Parking in Florence isn't always easy, as the city just seems to lack the space! The center is an enforced ZTL (limited traffic zone) area further limiting your parking options, but it is best to not even drive anywhere near it.
Having said that, many of you arrive in Florence with a car so here are your options and below our tips as regards each one:
- paid parking lots
- private garages
- street parking
- free parking
- outside of Florence
First things first - What is a ZTL area?
The historical center of Florence is a Limited Traffic Zone (Zona a Traffico Limitato, or ZTL zone for short) and special permits are required to enter it. There are high fines if you enter without having the right permit. LET ME REPEAT THAT AGAIN: there are HIGH FINES if you enter the ZTL and don't have a permit (you likely won't have one)!
Our simple advice: DON'T ENTER THE ZTL AT ALL!
To complicate things further, the ZTL is not always "active" or on. The ZTL is always active between 7:30am and 8pm on weekdays and 7:30am to 4pm on Saturdays... so you can enter it without a permit outside of these hours, particularly without worrying whether your hotel sent your license plate number to the police. But again, where will you park? Parking within the ZTL is very limited so you will have a hard time finding parking overnight (as evidenced by the many who park on sidewalks!) Read this article on the ZTL so that you can better understand how it works (and how to avoid it).
What if my hotel is in the ZTL area?
If your hotel is in the ZTL, you can reach it to unload luggage and passengers but immediately have to exit the ZTL to park outside the ZTL area (unless your hotel offers parking). Make double sure you TELL YOUR HOTEL you reached them with your car, so that they can communicate your license plate to the police and get it taken off the list of cars that will be fined for not having a permit. If at the reception they see you enter, they don't know whether you got there on foot, taxi or what. It seems many people receive fines for this.... so make sure your hotel gets your license plates to get your car off the list!
Another very good option: look for accommodation that offers parking!
Visiting Florence for a Day
If you've rented a car to move around Tuscany and plan to visit Florence for a day, it is best to leave your car in one of the many car parks that surround the historical center and avoid entering the ZTL area. If you are planning to park more than two days in Florence, it is best if you just ask your hotel or b&b where to park near them, they'll be able to advice! They also often have special agreements with private car parking lots nearby so you can get a better rate than what is advertised to the general public.
Getting back to parking, here are your options:
PAID PARKING LOTS
There are lots all around the historical center, including one under the train station of Santa Maria Novella. Near the train station (eastern side of the center), you can also park under the Fortezza da Basso and Porta al Prato and by the Fortezza.
To the west of the center, you'll find the parking under Piazza Ghiberti (called San Ambrogio) and Piazza Beccaria; to the north the one in Piazza della Libertà (Parterre) and to the south the one in Porta Romana, this to name just the most central.
Walking from these parking lots to the center of the city usually takes 10-15 minutes. You can also hop on a bus if you wish... from Porta Romana, hop on bus 36 just inside the gate to go straight into downtown.
Cost is generally 1-2 euro an hour, with daily rates generally 20 euro. Ironically, it costs more the longer you stay in some of the parking lots so pay attention when deciding which is the best one.
--- MORE DETAILS ON PAY PARKING LOTS BELOW and ON THE MAP ---
These are the most expensive option, with costs ranging 80-100 euro per day. But they are convenient, as there are several in the historical center. You have to drive into the ZTL area to get to to them, so make sure you arrange with them to communicate your license plate to the authorities so that you won't get a fine!
STREET PARKING (PAY)
In addition to parking lots, there is also street parking available, particularly in the residential areas outside of the main historical center. This can be the cheapest option and can also mean just a bit of a longer walk but still about 10-20 minutes from the center. These are difficult to find - you are competing with residents for these spaces.
Park in the BLUE spaces as the white ones are for residents only (yellow for handicapped parking). Find a parking meter nearby (marked with a P sign above it) and prepay the hours you intend to stay, then put the slip back in the car on the dashboard where it is visible.
Costs: you have to pay between 8am and 8pm (after that it is free) Monday through Saturday except for public holidays. Cost in all of the areas closest to the center are 2 euro for the first hour, 3 hour for each hour after that (hour can be divided). Pay up front what you think you'll need in terms of time, get your ticket and leave it on the dashboard.
If you want to park overnight, make sure to check signs nearby that will indicate the nights reserved for STREET CLEANING which usually takes place between midnight and 6am. Your car can be towed if parked on those days. The best indicator is if you've easily found parking on that street that evening... as residents return home from work, many will park elsewhere for the night already so you'll easily find parking - that means you should, too!
Good areas for street parking:
You will find many spaces along the Lungarno della Zecca Vecchia - it is all street parking and less than 10 minute walk to Santa Croce/Uffizi area. If you arrive at the Biblioteca Nazionale (National Library), don't continue past the traffic light marking the entrance into the ZTL area (especially if red): turn left right in that square and go back!!
There is more street parking along the viali di circonvalazione (the ring road that surrounds the historical center) between Piazza Beccaria and Lungarno della Zecca Vecchia. There is even a small parking lot right at the Torre della Zecca right before the Lungarno della Zecca Vecchia begins.
If there is no parking there, continue back past the tower and pass the Ponte di San Niccolò - there is more street parking on Lungarno del Tempio, Lungarno Cellini and Lungarno Ferrucci on the other side of the Arno - all within walking distance.
There is also a good amount of street parking below Piazzale Michelangelo, along Via dei Bastioni which is a one-way street starting from Viale Michelangelo. You have to continue past the Piazzale Michelangelo heading toward Piazza Ferrucci - there is a stoplight at Via dei Bastioni, you turn left onto it.
There is a small parking lot near Porta San Frediano, very close into the entrance into the ZTL area, so be careful of this one.... better to head back along Viale Petrarca toward Porta Romana and park along the wall.
It is almost impossible nowadays to find free parking in Florence - the closest you will get to the city center and park for free is at Piazzale Michelangelo! It is about the only area with no regular street cleaning so you can park overnight without having to worry about it being towed. It is very difficult to find spots but there are many who just park to see the view and then hop back on to drive away, so you could wait for a spot to free up.
From here, it is a short and pleasant walk downhill to the center: Ponte Vecchio is a 30 minutes walk downhill while the SMN train station is a 20 minute bus ride away on the bus n. 13. You can also catch bus 12 at the Piazzale to head down. Get off along the Arno at the "Demidoff" stop before you cross over the bridge or right after at the Ponte delle Grazie stop. This is the closest you'll get to the center before the bus starts heading away from the center, toward the main viali (boulevard that goes around the center). You can see a map with these different options that show how to get to (and from) Piazzale Michelangelo/center here.
Be aware: in the summer, there are often concerts and other events held in Piazzale Michelangelo. At those times, part or all of the parking will be closed. Look for signs and large amounts of empty spaces, that will tell you to park elsewhere. One particular event to remember that happens every year here on Piazzale Michelangelo is the fireworks display on Florence's patron saint day, St. John the Baptist, on June 24th. You will not be able to park here that day for sure!
PARKING OUTSIDE OF FLORENCE
A highly recommened and safe and convenient to park is to park well out of Florence's center and then use the public transport system to get into Florence.
Trams and buses share the same ATAF ticket that costs 1,20 euro for 90 minutes (buy at a tobacco shop or newsagent before boarding). You can buy on board at slightly higher price (2 euro). You MUST validate your ticket once you get on board at one of the ticket machines - then you can use the ticket for the tram and bus for 90 minutes from the time validated on the ticket. You can also buy tickets with your cellphone, sending a text message to the number 4880105 but the cost of the ticket is also a bit higher at 1,50 euro (plus you'll have to add any fees your carrier might charge you). You risk serious fines if caught with ticket in hand but not validated - so remember to buy your ticket AND validate it upon getting on the bus!
The easiest parking spots are along the tram tracks into Florence that run from Scandicci to the SMN train station.
The largest is at the large COOP supermarket off Viale Nenni. The tram stop across the supermarket is called "Nenni-Torregalli". It is a 10-15min ride into Florence. This is free parking.
Another free parking lot is near the "Arcipressi" stop on Via Andrea di Pontedera, with spots both on ground level and underground.
Another free parking lot is also right behind the COOP supermarket on Viale Talenti (off Via Galileo Chini) but this is smaller and usually packed with shoppers. It is also difficult to get to if you're coming off the Fi-Pi-Li (easier if you're coming from Florence).
The closest parking lot to Florence along the tram can be found on Via del Sansovino, with the "Sansovino" tram stop right in front. This is a paid parking lot but a better deal that the ones closer to the center. It is open 24 hours a day and costs 1 euro for the first hour, 0.50 euro every 30 minutes after. Maximum daily rate is 12 euro. (Via del Sansovino 53).
As you leave the A1 at Firenze-Impruneta or the Firenze-Siena road, you head into Florence and pass through the small town of Galluzzo. There is a free parking lot near the main square. From the square you can catch bus 36 or 37 straight into Florence (10 min bus ride).
If you want to get closer to Florence than Galluzzo but do not find parking at Piazzale Michelangelo, there is a pay parking lot along Via del Gelsomino right along the route that takes you to the piazzale.
Open 24 hours a day, cost is 1 euro for the first hours, 0.50 euro every 30 minutes after. Max daily rate is 15 euro. (Via del Gelsomino, 11)
FIRENZE IMPRUNETA (formerly called FIRENZE CERTOSA)
This free parking lot is right off the "Firenze Impruneta" exit (used to be called Firenze Certosa, in case you find old references to that name) on the A1 Highway and the Firenze-Siena highway. Florence's historical center is about a 20 minute bus ride away: take bus n. 37, tickets can be purchased on the bus for € 2.00 (one way).
Below is a list of the car parks around the center - you can see their locations on the map above - with cost per hour and daily passes when offered to help in your planning of your trip into Florence. There are other parking structures beyond the center not listed here.
All parking lots are open 24/7.
S. M. NOVELLA TRAIN STATION
This is the one large parking lot within the city center, located below the central train station of Santa Maria Novella. Its location is convenient, but it is one of the priciest lots in the city, designed to encourage very short stops. You can reach it without entering the ZTL area, but you have to follow the precise route we've mapped below - green to get there, red to exit the center. Stray from these streets and you risk entering the ZTL.
3,00 euro for first hour or fraction thereof
1,50 euro for every HALF hour after (so still 3 euro per hour)
5 day parking pass: 160,00 euro
PORTA AL PRATO
New lot behind the train station, ideal for anyone arriving from the Fi-Pi-Li.
1 euro first hour
1 euro every 30 minutes from the second hour (2 euro per hour)
Daily fee: 20 euro
This is a large underground parking lot and is ideal if you are visiting Florence for a fair or a congress at the Fortezza da Basso or at the Congress center located nearby. The parking lot is also handy if you have to take a train at Florence central station that is within 10 minutes walking distance and it's cheaper than the train station one.
1,60 euro per hour
STAZIONE BINARIO 16
A small outdoor parking between the Fortezza and the train tracks behind Santa Maria Novella. Costs the same as the Fortezza Fiera lot.
1,60 euro per hour
SAN LORENZO - Mercato Centrale
This one is beneath the Mercato Centrale in San Lorenzo. It is very central, but not easy to get to... and expensive.
When the market is open, between 7am and 2pm Monday-Saturday:
2 euro first hour
3 euro second hour
8 euro every hour after that
After 2pm every day, including Sunday: 2 euro every hour
PARTERRE/Pza della Libertà
This large parking lot is located in Piazza della Libertà outside Florence's ZTL area along the main avenues. It has free bus shuttle services during holidays and to special events in Florence. The historical city center is within 20 minutes walking distance and 10 minutes by bus. Piazza San Marco is within 10 minutes walking distance.
2 euro per hour
Daily fee: 10 euros the first day, 15 euro the second day, 20 euro from the 3rd day and each successive day
SANT'AMBROGIO (below Piazza Ghiberti)
Sant'Ambrogio parking lot is located by the Florentine market of Sant'Ambrogio underneath Piazza Ghiberti/Largo Annigoni. It's located within 5 minutes walking distance from Piazza Santa Croce and about 10 minutes walking from the Duomo and Piazza della Signoria.
When the market is open:
7am-2pm, 1 euro the first hour, 2 euro the second hour, 3 euro from the 3rd hour (1,50 euro every 30 min)
after 2pm, 2 euro every hour (or 1 euro every 30 min)
This small parking lot is located underneath the old Beccaria door. It's located within walking distance from major Florence attractions and outside the ZTL area.
1,70 euro per hour
A small parking lot a little further away from the center but convenient if you're in the area. It only costs 1 euro at night, from 8pm to 8am.
1,60 euro per hour
Daily fee: 11 euro
This a small parking lot next to Porta Romana within the ancient walls of Florence. Pitti Palace and Ponte Vecchio are within 10 minutes walking distance, while the Duomo is about 20 minutes.
2 euro per hour
This parking lot is located close to Firenze Sud Exit on the A1 Highway. You can take a bus (#23, 33, 71, 81, 82, 85) and reach Florence city center in 15-20 minutes. It is handy if you want to park right off the A1 because you'll be returning to it once you leave Florence, and to avoid driving into the city. It is also one of the cheapest paid parking lots in the city if you're planning on a day trip into the city!
Between 7am and 7pm: 2 euro fixed cost (you can stay the full 12 hours and just pay the 2 euro)
After 7pm, € 0.50 every 30 min (or 1 euro every hour)
NOTE/DISCLAIMER: All of the information on costs listed above can change at any time and is provided as a useful resource for non-Italian speakers as some of the official sites are only in Italian. Please check those below to double check current costs.
For more information - and to check current rates for the parking garages:
Florence Parking (Italian): http://www.firenzeparcheggi.it/
Scandicci-Florence Tram Route: http://www.gestramvia.it/
Florence ATAF Bus schedule/route info: http://www.ataf.net/
Last update: February 2015