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Living in Florence

Living in Florence

Florence is one of the world’s most beautiful cities and a unique centre of attraction for visitors from all over the world. Florence means one thing: style. Walking around the city you will find shops selling fashionable clothes, antiques and jewelry as well as typical Florentine crafts. You can explore the stylish boutiques lined up alongside the galleries and palazzi. Few cities of comparable size can boast such a profusion and variety of high-quality goods.

Florence is well-connected with the rest of Italy and with Europe, and is easy to get to by air or land.
Plane
Florence has a small airport, Amerigo Vespucci ,also known colloquially as Peretola, with flights from main European cities. Most European and other short- and mid-haul flights use Pisa’s Galileo Galilei International airport , 80 minutes by road or rail from Florence
Airport transfers arranged by Linguaviva (link pagina transfer) - We can arrange for you to be collected at your arrival airport, and to be taken direct to your accommodation. This is a trouble-free start to your course.
Making your own way to Florence - From Florence airport the center can be reached in about 15 minutes by taxi, and in about 20 minutes with SITA/ATAF "Vola in Bus" bus shuttle operating between the airport and the central railway station of Santa Maria Novella.
Train
Florence has good connections with the main cities in the north, while to the south Rome is only about an hour and a half away. From Milan to Florence there is a high speed connection train which will take you to Florence in 2 hours and 45 minutes. From Roma Termini station the journey to Florence is 1 hour and half. For train connections information please check www.trenitalia.com.
At Florence Santa Maria Novella railway station  you will find buses and taxies to take you to your accommodation.
Car
The A1 motorway, the main road artery linking the north and south of Itay, runs past Florence, which has four exits. Arriving from the North on the motorway/freeway (Autostrada del Sole - A1), use the exit Firenze Nord and follow indications to reach city centre (centro) or central train station (stazione centrale). Arriving from the South on the motorway/freeway (Autostrada del Sole - A1), use the exit at Firenze Sud and follow indications to reach city centre (centro) or central train station (stazione centrale) .

City Buses
Linguaviva school is located next to the central railway station Santa Maria Novella, which is the arrival point of most city buses.
If you remain at least one month and use the bus often we suggest you to buy a monthly bus pass. Please ask for detailed information at school.

Taxis
The closest taxi rank to the school is just outside the central railway station S.M. Novella.

Cars
Even though Linguaviva is in the city centre it is easily accessible by car as it is located close to the central railway station, Santa Maria Novella where there is a large underground parking station (open 24 hrs/day).
However we do not suggest that you use the car in the city centre as many streets are closed to traffic and street parkings are reserved for residents.

Street numbers, particularly in the city centre, are different from other cities.
A double sequence of street numbering exists in Florence. Shops and businesses are identified by the letter 'r' after the number. This signifies 'red'. Private residences are numbered in black. Thus a street may have two number 16's, at times at considerable distance one from the other; 16r (as in the addresses given here) is a shop or business, while 16 is a private house. This is a practice that has been abandoned for new constructions, but the old roads still maintain it.

Churches: Most are open from early morning until noon or 12.30, when they close for two hours or more; they open again in the afternoon, closing about 7.00pm or later.
Museums: Hours vary and may change with the seasons , always check Museums time table
Shops: there are individual varations, depending and climate and season, but most are open 9:30am to 1:00pm and 3.30pm or 4.00pm to 7.30pm.

The following opening hours apply: from Monday to Friday
Morning from 9.00 to 13.15

Afternoon from 14.30 (or 14.45) to 15.30 (or 15.45)

(Times vary from bank to bank - some may open Saturday morning)
Many currency exchanges can be found in the centre. Be sure to ask what commission is applied before changing cheques or cash. Many shops and restaurants accept credit cards.

All post offices are open from Monday to Saturday from 8.15 to 13.30. Some, including the main Post Office (Via Pelliceria, 3) and the Post Office in Via Pietrapiana, 53, are open all day from 8.15 to 18.00. 

Opening hours
From Monday to Friday 8.15am-6pm
Saturday 8.15am-6pm
Last day of each month 8.15-12pm (Saturdays 8.15am-11am)

Stamps
Stamps can be bought in Post Offices and tobacconists' shops.
Postcards and letters (up to 20grams)
€ 0.75 European Community
€ 1.60 Asia, Africa, North and South America
€ 1.00 Australia

Public telephones are located all over the city, however, poor maintenance is a problem and frequently many are out of service. you will find public telephones working with phone cards (scheda magnetica telefonica). Cards, available at various prices, are sold in tobacconist shops.
Otherwise there is a public telephone office in Via Cavour. The user is assigned a cabin and pays the cost of the call at the end.
We also suggest buying a local phonecard for calls in Italy and an international phonecard if you will be calling overseas.
Mobile Phones
- Mobile phones are relatively cheap so it may not always be cheaper to hire one.
If you have a mobile phone you can buy an Italian SIM card with a new phone number.
This allows you to save on calls in Italy.

This is an indication of average costs in Florence.

RESTAURANTS
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant € 15,00
Meal for 2, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course € 60.00
Combo Meal at McDonalds or Similar € 7.30
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) € 4.00
Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) € 3.96
Cappuccino (regular) € 1.38
Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle) € 2.00
Water (0.33 liter bottle) € 1.00
MARKETS
Milk (regular), (1 liter) € 1.28
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) € 1.00
Rice (white), (1kg) € 2.25
Eggs (12) € 3.00
Local Cheese (1kg) € 14.00
Chicken Breasts (Boneless, Skinless), (1kg) € 9.00
Apples (1kg) € 9.00
Oranges (1kg) € 2.00
Tomato (1kg) € 2.75
Potato (1kg) € 1.75
Lettuce (1 head) € 1.15
Water (1.5 liter bottle) € 0.50
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) € 5.00
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle) € 1.00
Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) € 1.50
Pack of Cigarettes (Marlboro) € 5.00
TRANSPORTATION
One-way Ticket (Local Transport) € 1.20
Monthly Pass (Regular Price) € 35.00
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) € 6.20
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) € 0.91
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) € 50.00
Gasoline (1 liter) € 1.80
UTILITIES (MONTHLY)
Gasoline (1 liter) € 165.00
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans) € 0.20
Internet (6 Mbps, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) € 30.00
SPORTS AND LEISURE
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult € 75.00
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) € 15.00
Cinema, international Release, 1 Seat € 8.00
CLOTHING AND SHOES
1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar) € 90.00
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, ...) € 30.00
1 Pair of Nike Shoes € 97.50
1 Pair of Men Leather Shoes € 110.00

Health Insurance

If you are a non-EU citizen

Health insurance for Italy has to meet the following requirements:

  • it must cover expenses in case of emergency treatment and urgent hospitalization (recovery in casualty)
  • it must cover the entire duration of your stay in Italy;
  • it must guarantee the policy-holder’s return to his/her own country in case of serious illness
  • it must be in English or translated in Italian and legalized by the Italian Embassy/Consulate
  • it must also be valid in the Schengen Area.

The most economic health insurance policy in Italy is INA (Istituto Nazionale Assicurazioni) which covers emergency hospital and maternity charges. It costs € 49,00 for 6 months and € 98,00 for 1 year.
For further information please ask at the secretary’s office.

If you are an EU citizen
Before you leave for Italy you have to go to the competent Health Institution in your country in order to ask for an extension of your health assistance to Italy through one of the following issues:

  • E 106 for study or work stays more than 365 days.
  • the European Health Insurance Card (so called "EHIC Card") for stays up to 365 days, by which you are automatically covered in all EU-member countries for health cares considered as "necessary”

Medical Services
Pharmacies are a convenient place to have an advice on minor complaints, as the staff is medically trained.
If your country has a consulate in Florence, staff there should be able to refer you to a doctor who speaks your language. The Tourist Information service in Florence APT has lists of doctors and dentists of various nationalities. We suggest that if you have a specific health complaint, obtain the necessary information and referrals for treatment before leaving home.
Please also ask at Linguaviva to refer you to doctors and health services in Florence.

Florence is a fairly secure city. You need to take some simple precautions.
Do not carry large sums of money with you.
Do not take all your credit cards with you at the same time, and don't keep your passport, credit cards, money etc… together.
Use a bag which closes securely. Do not put your wallet where everyone can see it.
Do not leave valuable things like mobile phones, i-pods etc… lying around in public places.
Keep your possessions where you can see them and avoid wearing very expensive jewellery when you are going out.

In case of emergency, you will need to go to the nearest casualty department (Pronto Soccorso) and wait to be treated. If you are unable to do so, call 118 and the appropriate medical service will be sent to you.

In case of emergency you can call the so called Guardia Medica and talk to a doctor (italian) who can provide you with help on handling the situation.

Guardia Medica (055 233 94 56 for central Florence; pm-8am Mon-Fri, 10am on Sat to 8am Mon) A night-time call-out service with doctors
Ambulance (ambulanza 118)
Fire Brigade
(vigili del fuoco 115)
Highway Rescue
(soccorso stradale 116)
Military Police
(carabinieri 112)
Police
(polizia 113)