Thursday, September 1, 2011

Florence: Day Trip from Rome

An unforgettable day trip to Florence in Tuscany can be arranged as part of a flexible Rome visit. By train: Trenitalia runs bullet trains (marketed as Eurostar AV) from Rome-Termini to Florence-Santa Maria Novella with fares about the same as the standard trains, but at half the time - only 1.5 hours. These high-speed routes are nonstop.

The main attractions of Florence can be grouped into just two walking sections. North Bank: Santa Maria Novella Station > Fortezza da Basso > The Accademia > The Duomo and Baptistry > Piazza della Repubblica > Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio > The Uffizi Gallery > Ponte Vecchio. South Bank: Ponte Vecchio > Pitti Palace > Boboli Gardens > Forte di Belvedere > Piazzale Michelangelo.

The Accademia (di Belle Arti Firenze) houses the original statue of The David and you may see "him" for an entrance fee; however, there are two smaller-scale copies you can enjoy for free - one just outside the Palazzo Vecchio and the other at the Piazzale Michelangelo, postcard-perfect view of Florence included.

Maps are free at any tourist kiosk or hotel desk. Any map is fine, but the handiest are the ones from the tourism office. For an official online version of the transport map, click here.

Main transit systems:
ATAF (bus)

Perhaps the two most useful ATAF lines for tourists are [12] and [13]. They connect Santa Maria Novella Station on the north bank with Piazzale Michelangelo on the south bank by crossing the Arno River.

ATAF Line 12 or 13:
Santa Maria Novella Station <> Piazzale Michelangelo

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