Urban transport in Florence is run by an efficient organisation called ATAF. They have a bus station alongside Santa Maria Novella railway station (to the left as you leave your train). This is a good first stop for the tourist, as you can pick up a free bus map at their information kiosk which shows all the bus routes in central Florence, along with a street index and ticket information.
If you are sightseeing in the centre of Florence you are unlikely to use the buses much – most of the tourist sights are within walking distance of each other. However, there will undoubtedly be times when a short bus trip will be a welcome way to rest tired legs, so it’s a good idea to buy a few single tickets on your arrival in Florence. Tickets should be bought before you board a bus, and validated in the machines on board. They can be purchased from bars and news-stands, and from the ATAF kiosk by the railway station.
Armed with the bus map, you will find the system easy to use. Bus stops display numbers and directions of services, and many are equipped with an electronic display to show you when the next services are due.
The narrow medieval streets at the heart of town are too small for normal buses. But a few ‘ecological’ bus lines serve these streets, and although the buses are tiny, they may be useful to tourists. Line A, for example, runs through the lanes south of the Duomo and links them with the railway station.
ATAF buses also run out to suburban areas of Florence, including the small hillside town of Fiesole (bus number 7), which is a popular destination for tourists.
To travel further afield, you will need to use one of the regional bus companies. See our Florence day trips page for more information.
Italian trade unions hold strikes with boring regularity. Those on public transport are usually announced in advance and the timings are negotiated on a town-by-town basis. They generally last four hours and the details should be publicised in newspapers and on the ATAF website. The Italian word for strike is sciopero.
City tours by bus
Bus tours of Florence are a good, though expensive, way to see the town. It’s not a substitute for walking, since you can’t squeeze a double-decker round the little medieval streets, but it is a good way to see the other parts of town. Sitting on the open top deck you’ll get good views and a good idea of Florence’s scale and geography. Buses even run up to Fiesole, for the best views of Florence. [more on Florence tours]
On this site
Useful external links