Visiting Florence

Let our knowledgeable on-site staff help you plan your trip to Florence, Italy. Below we provide information on accommodations and hotels, eating and restaurants, and tourism, compiled by our on-site staff living in Florence. If you would like any more specific information, please reach out to us!

Getting to Florence

Most international travelers fly into Florence Peretola Airport (airport code: FLR), also known as Amerigo Vespucci Airport, located just outside the city. Visitors have two options for getting to the city center from FLR.

Taxi: The cost of a taxi from the Florence airport to the city center costs around €20 euro and €1 euro for each piece of luggage. The taxi stand is to the right just after exiting the airport.

Buses: The local ATAF bus named VolaInBus provides transportation from the Florence airport into the city. Tickets can be purchased from the driver for €6 one way (return tickets should be purchased at either a tabacchi or newsstand located throughout the city). The bus stop is located to the left, as you exit the airport near the taxi stop and departs every 30 minutes. The ride into the city takes about 20 minutes. The bus arrives at the Bus Italia Station adjacent to the Santa Maria Novella Train Station. For more information on bus timing see the ATAF website.

Five Stars

San Firenze Suites: Piazza San Firenze 3A. +39 055 285 009. This lovely hotel overlooks the historic Piazza San Firenze in the heart of the old city, and is adjacent to Piazza della Signoria and just a few steps from the Uffizi Gallery and other principal monuments of Florence.

Lungarno Hotels: Borgo San Jacopo 14. +39 055 27261. Located near the Ponte Vecchio in the heart of Florence, these spaces are modern, chic, and ideal for guests looking for truly luxurious accommodations.

Westin Excelsior: Piazza Ognissanti 3. +39 055 27151. This hotel was named on the Condé Nast Traveler Gold Lists, and is located on the Arno river very near Florence’s main museums, churches, and shopping areas.

Four Stars

Hotel Pierre: Via de’ Lamberti 5. +39 055 216218. Hotel Pierre is in the center of Forence, just a short distance from the Duomo, Piazza della Signoria and Ponte Vecchio.
SAI discount: Click on the drop down menu titled Promo or Corp Code. Type in the Corp Code SAIFLR16 and you will immediately receive the discount.

Hotel River: Lungarno della Zecca Vecchia 18. +39 055 2343529. The Hotel River is in a beautifully refurbished Florentine building with a traditional charm and all the modern comforts, including free wifi.
SAI discount: Email river@lhphotels.com and mention that you are a client of SAI Programs.

Hotel Cellai: Via 27 Aprile 14, 52/R. +39 055489291. Hotel Cellai is located in the San Lorenzo area in an intimate and charming atmosphere, with high quality comfort and traditional Tuscan hospitality.
SAI discount: For a quick 10% discount, book online through their website and put in the note box “10% discount Special University Rate – SAI Programs”. You might be able to get a better rate by emailing info@hotelcellai.it to inquire what “Special University Rate – SAI Programs” is available.

Hotel Athenaeum: Via Cavour, 88. +39 055589456. Located near Piazza San Marco and Piazza Libertà. The hotel offers 60 rooms, a conference room, a restaurant, a bar and a private garage.
SAI discount: Book online or by email and mention that you are with “SAI Programs” for a 10% discount.

Three Stars

Hotel Arizona: Via Luigi Carlo Farini 2. +39 055245321. Located in the Santa Croce/ Sant’Ambrogio area of Florence, Hotel Arizona is in a great location just at the edge of the of the commotion of the city center.
SAI discount: Type code “SaiPrograms” in the space labeled Cod.Offerta in the online booking.

Hotel Martelli: Via de’ Panzani, 8. +39 055 217151. Hotel Martelli is housed in an elegant, historic building which once belonged to Florentine nobles. Both the Cathedral and Firenze Santa Maria Novella Train Station are 200 meters away.

Hotel Perseo: Via Cerretani 1. +39 055 212504. Located very close to the Duomo, this small family run hotel offers travelers quiet, comfortable rooms decorated in a stylish contemporary design with many rooms that have fabulous views of the city.

Two Stars

Hotel Santa Croce: Via dei Bentaccordi, 3. +39 055 217000. Hotel Santa Croce is immersed in the marvelous historical center, right in the heart of the artistic, cultural and commercial life of the city.
SAI discount: Email info@hotelsantacroce.it and state that you are with “SAI School”.

Other Accommodations – B&B, Hostels, and Apartments

B&B A Teatro: Via G. Verdi, 12. +39 055 2638242. A Teatro B&B has a central location in Florence, opposite Teatro Verdi with comfortable rooms including air conditioning and come with a TV, minibar, and free Wi-Fi.
SAI discount: Email info@a-teatro.com and state that you are with “Università Americana SAI”.

Windows on Italy: +39 055 268510. Windows on Italy is an agency with 30 years of experience in renting villas and luxury apartments for tourism in Florence and some of the most beautiful Italian locations such as Tuscan countryside and seaside, Milan, Sorrento, Rome and Siena.
SAI discount: Email sales@windowsonitaly.com to reserve and receive a discount rather than booking directly online.

Plus Hostel: Via Santa Caterina d’Alessandria, 15. +39 055 462 8934. Located near Piazza della Indipendenza, this lively hostel offers basic rooms and mixed dorms that come with a free hot breakfast buffet.

Hostel Santa Monaca Firenze: Via S. Monaca 6. +39 055 268338. Located in the Oltrarno district, this hostel is located in a 15th-century convent, and offers mixed and female-only dorms with shared bathrooms.

Near SAI Office

Brac: Via dei Vagellai, 18. This is a library cafe dedicated to contemporary art, a space for contemplative thought and for the consumption of not only good food but for the consumption of art.

Osteria & Pizzeria del Caffè Italiano: Via Isola delle Stinche, 11r-13r. The restaurant serves upscale Tuscan food while the pizzeria, next door, serves typical Napoletana style pizza –only 3 types:  margherita, marinara, napoletana.

Dim Sum Restaurant: Via dei Neri, 37. Good dim sum and noodles. Make sure to get there early.

Duomo Neighborhood

Coquinarius: Via delle Oche, 11r. Great place for unique combinations of pasta and sauces,  big salads with options like bacon and avocado, as well as fresh and light “piatti unici” and good wine; ask for Igor or Niccola’.

Osteria Vini e Vecchi Sapori: Via dei Magazzini, 3. +39 055 293045. Family-owned and operated, serving typical Tuscan favorites made fresh daily by “mamma” (try the tiramisu with raspberry). Reservations are a must, so call ahead.

Sant’Ambrogio Neighborhood

Café and Trattoria Cibrèo: Via Andrea del Verrocchio. The trattoria is named after the famous cibreo, a typical stew from Florence that Caterina de Medici was said to enjoy so much that she even attempted unsuccessfully, to export it to France. The trattoria and café are less expensive than the restaurant, but all the food comes out of the same kitchen of famous chef, Fabio Picchi.

Ristorante La Giostra: Borgo Pinti, 18r. This restaurant takes pride in its Royal Lorraine heritage, and ensures the preservation of its traditions with the close attention to the quality and boldness of flavors found in Tuscan cuisine.

La Divina Pizza: via Borgo Allegri, 50r. Interesting combinations topping a sour dough crust, order small bites on a wooden platter to taste all they have to offer.

Santo Spirito (Oltrarno) Neighborhood

Osteria Santo Spirito: Piazza Santo Spirito, 16r. Situated in the very edgy area of Piazza Santo Spirito, this tavern creates a wide range of Italian dishes to satisfy your hunger and while deviating away from the typical pastas and pizzas.

Trattoria Casalinga: Via dei Michelozzi, 9r. Family run and locally loved, this busy unpretentious place is one of Florence’s cheapest trattorias.

4 Leoni: Via de’ Vellutini, 1r. Always a good choice from the “pietanze” is the gran fritto dell’ aia, made of fried chicken, rabbit and vegetables, straccetti all’aceto balsamico, fried brain, schienali and artichokes: all real delicacies for culinary lovers.

Il Santo Bevitore: Via di Santo Spirito, 64/66. The restaurant name translates to “the holy drinker” and the décor is a testament to this, with bottles from the 100 different wines on offer displayed around the dining room. With a range of seafood, handmade pastas and vegetarian dishes, Il Santo Bevitore is an exciting place for the passionate eater.

Florence is a quaint Italian city with all the movement and activity of city life and the tranquil pleasures of the Tuscan region. The historic center is divided into major neighborhoods: Santa Croce/ Sant’Ambrogio, San Lorenzo/ Duomo and Santo Spirito/Oltrarno. Each neighborhood has its own personality and offers a different experience in Florence.

Resources:

Rick Steve’s Audio Tour: Enjoy time in the city at your own pace with one of these podcasts which include a Renaissance Walk Tour, Accademia & Michaelangelo’s David, and Uffizi Gallery Tour.

Firenze Turismo: From hikes to museums, parks and more, this site is a great resource for fun activities in Florence and the surrounding area.

Visit Florence: Refer to this site for other suggestions and tips about planning your trip to Florence.

Tours:

Tuscany Bike Tours: Tuscany Bike Tours offers one day bike tours just south of Florence in the heart of the Chianti wine region.

In Tavola: In Tavola aims to spread the rich food and wine culinary traditions of Italy and the Tuscany region through an incredible variety of dishes and recipes to all interested in learning the secrets behind the traditional Italian kitchen.

Palazzo Vecchio: Palazzo della Signoria, better known as Palazzo Vecchio, has been the symbol of the civic power of  Florence for over seven centuries.

Tickets & Passes:

All state run museums in Florence are free the first Sunday of every month. The museums can be a bit crowded on these days, so plan accordingly for large groups or long entrance lines.

Polomuseale Fiorentino: Book your tickets for all state run museums.

Museo Del Duomo: Visit the Museo del Duomo and all the great monuments in Florence such as the Cathedral, Duomo, Baptistry, Bell Tower, and Crypt.

Firenze Card: Firenzecard is the official museum pass of the city of Florence. It costs €72, it is valid for 72 hours starting from the first entrance and it allows you to enter only once into all the museums of the Circuit and to visit permanent collections and temporary exhibitions.

Transportation:

The best way to get around Florence is by foot. There are also other convenient options for moving around and some options for traveling outside of Florence.

Taxi: phone: +39 055 4390 or +39 055 4242. You can find taxi stands located around the city and in major squares indicated by orange signs. Call either of the phone numbers above to call a taxi to a specific address or location.

Bus: Local buses are another option for getting around the city. Tickets can be purchased at any Tabacchi shop, cost €1.20 and are valid for 90 minutes.

Train: Follow the links above to book tickets for either the Private (Italotreno) or state-run (Trenitalia) train companies, to nearby towns or other Italian cities.

Private Car: If you are looking for private transportation outside of Florence for an excursion, or to the Pisa airport, SAI recommends using a private car run by Gioia Gualtieri. She can take guests in a sedan or minivan of 8 people plus driver to explore Tuscany. Call +39 333 1199993 or email giogua@icloud.com for a quote and to set it up.

About SAI

SAI is dedicated to providing academic and cultural learning experiences abroad that enhance global awareness, professional development and social responsibility. We concentrate our programs in Europe, with a focus on in-depth learning of individual European countries and their unique global role in the geopolitical economy, humanities, and in the arts.