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Galileo Galilei (PSA)
Tel: (050) 849 202 or 849 111. Fax: (050) 849 216.
Website: www.pisa-airport.com

Pisa’s airport, Galileo Galilei, is the international gateway to Florence. Situated 80km (50 miles) from Florence, it provides easy access to the city by road or rail. As one of Italy’s busiest airports, Pisa handles around 1.1 million passengers per year.

Major airlines: Italy’s national airline, Alitalia (tel: (055) 27881; website: www.alitalia.it), connects Pisa to all the major Italian cities, including daily flights to the intercontinental airports of Milan and Rome. British Airways and Ryanair operate daily flights to London (Gatwick and Stansted respectively), while Lufthansa flies to Paris and Monaco, and Gandalf to Barcelona.

Airport facilities: Facilities include a bank, bureau de change, ATMs (bancomat), nursery (situated on the ground floor) and a selection of restaurants. La Corte mall offers a wide range of shopping, as well as a hair salon. Tourist information, a post office and car hire operators, including Avis, Europcar, Liberty Rent International, Maggiore and Sixt Rent a Car, are available in the arrivals hall.

Business facilities: There is a dedicated business centre, the Galilei Business Centre (tel: (050) 849 200; fax: (050) 598 097), which has fully equipped rooms available to be booked for small meetings and seminars. Business-class travellers also have access to the Galilei VIP Lounge, which offers on-the-spot check-in for passengers carrying hand luggage only. Refreshments and travel information are also available.

Transport to the city: The most hassle-free and commonly used way for arriving tourists to travel to Florence is on the train. The station, Pisa Aeroporto, is just a short stride from the airport via a covered walkway and tickets are available for purchase on the concourse. Trains (see Getting There By Train) depart more or less every hour, between 0900 and 1900 (journey time – 1 hour). On departing Florence, visitors can check in at the railway station’s Air Terminal in Florence (platform five) from 0700 to 1730. Passengers with luggage must check in 20 minutes before the train departs and arrive at least 30 minutes before flight departure. Tickets cost €4.85 one way.

There is a SITA bus (tel: (800) 373 760; website: www.sita-on-line.it) that stops in Florence (on Via Alamanni) on its way from Pisa to Matera. It runs daily at 2025 (journey time – 2 hours 35 minutes) and costs approximately €39.25.

If one wishes to take a taxi to Florence – an unusual choice, given the excellent train service – these are to be found outside the main exit or ordered by telephone (tel: (050) 541 600). The journey time would vary greatly depending on the traffic and prices would be extremely high.

Florence City Airport underwent extensive rebuilding in the early 1980s and reopened for regular flights in 1985. Situated just five kilometres (three miles) from Florence city centre, the airport is steadily increasing in capacity, with regular flights to major European cities as well as domestic destinations.

Major airlines: National airline Alitalia (tel: (055) 27881; website: www.alitalia.it) links the city with Milan and Bergamo in the north and Rome and Palermo in the south. Other airlines, Air France, Air Littoral, Austrian, Lufthansa and Meridiana all provide regular services to major European cities.

Airport facilities: Tourist information, banking and exchange facilities are available during office hours and there is an on-site restaurant (open lunchtime only) and snack bar. Avis, Europcar, Hertz, Italy by Car, Maggiore and Sixt provide car hire.

Business facilities: There is no dedicated business centre but the Masaccio Lounge on the first floor of departures has a self-service bar, newspapers, satellite TV and telephones.

Transport to the city: The ‘fly by bus’ Vola in Bus (tel: (800) 424 500; website: www.ataf.net) shuttle service departs approximately every 30 minutes between 0600-2330. Tickets cost €4 and are available for purchase on board. The shuttle drops passengers off at Florence’s central railway station (journey time – 15-30 minutes).

Taxis (tel: (055) 4242 or 4390) to the centre cost approximately €13 (journey time – 30 minutes, depending on traffic).

Approximate flight times to Florence: From London is 2 hours 15 minutes; from New York is 12 hours 30 minutes; from Los Angeles is 18 hours 50 minutes; from Toronto is 12 hours 50 minutes and from Sydney is 21 hours 25 minutes.

Arrival/departure tax: None.

Amerigo Vespucci (FLR)
Tel/Fax: (055) 315 874.
Website: www.safnet.it

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Getting to Florence

Situated in the northwest of Italy, surrounded by the wine-growing hills of Chianti, the city attracts rapture and frustration in equal proportions.

When's best to visit Florence?

It is best for visitors to avoid the peak summer months of July and August, when the weather can be unbearably sticky and the prospect of trailing around museums becomes unappealing. Early autumn, when the countryside glows with mellow fruitfulness, is the best time to visit, avoiding the heat and the queues and capitalising on the soft light, empty streets and the abundance of wild mushrooms and just-pressed olive oil.