Public Transportation in Florence: How to Get Around Like a Local

Get around like a local when you take advantage of the robust public transportation in Florence when you hop on a bus, train, tram, e-bike, or scooter! While the best way to explore Florence is on your own two feet, using one of the many options of Florence public transportation is preferred to see more of the area, and save time and energy.

Florence skyline
Get the most out of your trip to Florence and take advantage of the many public transportation options the city offers. Photo credit: Jeff Ackley

If you’re unfamiliar with public transportation in your hometown, the thought of navigating it in a foreign country might be nerve-wracking. But worry not, thousands of locals and tourists alike utilize public transport in Florence every day. Keep reading for our complete guide to Florence public transportation so you can move with confidence in the heart of Tuscany.

Which Florence public transportation option should you use

Before downloading an app or figuring out where to buy your ticket, the first thing you should decide is which option of Florence public transport you want to use. For example, while electric scooters are super fun and efficient for getting around the city center, they would not be optimal for most day trips from Florence.

Starting with small inner city distances–let’s say from Palazzo Vecchio to Oltrarno to visit the Boboli gardens–an electric scooter or e-bike would be the option for you. Just strap on a helmet, power up your vehicle, zip through the streets to your destination, and park in a designated area.

For slightly longer inner city distances like from the Duomo to Piazzale Michelangelo, or for visiting some of the surrounding towns like Fiesole or Siena, the best option is taking a bus. If you’re going to or from the Florence airport, the Tram is by far the cheapest, quickest, and best option for you.

Tuscan town with ancient ruins in the foreground and more modern buildings in the background.
Buses are the ideal means of transportation to explore Florence’s surroundings such as beautiful Fiesole. Photo credit: magro_kr

If Florence is just one stop during your Italian vacation, you should plan to travel to other regions and cities by train. Hundreds of trains to Rome, Milan, Bologna, Venice and more depart the Florence Santa Maria Novella every day.

How to Use Public Transportation Systems in Florence

Now that you know which form of public transportation in Florence you should take, how do you go about using them? Keep reading as we break down each option and how to use Florence public transportation.

How to Use Bicycles & E-bikes in Florence

Navigate Florence like a local when you rent a bicycle or E-bike! For shorter-term bike rentals well-suited for commuting or a casual ride around, apps like RideMovi allow you to unlock and pay for manual bikes and e-bikes located around the city just using your smartphone. Make sure you park your bike in an approved parking hub when your ride is over.

For longer bicycle rentals, there are a number of businesses that offer day- or week-long options. Many also offer guided bike tours and will include other gear you might need like helmets and bike locks.

white bike in placa with old church
Bicycles are a great way to get around Florence. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

How to Use Electric Scooters in Florence

Zipping through the streets of Florence on an electric scooter is a fun way to see the city and save time walking. Electric scooter companies like Bird allow you to easily unlock, ride, and pay for scooter rentals around Florence, but you’ll need to bring your own helmet.

We recommend you plan your route in advance, as in pedestrian-only zones your scooter will automatically slow down. You’ll also need to return your scooter to an approved parking area before ending your ride.

How to Use Buses in Florence

For middle-distance adventures in Florence, taking a bus is the way to go. The free Moovit app is a lifesaver for figuring out which bus lines to take and provides live updates so you’ll know if your bus is running late.

Bus tickets start at €1.20 and should be purchased in advance from an authorized sales point like a tobacco shop. (Don’t ask us why, but Italians do a lot of business out of tobacco shops, or tabacchi.) Otherwise, it’s easy to buy a bus ticket from an automated kiosk outside the SMN train station, or look for the “Autolinee Toscane” sticker at coffee bars or newsstands.

Validate your bus ticket using the small machine on the bus, and then use your ticket as much as you want for the next 90 minutes! So if you took the bus up to Piazzale Michelangelo, you have time to take all your Instagram-worthy photos, have a drink and a snack at the bar up the hill, and then use the same ticket to get back to the city center.

tabacchi shop in florence
Florence is dotted with small tobacco shops where you can buy bus tickets. Photo credit: Howard Stanbury

How to Use Trams in Florence

The tram system in Florence is very new (construction was completed in 2014), and currently only has three lines. Most of the lines connect the city center and suburban areas and are mostly used by commuters. However, there is a line that runs right to the airport!

Tram tickets cost €1.50 and can be purchased using a kiosk directly on the platform. You can pay with cash or a card, but try to keep your cash input amount low or you might end up with a pocket full of heavy change! Once on the tram, validate your ticket using the little machine upon entry.

How to Use Trains in Florence

Trains in Italy are great for traveling long distances in comfort and style. Over 400 trains move through the Firenze Santa Maria Novella train station every day, and traveling by train is simple to figure out.

The cost of your train ticket depends on the distance to your destination and the line that you use. For example, you could ride to Milan for about €25-€75, Rome for €22-€50, or Lucca for €8-€10.

Italo and Trenitalia are the main train companies. They both have robust apps for finding train times and purchasing tickets, plus you can pay with a credit card or with PayPal before downloading your tickets to your smartphone immediately after purchasing. Alternatively, you can purchase your tickets online ahead of time and print them out. Or download and save the PDF you receive in the confirmation email.

If you don’t get your train tickets ahead of time, no worries! You can easily purchase a ticket on the day from a ticket agent or at an automated kiosk. Most kiosk machines only accept credit cards. If you purchase a ticket at the station, be sure to validate your paper ticket using one of the small machines on the platform before you board the train!

Firenze Santa Maria Novella
Firenze Santa Maria Novella train station is used by 59 million people every year. Photo credit: Pom

Local’s tip: If you miss your regional train, don’t worry! You can use your ticket for any train line of equal value at any time during the date on your ticket. So if you missed your regional train to Rome on September 4th at 2 pm, you can hop on the next one at 3 pm. If you miss an Intercity, Frecciarossa, or another train, see a ticket agent about changing your ticket.