The best way to visit Florence is on foot. Every single street in the center is a piece of history to explore. The town is not so big and once you are located in the central area, you can walk everywhere.

However, you can also take one of the hop-on/hop-off buses that will get you between major attractions. If you want to mix your walking with riding between key spots, or choose to walk out and ride back, do your online research of the city bus system. It takes several click-throughs before you get to a visual map of each route, but it can be done. You want to identify any buses that pass your acommodation or are between key areas you may have already explored on foot and would prefer to ride through. For example, when you select the tab for routes and schedules, bus routes are listed with hyperlinks. Click on a bus line and it will list the hotels and major stops it passes. Click on the detail information and it brings the route up on a city street map. Be forewarned that traffic can be extremely heavy and riding may take LONGER than walking.

Keep in mind that the most popular shopping area is included between Borg Ognisanti, Via della Vigna Nuova, Via Tornabuoni, Via Calzaiuoli, the Ponte Vecchio and Via Panzani.

The main monuments are close to each other, except the David which is a little bit farther.

For the evening, you can take a taxi to reach your favourite restaurant if it is located in a different area than your hotel.

Avoid using your car to explore Florence. You will never find a parking place and it's full of one-way streets. In addition, parts of the central city are off limits to non-resident cars with special permits - and if you are stopped by the police, the immediate fine is painful.  Since the authorities now have cameras in the central zone that pick up your car's license plate, the police can and will  track you down via the car rental agency. They then follow up via postal mail, even months later.  Your car rental company will not intervene, and as of April 2008, the fine is at least €95. So pick up your rental car and leave Florence, taking care not to drive into the restricted parts of the central city, or drive into the city at the end of your rental and drop it off - then head out on foot.

It is unwise to consider renting a scooter or bicycle in Florence. The streets are heavily pocked with gaps in the paving stones, making bicycle travel dangerous at best. Scooter riding in Florence is only for the locals. They know which streets they can zip up or not. Many are one way or have limited travel access. Besides, vehicles tend to travel very fast. Despite the cautionary note about bicycling, it is worth noting that the streets are filled with ladies of all ages cruising along the streets, nimbly avoiding pedestrians and vehicles, or any of the paving gaps. They do this without wearing helmets so clearly do not find it unsafe. (In fact I only saw one older gentleman in Lucca wearing a bicycle protective helmet, and one little child riding pillion). If you are used to riding a cycle in cities where the tramlines can catch your wheel, you won't find Florence a problem. 

If you are going to venture out into Tuscany, you do have some options. There are regional buses that are easy to use.  SITA runs direct buses to San Gimignano and Siena. The SITA station is across the street from the train station on Piazza della Statione next to the Waldorf. Alternatively, you can get a rental car with GPS. Make sure you have good addresses and when you pick up your rental car that the GPS maps are current.  Driving in Italy is fun and simple with GPS.  Without it you may find the aggravation of reading streets a bit stressful for your vacation.  Make sure when renting that you get the type of car you booked (Diesel versus Gas for example) and that the power supply for the GPS works in the car. The LAZZI busline takes you to Lucca. The office is round the corner from MacDonald's, with buses leaving from the street behind that. 

Driving outside the city is a very nice way to see Italy. You will find getting out much more enjoyable if you drive. The roundabouts may seem a bit tricky at first but they are rather cool after you get the hang of them, since they eliminate traffic lights.  Just remember the traffic already in the round about has priority.

Also be patient with parking, it can be rather difficult to find any. You will also need cash for paying so be prepared. In general Italy runs on cash payments. While most (but not all) hotels and restaurants take credit cards, you should have Euros on hand to pay for museums, eating, parking, and even for gas. In unmanned gas stations you need to feed cash into the pump which sets the amount for you -kinda cool really. 

 Finding Parking

Online: You can find parking online by searching on this map for Florence Parking. Just enter the duration of time you will be parking in the "Compare Rates" box on the left and current rates will be shown for all the parking structures. Click on any of the bubbles for more information on that specific parking lot (rates, hours of operation, payment options, etc.)

Smartphone App: You can also find parking using your smartphone by downloading the ParkMe app for iPhone, for Android, or by visiting www.parkme.com on your mobile browser.