Most visitors to Florence fly into Pisa Airport and have to transfer to Florence by train or coach.
The Pisa Mover transport system was launched in late March and connects Pisa’s Gallileo Gallilei Airport with Pisa Centrale railway station. Running 365 days a year and departing every five minutes from 6am to midnight, the fully automatic people mover carries passengers from just outside the airport passenger terminal to the city’s main railway station in just five minutes. Trains run regularly from Pisa Centrale to Florence’s Santa Maria Novella station and take about 1 hour 25 minutes. Santa Maria Novella is located very close to the centre of Florence and from here it is easy to reach many city-centre hotels on foot.
Florence is, of course well known as one of the top European city-break destinations and is popular with travellers at any time of year. During the peak season which stretches from May to October the central areas of the city can get very crowded with tourists so it is well worth considering a break during the quieter months when the weather can also be quite reasonable.
For art lovers, the top Florence attraction is, of course, the Uffizi Gallery. Giotto’s frescoes and canvases by Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci are just a few of the highlights. However in peak season long queues tend to build up outside the gallery and it can be almost impossible to view all the paintings you might want to see. By contrast, in winter it is possible to see all the important masterpieces such as the Birth of Venus in only a few hours.
Another of Florence’s must-see sights is the wonderful cathedral, the Duomo, with its famous Brunelleschi dome. It is possible (if you are fit enough!) to climb the 463 steps to the top where you can see the inside of the dome up close and get an amazing view of Florence below.
The Ponte Vecchio, the oldest of Florence’s six bridges, is another of the city’s famous treasures. Probably dating back to Roman times with its stone pillars and wooden planks; it was rebuilt after a flood in 1333.
If you’re returning home from Pisa Airport then it is well worth giving yourself an hour or two in Pisa to see the iconic Leaning Tower. The tower was already tilting when it was completed in 1372 and the tilt increased until stabilisation works became necessary because there were concerns that this famous monument might collapse altogether. The white-marble tower is the bell tower of the Romanesque cathedral which lies next to it in the Piazza dei Miracoli. Also in the piazza is the Baptistry, whose renowned acoustics are demonstrated by amateur singers daily.