Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. A center of medieval European trade and finance, Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance. The city’s attractive and walkable historic center was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982 and showcases Renaissance palaces, beautiful bridges, and the domed cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. From Michelangelo’s iconic David to the delicate paintings of Botticelli, Florence is also home to some of the world’s finest art.
Blocks of rooms with discounted rates have been reserved by the Firenze Convention Bureau; those rates are valid only through 18 January 2015 and must be booked through their official system. Registration for the event is required to get the access code, which will be provided in the registration confirmation email. For more information, visit Plan Your Stay.
Florence’s position in a river basin, walled in by hills to the south and the foothills of the Apennines to the north, largely determines its climate. Temperature in the city rises slowly and stands at 18°C in April and around mid twenties in May. The period, especially April to May, is the most perfect time to visit Florence.
Italian is the primary language spoken in Florence and the Tuscany Region.
In the hotels and shops English is usually the second language spoken.
For more information check the Italian foreign ministry website: http://www.esteri.it Section: Entry Visa.
If you plan to attend the conference, please consider making your visa or other travel documentation applications early, as the process can take weeks to months in some cases.
Florence’s international airport Amerigo Vespucci, (Tel. +39.055.30615 +39.055.30615; www.aeroporto.firenze.it), is located in the northwest suburban area of Florence, only 4 km from the city centre, which can be easily reached by taxi or with the Ataf/Sita “Vola in Bus” shuttle service (around 15-20 minutes), connecting the airport to the main central railway station of Santa Maria Novella.
Pisa International airport (Tel. +39.050.849300, www.pisa-airport.com) is located 80 km from the city centre of Florence and is connected to the Tuscan capital by train (every hour) and Terravision bus (www.terravision.eu).
Bologna International Airport (Tel. +39.051.6479615, www.bologna-airport.it), after the upgrading of the railway line "Freccia Rossa,” is just 35 minutes from Florence (main central railway station of Santa Maria Novella).
Transportation in town is not needed because everything is within walking distance.
Taxi: Taxi can be called by phone or can be caught directly from the reserved taxi points, located in various parts of the city center and in other suburban areas. Information: RADIO TAXI CO.TA.FI Tel. +39 0554390; +39 0554499; RADIO TAXI SO.CO.TA.: Tel. +39 055 4242; +39 055 4798.
Bus: The public transportation network (ATAF - 800 42 45 00, free call only from Italy; www.ataf.net) connects the city center to the suburban area with over 100 urban and extra-urban lines. The tramway Line 1 is also active.
Most businesses have the following opening hours:
Mon 15:30 - 20:00
Tues - Sat 09.30 or 10:00 - 13:00 and 16:00 - 20:00 (17:30 on Sat)
Some shops are also open on Sundays, but most small shop will be closed.
All banks and most shops are closed on National Holidays (such as 25 April).
In Italy, as in most of Western Europe, the official currency is the Euro (€). Money can be exchanged in banks, at post offices or in currency exchange booths (bureaux de change); post offices and banks tend to offer the best rates.
Automated Teller Machines (ATM, in Italy known as Bancomat), are common and available in all the city center, but they may have a service fee.
Visa, MasterCard and American Express are all widely accepted in Florence for most things including shopping, restaurants, and hotel bills.
Tipping in restaurants is usually included in service charges (included in the bill, about 1 € a person); if there is no service charge, the customer might consider leaving a 10% tip. In bars, Italians often leave any small change as a tip (only five or 10 cents). Tipping taxi drivers is not common practice; for other services, such as porters and bellhops, it is at the discretion of the customer (it is common especially for porter at higher-class hotels).
The electrical current in Italy is 220 volts, 50 cycles alternating current (AC); continental-type plugs that have two round prongs are needed. With 110-volt devices a voltage converter is needed, unless the appliance is designed to also work with 220 volts electricity (dual voltage). A voltage converter may not be easy to find, so it is recommended to get one before coming to Italy.
Smoking is banned in enclosed public spaces, which includes restaurants, bars, shops and public transport. A few restaurants or bars have a separate smoking area with continuous floor-to-ceiling walls and a ventilation system.
A value-added tax (Imposta di Valore Aggiunto or IVA; VAT in English) of up to 22% applies to just about everything in Italy. Tourists who are resident outside the EU may claim a refund on this tax, presenting the claim to the their Tax authorities, which will forward it to the Italian “Agenzia delle Entrate.”
For more information check http://www1.agenziaentrate.gov.it - Section: International taxation - Vat refunds.
There are visitor centers at the Florence airport, Amerigo Vespucci; at Santa Maria Novella Railway Station; and in downtown Florence.