you come by car, or rent a car on arrival at an airport other than the one
in Florence (see below), Florence can be reached from north (Milan-Bologna)
and south (Naples-Rome) via the main Italian highway, A1 (Autostrada del
Sole). From west, highway A11 (Autostrada Firenze-mare) from the western
Tyrrhenian coast may also be used (e.g., people coming from the France-Italy
borders through Genova can use highway A13 and take A11 to Florence once in Viareggio).
Although the conference site is in the southern part of Florence (see the Oltrarno Meeting Centre
website http://www.calza.it), if you are
arriving from north or from west WE DO NOT ADVICE to bypass the city using
highway A1 and finally exit at Firenze Certosa or Firenze Sud: presently,
important works are being performed on this highway section to improve and
enlarge it, and you are very likely to find heavy traffic jams. It may be
better to exit at Firenze nord and proceed through
the town (although we canít guarantee that you will not find jams in
downtown as well!). Of course, if you are instead arriving from south, the
best is indeed just to exit from A1 at Firenze Certosa, as indicated on the
website of the Conference Centre.
Once you have reached the conference site, you can profit of the relatively
large parking facility which is located just aside. The Meeting Centre has
negotiated very good preferential prices for this parking, either on a daily
base or weekly. Although this can be obtained also on site, it is
recommended that you inform us in advance if you wish to exploit this
possibility, so that we can provide you with the necessary specific
Florence is well connected with Rome and Milan by very frequent fast
trains (called Eurostar, ES). The frequency is at least one train per hour
(or even more with Rome). Although Florence is roughly at the same
distance from Rome and Milan (about 320 Km) the travel time is different: to/from Rome it is approximately 1
hour and 35 minutes; to/from Milan 2 hours and 45 minutes. The cost instead is the same: a Rome-Florence or
Milan-Florence trip (one way) is 47 Euros first class, 33 Euros second
class. Several other trains (Intercity, IC) are available, a bit slower but
cheaper. There are very good connections also to/from Venice-Padua (through Bologna), to/from Naples(through Rome).
Night trains to/from Switzerland, Germany, France, Austria are also available.
The official website of Italian Railways (Trenitalia) is http://www.trenitalia.com.
You can check timetables there.
main railway station in Florence
is Santa Maria Novella, SMN. Most of the ES and IC trains stop there but
please check because some of them (and especially the night trains) might
stop in Firenze Campo di Marte (CM) or Firenze Rifredi, two minor stations. Santa
Maria Novella is just in the centre of Florence,
and is well served by frequent city buses; three of the lines (11, 36, 37)
directly lead you just in front of the door of the Oltrarno Meeting Centre
(the conference venue). The other two railway stations are a bit less
central, but still well in the city; however, they are not as well served by
city buses as is SMN.
Florence airport (called
Amerigo Vespucci, or also Peretola airport [from the name of the site where
it is located]) is very close to the city centre (some 8 Km). It is
connected daily by many international flights to/from Paris CDG, Munich,
Frankfurt, London Gatwick, Amsterdam, Bruxelles, Barcelona, Madrid, Vienna,
Geneva, besides some flights per week to/from other European cities (Budapest,
Copenhagen, Goteborg, Oslo, Prague, Stuttgart, Tirana). Domestic flights are
also available to/from Rome FCO, Milan Malpensa, Palermo, Catania, Cagliari. The official
website of the Florence airport is http://www.aeroporto.firenze.it/EN/index.php
A bus shuttle connects Florence airport to
downtown (railway station SMN) every 30 minutes. The ticket (4.50 Euros) can
be purchased on board from the driver. Travel time is approximately
25/30 minutes (depending on traffic). Taxis from airport to downtown are
obviously also available. The cost is approximately 15/20 Euros and it may
take from 15 to 30 minutes to reach downtown.
The problem with flights directly to/from Florence may be that they are
standard flights (no low-cost company serves Florence) and therefore normally
not particularly cheap (please check however, you can find cheap flights
also to Florence!).
An alternative can be then to use the Pisa airport, which is served
also by low-cost companies. (http://www.pisa-airport.com/index.php).
Pisa is a larger airport with
many international connections, including one (from June 2007) to/from New York. Pisa is only about 80 Km from Florence and is connected to
Florence by trains (some of them
also directly from the airport) and frequent buses (Terravision). If you
rent a car, there is a no-toll highway directly from the Pisa airport to Florence. Typical trip duration
from Pisa to Florence is one hour or something
more (train, bus or car). Of course, by bus or car you may be slowed by
traffic (especially on Sunday afternoon-evening).
Another alternative that you might consider is to reach Florence through the Bologna airport (http://www.bologna-airport.it/?LN=UK),
also served by low-cost companies. Bologna is not far from Florence (about
100 Km), and the train connections with Florence are excellent (ES trains
both from Milan and all the other northern cities like Venice or Bolzano
stop in Bologna, so that you have more than 1 train per hour to Florence).
However, in order to take the train you have to reach the central railway
station in downtown and this implies a bus ride from the airport
(approximately half an hour). If you rent a car, instead, the airport is
just close to highway A1 leading you to Florence in little more than 1
hour (traffic permitting).
City transportation in
buses and taxis are available (no underground, no tram).
The bus companyís name is ATAF, web site http://www.ataf.net/: you can
get and download detailed information there. Tickets must be purchased in
advance at bars or newspaper kiosks (1.20 Euros) and stamped on first
boarding. You are allowed to travel for 70 minutes from first boarding, and
can change bus at will during this lapse of time. 1-day tickets are
available (5 Euros), as well as multi-day passes. Check conditions on the
website above. The conference venue is served by frequent buses from the
railway station (bus 11, approximate frequency 1 every ten minutes, stops
just in front of the door; also available are buses 36, 37 (same bus stop of
n.11) and 12 (bus stop at 100 meters from the Meeting centre).
Taxis are easily available by phone call, or at specific locations (of
course, at railway stations, airport and other relevant sites), or by making
a sign when seeing them. The service is reasonably good, although not very
cheap: the cost of a taxi ride within the city is typically around 10 Euros
(maybe something more by night and on Sundays). A taxi ride to/from the
airport may be 15/20 Euros.