Our group maximum number of people allowed changes depending on the tour. For example, the group tours in Florence and Venice have a maximum of 18 people. The group tours in Rome have a maximum of 12 people.
For tours that require a transfer such as the Best of Tuscany day-trip we prefer to have a maximum of 7 people. If a minivan is not available sometimes we might have 17 people on a minibus.
There are two sets of street numbers, red and black (or blue). Generally, all the red numbers are for business and merchants. Black numbers are for residences. Walking down a street in Florence you may see an 80 black next to a 132 red. So be sure to pay attention to which colour you are looking for. You will often see an address for a store listed as 11 r, which means that the number 11 is painted in red, or rosso.
All of the state-run Florence museums, including the world famous Uffizi Gallery and Accademia museum, are closed on Mondays. Their hours are Tuesday to Sunday from 8:15 am to 6:50 pm. The museums are also closed on December 25th, January 1st, and May 1st. Be sure to ask our office staff how to make reservations for these museums so that you do not have to wait in line!
If you need medical attention while in Florence you may contact the English doctor, Dr. Stephen Kerr. His website address is www.dr-kerr.com. In Italy you may also get general medical advice from pharmacists. All pharmacies are indicated with a green cross that hangs outside the storefront. There are several in Florence that are open 24 hours, including the pharmacy located inside the Santa Maria Novella train station, one in the Piazza della Signoria, and opposite the Baptistery in Piazza del Duomo. Other pharmacies are typically open from 9 am to 1 pm and then from 4 pm to 7 pm.
You can get a taxi by calling 0554390 or 0554242. When reserving a taxi by phone you must wait on the line until you are given the name of an Italian city name and a number. This is how you will know that the taxi that arrives is yours. For example, a taxi may be called Roma 3.
There is an underground parking under Santa Maria Novella train station. We strongly recommend NOT driving in Florence. The entire historical city center is a limited traffic zone, called ZTL. If you enter the zone without authorization, you or your rental car company will get a fine. If you are staying outside of Florence, we recommend you park your car at your nearest train station and take the train into Florence.
It takes about 15 minutes to get to our office from the train station, follow these exact directions:
From the train station, walk along via Panzani which then becomes via Cerretani. Take a right onto Via Vecchietti. Via Vecchietti becomes Via Sassetti, our street, so keep walking straight. You will walk past the Fendi store (heading south) and walk 75 meters until number 1. Our offices are located above the Odeon cinema in the back left hand corner of the building. We are on the second floor. You can take the lift or walk up two flights of stairs.
You can buy bus tickets at Tabacchi stores (indicated with a large T sign). Each ticket costs 1.50 euro. You can also buy the ticket from the bus driver but in this case it costs 2.50 euro. Your ticket is valid only once it has been stamped in the machine inside the bus (near the front entrance oo the bus). Each ticket is valid for 90 minutes from the moment you stamp it. You do not need to re-stamp your ticket if you switch buses.
Unfortunately, we do not have public restroom facilities in our offices. You may use the restrooms in any of the bars around Florence. It is best to find restrooms to use before you come to start your tour. There are a few public restrooms in Florence that cost 1 euro. One is inside Santa Maria Novella Train Station near track 2. Another one is at the underground of the train station and the other one is accross the entrance to the Baptistery near the Duomo.
Florence has a fairly mild climate and is beautiful for different reasons throughout the year. While some prefer to visit in the Spring when the city is just warming up and restaurants are beginning to move their tables outdoors for evening dining, others may prefer the long days of fall when the olives and grapes are in harvest. There is never a bad time to visit Florence but certain points should be kept in mind:
- June and July are typically very hot in Florence and not all hotels are equipped with air-conditioning or elevators. These are also the busiest times in the city; you will see it bustling with tourists and locals alike.
- August is traditionally a month in which Italians take their summer holidays, especially the weeks surrounding August 15-17. You will find some stores and restaurants that close for one, two or even four weeks during the month of August.
- November is a beautiful time to visit the city, but be sure to pack an umbrella. Florence can receive a good amount of rain in the late fall.