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G E T T I N G TO K N OW F L O R E N C E to a parking lot. Ask your hotel which is most convenient: Special rates are available through most of the hotels and their nearest lot. 45) per hour; many lots offer a daily rate of 15€ to 30€ ($17–$35). However, it is difficult to find spots, and they often keep weird hours, so your best bet is one of the city-run garages, which are also less pricey. 80 per hour) is closer to the city center, the best deal if you’re staying the night (better than most hotels’ garage rates) is at the Parterre parking lot under Piazza Libertà, north of Fortezza del Basso.

Note that some trains stop at the outlying Stazione Campo di Marte or Stazione Rifredi, both of which are worth avoiding. , departures aren’t always frequent and taxi service is erratic and expensive. BY BUS Because Florence is such a well-connected train hub, there’s little reason to take the longer, less comfortable intercity coaches. ). Most bus stations are near the train station. BY CAR The A1 autostrada runs north from Rome past Arezzo to Florence and continues to Bologna. The A11 connects Florence with Lucca, and unnumbered superhighways run to Siena and Pisa.

It’s a well-polished part of the tourist zone but still retains the narrow medieval streets where Dante grew up— back alleys where tour-bus crowds running from the Uffizi to the Accademia rarely set foot. The few blocks just north of the Ponte Vecchio have good shopping, but unappealing modern buildings were planted here to replace the district destroyed during World War II (a Nazi commander with a Romantic soul couldn’t bring himself to blow up the Ponte Vecchio during the German army’s retreat, as they had every other bridge over the Arno, so he blew up the buildings at either end of it to impede the progress of Allied tanks pushing north).

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