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Florence - Good location?

Is an Airbnb at Piazza dei Nerli, 11, in the Oltrarno, a few blocks away from Ponte Amerigo Vespucci, a good location for a first visit to Florence? This is our favorite apartment but reviews say it’s a 15-20 minute walk to town - since we’re traveling at Christmas we aren’t sure if that’s a good idea weather wise or sore feet wise. Our other options are in Piazza Signoria (sp?) and at the Ponte Vecchio which are far more central but the apartments aren’t quite as nice.

Posted by
1461 posts

According to my online map, San Frediano is a tiny town about 20 miles from Florence, so I think you’ve been getting some conflicting information there. On the other hand, the Piazza Signoria and the Ponte Vecchio are as central as you can get.

Posted by
28 posts

Hmm that’s what the listing said, in the San Frediano district of the Oltrarno. But I Googled the property and got the address so I’ll update my original post with the street address. Thank you!

Posted by
1461 posts

Ah. Now that looks like a very good location, not much of a walk from the S.M.N. train station, and close to some Oltrarno attractions (the Cappella Brancacci, for instance). Probably much quieter than the other two locations you mentioned.

Posted by
1934 posts

We prefer the Oltrarno side of the river ourselves - it's much quieter and generally less congested than being in the center of things.
The local bus system is easy to navigate and cheap to ride - can recommend it as a leg-saving alternative to some of the longer walks. As I recall you can pay the driver when you board or you can save a little by buying tickets in advance from any of the tabacchi's or news agents that you'll see around town.
Having the Google maps app on our phones was handy - the bus stops and the particular routes are highlighted making getting around pretty easy. Can do an online search for a map of the system to help you get your bearings.

Posted by
237 posts

Have stayed in both locations you are looking at. At Christmas time I would choose the more central location. During the summer a walk or bus ride is fine. Out the door access to street activities and markets and Christmas lights is part of the joy of visiting this time of year.

Posted by
28 posts

Thank you all, I think we’ve decided to stay central this time and try the Oltrarno area if we are lucky enough to return someday.

Posted by
12279 posts

San Frediano is one of the neighborhoods of Florence, located in the Oltrarno (Beyond the Armo River). Three neighborhoods comprise the Oltrarno (East to west): San Niccolò, Santo Spirito, San Frediano. San Frediano was traditionally the more “working class”, kind of rough neighborhood, in the historical center. But in the past few decades (since the late 1970s and 1980s) it has become increasingly very trendy. It’s quaint and nice to stay there, but it’s a bit of a walk from there to the main sights, so it’s up to you and your willingness to walk.

Posted by
28 posts

Talk to me about the bus system from this area to the major sites, because we can't get this property out of our minds and think we may want to stay here after all!

Posted by
9 posts

I just stayed at an Airbnb right off the Piazza Signoria and it was a fantastic location. It was amazingly quiet even though it was right in the middle of everything.

Posted by
1398 posts

https://florence-on-line.com/travel-tips/buses/florence-city-center-bus-map.html

If you can make this coloured map a little bigger, it shows all the little electro-bus routes around Florence.
It's a couple of years old, but it gives you the general idea.
You can find a more up to date one with some searching, I'm sure.

Two years ago, they cost, I think, E1.25 per ride.
You just bought a book of ten tickets in a Tabaccheria shop.
Most of them are on a circular route, so if you get on one going the wrong way, just stay on till it comes back around.
I believe now you can pay with contactless cards....it's two years since my last visit.
They also have AC...we hopped on one just to sit down out of the heat one afternoon, we weren't really going anywhere specific!
I would stay anywhere within the green and red routes in Florence.
It's very walkable, you don't really need the buses .

Posted by
675 posts

The electric buses are great (I took the C2 or the C3 almost every day for 5 weeks) but they don't really help you with your particular location that much. You can walk from Piazza dei Nerli to, for instance, the Duomo in 18 minutes. And that's 18 minutes of walking through Florence, which is an 18 minutes that is hard to beat anywhere.

No predicting for sure what the weather will be like when you go --- it was lovely for us the December we were there for a week and we did stay in the Oltrarno that trip and walked everywhere.

For what it's worth, we would like to stay in San Frediano on our next trip to Florence --- close to my art history classes at the British Institute, near lots of good restaurants, and fewer tourists.

But, yeah, maybe for your first trip to Florence, stay a little closer to the sites you want to visit --- doesn't have to be the Ponte Vecchio or Piazza Signoria (both sound like awful locations to me!), just a LITTLE closer in or maybe on a bus route that would take you to the center. Look again and see if you can fall in love with another apartment (I know, I know. I fall in love with apartments in Italian towns and cities all the time.)

Posted by
2163 posts

Talk to me about the bus system from this area

If you know the address of this place, you can enter it in the route planner here:

http://www.ataf.net/en/timetables-and-routes/travel-planner.aspx?idC=1294&LN=en-US

As far as I know, there are no "per ride" tickets in Florence (or in Italy). In Florence a € 1.5 ticket entitles you to travel on all means of transport for 90 minutes, in any direction. On the same ticket you can transfer between different vehicles , but when you get on the first one you must time-stamp the ticket before the first stop. No excuses and, trust me, inspectors do check and the fines are heavy.

ATAF Tickets purchased via App work the same way, but you are supposed to "start the clock" on your mobile before getting on. Imho paper Tickets are a nicer souvenir, but on a crowded bus tapping the phone screen is 10 times easier than trying to reach the time-stamping machine.

The contactless option to get tickets swiping a Credit Card on board has been suspended because of Covid.

Posted by
1398 posts

About where to stay: In 10 visits to Florence, I have only stayed once near the Duomo.
It was a fantastic five floor walkup facing the Duomo with a lovely little terrace.
I could wave at the people out on the cupola.
However, in 7 nights, I got little sleep, as the noise from the area was unbelievable, and never stopped all night.
People shouting in the street, drunken students (not Italian), scooters whizzing by.
I usually stay in the Oltrarno now; and last time we stayed the other way, near the Giardino dei Semplici, beyond P. San Marco.
If you are a heavy sleeper, by all means stay right in the centre; but as someone else said, it's easy to walk into the centre from the not too far away periphery.

Thanks, Dario, for the bus information update.

Posted by
1461 posts

I think having a ~20 minute walk to the main sights is a good thing - I once stayed that far to the north, and the walk in cleared my head and felt energizing. I think if you want to stay at this appealing place in the Oltrarno, you ought to go for it.

Posted by
12279 posts

Unless you have mobility issues, I would walk. You can take the C4 electric minibus nearby, but walking in the streets of Florence is enjoyable. Of course the weather at Christmas may be an issue as well, but generally winters in Italy are mild. Snow and ice won't hamper your walk.