Short trip to Florence --questions


Hi all,

I discovered this site trying to plan a 3 days trip to Florence as a birthday gift. I am very happy with having discovered it, as it has a wealth of information, from the must-see to the best gelato:)

Here are my questions so far:

1) Starting at the airport: can I buy the Volainbus tickets there? Logic says it should be possible, but no information on the ATAF site backs it up.

2) Would the FirenzeCard & FirenzeCard+ be a good idea or would it be too much to spend? I plan to use it for visiting
*San Lorenzo church (Medici Chapel included, so it's not free)
*Santa Croce Church
*Bargello Museum
*Santa Maria Novella church (not in my plans before reading about it on this very site ;) )

Could I do all this in a day without the card? I'll be there in July, so I expect the lines to be long. Besides, there are time restrictions due to the opening hours of points on my list: for example, while San Lorenzo is open until 18.00, the Medici Chapel is open only until 13.50 (although the schedule I found is from 2014, so, in reality, I am not sure).

4) a) Also, yes, I want to see the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral (where entrance is free) but I absolutely want to see as well the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo and the Baptistery (outside and inside). Same question: Could I do this in a few hours without the card?

b) Different question: I know a 15 euro ticket (for the whole complex) is valid for 48 hours,
but why does the Dome have different opening hours than the cathedral? Is is just for climbing?

3) Is it even possible to see the Treasury inside the San Lorenzo church? The FirenzeCard seems to grant access, but other information I found online stated it is only possible as part of a tour, not on your own.

4) Are there audio guides for the destinations I listed? How about for the Uffizzi gallery and the Accademia? Is there a way to find out what languages of the audio guides before coming there? The reason I'm asking is two-fold: first, the recipient of this gift undestands only French; second, buying a ticket online and an audio guide once I'm there would probably make more sense economically than what I have in mind now (a guided tour). Guides are important, as we both love to learn, but an audio guide might just be enough.

Finally, anyone who wants to comment on my itinerary plan (up to now) is welcome to do so. Here it is:

Sunday evening (arrival): check-in and Dome Museum (open till 21.00). Gelateria Grom.

early morning: Baptistry &Bell Tower (how long would you suggest?)
morning: San Lorenzo (& the Medici Chapel) 2-3 hours (too much time? too little?)
early lunch: San Lorenzo market (I am not interested in shopping at all, just eating)
early afternoon: Santa Maria Novella
late afternoon: Santa Croce (open until 20.00)
gelato: gelateria Neri (because they have soy milk options)

Tuesday: whole day; Palazzo Vecchio & Palazzo Pitti guided tour (including the Vasari corridor and the gardens). Coming back to the city center: Piazza della Signoria & Piazza della Republica. Gelateria Perche No!

Wednesday: whole day; Uffizzi Galery, Dome (Cathedral) and Accademia Galery guided tour.

Anything we should absolutely see and I missed? We are only interested in the cultural aspects. Any suggestions of places to eat? (My companion eats vegan, I don't, but I'm not daring enough to eat such things as the cow's stomach)

Thank you. I'll come back if I have more questions.


Well-known member
Bus to Florence


as for the bus it actually is not ATAF but the Autostrada that provides the shuttle back and forth and yes you can buy the ticket on the bus for 6 Euros. It runs on the hour (ie 12 noon, 1 pm, 2pm etc.)

It is a 10-15 min ride (unless there is traffic) and it leaves you right in front of the train station (SMN)

You can also take the taxi (about 25 Euros) and have it leave you directly at your hotel/accommodations.

On Tuesday: (Palazzo Vecchio & Palazzo Pitti guided tour (including the Vasari corridor and the gardens). Coming back to the city center: Piazza della Signoria & Piazza della Republica. Gelateria Perche No!)

Palazzo Vecchio is located IN Piazza della Signoria - so if you get to the square a bit early you can actually enjoy it without tons of people everywhere. If you do the Vasari Corridor the you will also be able to include a walk over and on the Ponte Vecchio on this day because it is what connects the two sides - however normally the Vasari Corridor is connected to the Uffizi Museum? You said you have a guided tour - so I immagine you have someone organizing for you?

If not - then I suggest that you consider lunching inside Boboli Gardens when you visit the Palazzo Pitti - just pick up a panino before you go in at one of the many local shops and a bottle of water (there is no lunch cafe inside the gardens) and then find yourself a quiet corner to absorb the culture and the gardens and the statues and the Florence skyline ;-P

Buon Viaggio,

Donna Denise


Well-known member
Bus Ticket


I must admit living in Florence I normally don't need the round trip :eek: Last time I flew out of Pisa and back into Florence.

But is was easy to get the ticket on the bus. I didn't realize there was a round trip and my colleague informed me you CAN NOT get it on the bus. But according to the brochure (see link: you can buy it at the GIUNTI book store in the airport.

The tour looks great - of course, you can do it all on your own (except for the Vasari Cor.) but personally I enjoy having a guide fill me in on all the little in's and out's of the place. The Wednesday tour, also looks like it will help you get it all in and again, a guide will help you appreciate the details!

Another interesting tour is this one which will take you into just the Accademia and the Uffizi and have you walking around the city - there is so much to see OUT side of the museums.

That's a lot to do on Monday (and SMN church and Santa Croce are at the opposite ends of the city). Maybe you could add a trip to the Museum of Duomo (right behind the bell tower and church) - if you are into the cultural aspect WELL WORTH IT. and then put Santa Croce on Tuesday.

Be prepared to be tuckered out at the end of each day - but again, well worth it.

Donna Denise.


Thank you very much for your reply.

Taking into consideration what you said, it does sound like I should not schedule Santa Croce and SMN on the same day. Instead I will try Cappelle Medicee and SMN on Monday, as Google says it's only a 5 minutes walk between the two, and the Museum of Duomo in the afternoon.

This being said, could you (or anyone) let me know the approximate length of time it would take to properly appreciate the Medici Chapels, the San Lorenzo church and the SMN? Would one hour each be appropiate?

Thank you very much again.


Well-known member
Appreciation Time

I haven't been in the Medici Chapels or San Lorenzo in a really long time :(

I remember Medici Chapels being a fairly quick visit...I believe an hour would be more than enough

As for San Lorenzo, I did this when I was studying art - so needless to say we were there for a while, but you can definitely say an hour would be sufficient.

But I have just visited SMN, (lovely!) and I underestimated my time. I had an extra half hour before meeting a friend to visit the '900 Museum directly across from it - but it barely gave me enough time to go up one side of the church and down the other...and I didn't even begin to go anywhere near the Museum in the Small Cloister & Refectory...I know I have to go back, and soon.

I would even venture to say an hour and a half, to enjoy everything with a bit of tranquility.

For the Museum of the Duomo, (I loved it by the way) you can stay there for an hour and a half quite easily...even more!

Donna Denise


Thank you

Thank you for the quick reply. I was also thinking two hours for the Museum of the Duomo.

I do have one more question. I have just read somewhere online that, on the last Tuesday of the month, Florence musuems used to offer free entry. Is this still true?

Thank you so very much. I am very happy to have discovered this site and forum.


The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
I have found that whatever information you find about past years, you cannot ever assume it will be true this year as well until it is officially announced that it will happen again.

Last week, the Accademia and Uffizi announced extended hours for this summer 2016 on Tuesday evenings with PAID ADMISSION. Close at 10pm. So I would say, in this case, you have your confirmation that it won't be so, at least for the Uffizi and Accademia.

And yes, on the first Sundays of the month, all of the STATE museums in Florence and Tuscany offer free admission. You can see a list for Tuscany here:


Sorry I haven't checked in in a while. Thank you both, ladies, for your answers.

Do you know, for an EU citizen over 65, is the entrance free / reduced? It didn't seem that wat for the Duomo, is it for any other museums? Medici Chappels, maybe?
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Active member
Free for over 65's

Sorry I haven't checked in in a while. Thank you both, ladies, for your answers.

Do you know, for an EU citizen over 65, is the entrance free / reduced? It didn't seem that wat for the Duomo, is it for any other museums? Medici Chappels, maybe?

Yes, almost all state run museums and galleries are free if you bring your ID showing your age.

As a general rule in Italy (and I may be making no friends with this) don't try too hard to do things the cheapest way or save wherever possible. For example, if you were to try an enter the Uffizi on the free-entry day it will be chaotic. If you use the regionale trains instead of the Frecciarossa you will save a few euros but it will take twice as long. If you use the Superstrada (free) road when there is an equivalent Autostrada (toll) road it will be slower, more congested and less well maintained. When people have spent so much money to come here it makes very little sense to try and save a few euros. I don't mean to imply that any of this applies to you.

Carry you ID with you each day you are travelling and show it whenever you are purchasing tickets. Both the government and private companies are often very considerate to those over 65 and may offer discounts.


The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Ciao Bleu,

While I agree with what Alice says about carrying your ID card/passport and showing it just in case, I do have to contradict the part about state museums being free to over 65s..... There are NO reductions for any over 65s at any State museums in Italy!

Please note this carefully as older written guide books and sites might not have updated info: over 65 were allowed free entrance up until July 2014, then there was ministerial Italy-wide reform and this was abolished. It its place, the free first Sundays of the month were started where everyone can visit the state museums and sites for free on every first Sunday.