produced in the region.
  • Negroni – a bitter cocktail made with equal parts of red vermouth, Campari, and gin served with a slice of orange
  • Cappuccino – the most popular morning drink in Florence is a cappuccino, and it tastes better if you stand at the bar with the locals while you drink it

6) How's the WiFi?

Using Ookla, an internet speed testing service, the average internet speeds in Florence for March 2023 were 37.44mbps download and 11.18mbps upload.

statues and fountains in the green Boboli Gardens Florence

7) How Long Can I Stay?

Americans traveling to Italy can stay for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without needing a visa. Passports need to have at least three months of validity past the date of your departure.

Visitors who arrive from a Schengen country must obtain a declaration of presence form from their hotel or local police station and submit it to police within eight days of arriving.

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Warren Trout

Friday 19th of May 2023

Don't forget to validate your metro ticket. They love to fine tourists on the street car from the airport