You may be familiar with the French term, Renaissance, meaning “rebirth,” which signifies an era in European literature, art and culture during the 15th and 16th centuries.Read More →
Pinocchio was written by Carlo Lorenzini (pen-name Collodi), a Florence native. The book was published between 1881 and 1883.
Italy is on Central European Time (CET) during most of the year, and Central European Summer Time (CET+1) during daylight savings time/the summer.
Italy is part of the Schengen Agreement, meaning that entering Italy from most other parts of the EU is pretty easy. There are no border checkpoints or customs. Document and customs checks remain standard if arriving from (or departing to) a non-Schengen country.
If you are an EU or Swiss citizen, you can travel to Italy with your national identity card alone. All other nationalities need a valid passport. Visas are not generally required if you are staying less than 90 days (or at all for EU citizens), for citizens of countries including, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland and the USA.
If you are entering Italy for more than 90 days or for any reason other than tourism (such as study or work) you may need a specific visa. See vistoperitalia.esteri.it or contact an Italian consulate for details.
Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your departure date from Italy.
Even though Florence is a small city, don’t be alone at night and use your street smarts! Although it’s considerably a safe city, don’t wander around the Santa Maria Novella area alone during late hours. Watch out for pickpockets.
In an emergency situation, dial 112 for the police, or 113 for a general emergency.
Florence is simply one of those places that’s lovely to visit pretty much all year round. Although July and August are extremely hot, meanwhile November through March can be on the colder side. The most popular months span from May through October. But if you REALLY want to save some cash, don’t go during summer time when prices are high. Spring and autumn are the best time for less tourists and cheaper accommodations.
Italian is the main language of Italy, although many Italians also understand and speak English well, especially in restaurants, shops, and hotels in large cities. Here are a few words to get you through a trip.
Hello/Goodbye = Ciao (informal)
Good morning/Hello = Buongiorno
Good afternoon/Good evening = Buonasera
Goodbye = Arriverderci
Goodnight = Buonanotte
Yes = Sì
No = No
Please = Per favore
Thank you = Grazie (grah-tsee-eh)
You’re welcome = Prego
I’m sorry = Mi dispiace
Excuse me/I’m sorry = Scusa
Do you speak English? = Parla inglese?
I don’t speak Italian = Non parlo italiano
Although Florence is considered Italy’s new cool, here are 3 things to be polite about:
- Inside museums, especially Uffizi and Galleria dell’Accademia, selfie sticks are banned.
- When entering a church, if you see a mass, don’t interrupt the service.
- Also, an espresso bar isn’t made for you to read a book. Drink up and get up!
Italy uses Euros (€) as their currency. You’ll be able to find ATMs everywhere throughout the country. Most places will accept credit cards but prefer you pay with cash. They also don’t like splitting the bill with multiple cards so keep that in mind if you’re with a group.
Tipping! It’s not necessary, as many places have a service charge already included in the bill.
Like the rest of Europe, Italy uses one of the two European standard electrical socket types, with voltage of 220-240 Volts (U.S./Canada are 110-120 Volts.) Your converter should look like this:
Tap water is safe to drink in Florence, and definitely utilize the water fountain behind Fountain of Neptune in Piazza della Signoria if you’re looking for a good spot to fill up your water bottle to save some plastics!
In Florence, there’s “Firenze WiFi” which allows locals and travelers to use internet for free up to 2 hours a day! No need to sign in, it’s a pretty sweet service provided by the municipality of Florence.
Uber is only in beta right now in Florence, while Black Car Uber option is available. Uber is currently only in Rome and Milan, and it has caused immense strain between the city council and the ride-sharing company. Instead, you can use IT Taxi App.
From the airport to your hotel or the city center, the fixed price is 22€, and you can pay in cash or credit cards.
Don’t flag down taxis in Italy, just head to a taxi station where you’ll see a line of taxis waiting around most public squares or parking lots. You can also call these taxi numbers: 055.4242 / 055.4390 / 055.4798 / 055.4499.
The culture capital of Italy may not have a huge gay nightlife scene like Milan, but the LGBTQ community is quite strong in Florence. Here are some events to look out for:
Florence Queer Festival – the international film and arts fest is annually held in October. There are exhibitions, film showings, tons of events and parties to check out. Altri Passi is an informal group in the LGBTQ community who tour together to discover local culture, nature, food, and much more. Toscana Pride happens every year in June and July that invites 10,000 participants.