Useful tips about using the public transport around Florence.
Florence is relatively small city so you don’t need to stress about getting to know the public transport. Everything is at walking distance and all the city museums are easy to reach by a foot.
Using a car around the historical center of the city is not advisable due to city regulations and restrictions. To give you a more detailed picture – most of the streets are one- way, many of them are pedestrian and it is almost impossible to park.
An exception are the parking garages situated in the center which often come handy for those tourists who did not do their homework 🙂 but please note they are also limited in capacity. More about this in our post Moving around Florence by Car.
You will be amazed how many museums are there to visit and how easy it is to get tired of walking.
If this is the case, don’t worry there is always a way out.
To the rescue come ATAF and LI-NEA, Florence’s public transport bus network.
This is how the bus stops are marked.
The picture on the right shows the screen that help us with information about which bus stops on the specific bus stop and it also tells us how long we need to wait.
The image on the left shows us a more detailed information about the timetable of each bus.
There are 3 different colors that correspond to specific days of the week. The top row shows the timetable of weekdays.
The green row shows the schedule during the weekend and the yellow one shows us the way buses move around on celebration days.
The following images show how the small 100% electric buses that operate around the historical center of the city look like.
There are 4 main bus routes. C1, C2, C3 and C4.
This map shows precisely the routes for those 4 main buses. It makes it much more easier to plan your day 🙂
You can find the map with all the buses in Florence here.
Now, let us tell you more about the tickets
There are various places to purchase them: bars/cafes, tobacconists- Tabbacheria, newsagents: anyone with “ATAF” stickers on their shop windows. They can also be purchased from the ATAF booth within the Santa Maria Novella (SMN) train station.
!IMPORTANT, Please be sure to buy you ticket before you get on any public transport in Florence. The drivers sell tickets but on higher prize and there is also a big chance that the driver doesn’t even have tickets, so BE PREPARED and get your ticket before you get on the bus. Please, pay attention that the drivers do not give change and their priority is ataf schedule and safety. Also, during control operations, tickets sale on board is suspended.
Once you get on the vehicle you are supposed to immediately validate your ticket. The conductors are not always there to check the passengers but when they are, they are very strict about it. They move constantly from one bus to another, so if there is nobody to check you now, it is highly possible they will get on the bus the very next stop and check you, so don’t risk. To avoid unpleasant situations and fees, just travel with your ticket validated :). A fine or penalty can be anything from 40 euros up to 240 euros depending if paid on the spot or mailed later.
There are different ticket options depending on your needs. Once you validate your ticket with time and date, it is valid for 90 minutes and you can hop on and off as many times as you want.
A ticket costs 1.50 euro if you buy it before you get on the bus.
2.5 euros on the bus.
1.80 euros with sms to: 4880105 with text “ATAF”.
!PLEASE NOTE there is also a tricky part here, because you are supposed to send the sms before you even get on the bus. Once you send the message you will get a response message and this will actually be your ticket.
! NOT SURE IF IN 2019 THIS IS STILL VALID, SO PLEASE ASK There is also a 4 ride ticket which costs 4.70 and YES- it can be used as group ticket BUT PLEASE make sure you validate it as many times as the number of the passengers traveling with it. So if you are a group of 3 people, you should validate 3 times the ticket. (look carefully there should be 4 places for validation, 2 on one side opposing directions and 2 on the other side of the ticket)
There is also a 24 hours ticket. It costs 5 euro.
Ataf tickets allow you to travel on all their bus routes as well as the tramway. Just be careful and always remember the time validity of your ticket.
Interesting fact, within the area of Florence municipality you can use the ataf tickets on Trenitalia trains. ( 2nd class only). The train stations included in the Florence area are: Rovezzano-Campo di Marte- Statuto- Santa Maria Novella- Rifredi- Castello- Porta al Prato- Le Piagge- San Marco Vecchio- Le Cure.
There is also an alternative way to travel unlimited for 72 hours and it comes with purchasing Firenze Card. The card gives you access to a wide range of museums but it also comes handy when traveling around Florence with ATAF. Once you have the card you need to get a specific ticket from ATAF and as you can imagine you have to validate it with your first ride. It will be valid for the next 72 hours, but remember you need to have your Firenze Card with you.
If you need more specific information, feel free to check ATAF website ww.ataf.net which has maps and schedules for the buses. They also have an app for your convenience.
You can also call them on their hotline 800 424500 or visit their booth situated in Santa Maria Novella Train Station or one of their other locations: CRAL, Via Alamanni SMN , window 8-9 (Monday to Saturday 7am- 7:30 pm), CRAL Via Pratese 103 (Monday to Friday 9am- 2 pm), CRAL Via Pacinotti 1A, (Monday to Friday 9am- 1:30 pm, 2.30pm- 5.30pm), AUTOST. BUSITALIA- SITA Via Caterina da Siena 17 (Monday to Sunday 5:40am- 8.30 pm)
So, in conclusion ATAF is Florence’s main urban carrier and it pretty much covers the whole city, specially the historical center.
Also, if you are willing to check the green areas close by Florence like Fiesole, ATAF bus number 7 will bring you there. It runs every half and hour until midnight which gives you the chance to enjoy a beautiful sunset over Florence, have a lovely dinner and come back safe. The bus line starts from Piazza San Marco and the bus ride is about 20 minutes.
If you want to expand your horizon even more and explore the beauty of Tuscany check out our post about Travel around Tuscany
Images by © T. Raycheva