This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.
While our International Ground Guide is undergoing some maintenance, we thought we’d provide our usual service of advice and information for travelling supporters in brief blog form.
Once up and running again our ground guide will cover all manner of information from travel options to hotel advice, eating and drinking suggestions to practical tips on getting around, along with safety and security advice and anything else we think will be of use to travelling supporters.
We’ll do our best to find out what you need to know, either from our own vast experience in covering England and Wales games abroad, or from our friends at Football Supporters Europe.
There are two main routes to Florence – the direct one, using Amerigo Verspucci Airport (also known as Peretola), and the indirect one, using Pisa’s Galileo Galilei. The former offers a quicker service to the city, naturally, but a number of low-budget carriers operate services to Pisa (Easyjet, Ryanair and Transavia, for instance) and so this is often the preferred option to those for whom money is tight.
If travelling direct to Florence, the airport is connected by bus to the city centre which costs €4.50 for a single trip. They run every half an hour during the day, and hourly early in the morning and late at night.
If arriving in Pisa there are 6 direct train services from the airport to Florence’s Santa Maria Novella station (costing €5.60) at: 0641, 1143, 1243, 1753, and 2220. If these times aren’t the best for when your flight arrives there are regular buses from the airport to Pisa, from where trains leave to Florence every half hour. The bus transfer from the airport to Pisa costs
The buses from Pisa airport direct to Florence cost €10 but leave more often than the trains from the airport, at: 0840, 0950, 1030, 1200, 1245, 1510, 1610 and 1740.
There are overnight trains that run from Paris and Munich that cost around €100, or to Vienna which costs from €70, as well as connections to all major Italian cities. Fans may choose to fly into other northern Italian cities such as Bologna or Milan, from where they can connect to Florence quite easily. For the most up-to-date information on train times visit either or TrenItalia (Italian state railways – in English).
About the Ground
The ground is located a mile or so to the east of the main city centre in a large sports complex, near the Stazione Campo Marte.
The stadium opened in 1931, and while initially known as the Communale stadium, its name was changed in the early nineties to honour the former Italian FA Chief Artemio Franchi. The current capacity is just over 47,000, and visiting clubs can expect an allocation of over 2,000 tickets.
It is notable for the 230 foot tower that stands within its grounds, known as the Tower of Marathon.
On the picture above, the away supporters are located at the near right hand corner of the ground, just out of shot.
For a view from inside the ground, click here – the away end is the white section, so the camera from SO1 gives a close up view (similar to the above photograph), or the camera at NO2 shows it from the other side of the ground.
Getting to the Ground (By Public Transport)
The stadium is close to the ‘Firenze Campo di Marte’ which is accessible from the city centre main station, ‘Santa Maria Novella’, a number of buses (the 7, 17 or 20) will also take supporters to the stadium.
Eating and Drinking
If you’re a vegetarian, you’ll be missing out on one of Florence’s renowned dishes – Bistecca all Fiorentina which is a large T-Bone steak that is ordered by weight, typically in increments of 100g. For those of you still in old money, 100g is around 3 and a half ounces, and most restaurants will serve a 500g steak as a bare minimum (or around 17/18 oz).
As with just about everywhere in Italy, Gelato is easy to come by, and something of a delicacy. Ice-cream lovers will find just about any flavour they could want (even garlic!), and the best places make it on the premises themselves.
Fast food can come in the shape of slices of pizza (also ordered by weight) from the various stands and take-away windows throughout the city, or for the more adventurous, you could try the local delicacy of lampredotto, which is tripe dish served with herbs and tomatoes and a hunk of bread, and can be found being dished out from carts across the city.
The local tipple? Well you can’t go wrong with a good Chianti. We’d avoid the liver and fava beans, though.
Main Drinking Areas
The Santa Croce area (south-east of the Duomo, towards the river) is well known for its bars, but most of the main Piazzas boast a couple of drinking venues apiece, and the back streets of the old town are littered with smaller cafés and bars where you can find a drink.
Prices are pretty expensive in bars and restaurants, though – you’re not likely to find many places with a beer at less than €4/5, and in some restaurants we found prices even more expensive than that, pushing double figures for a half litre. As ever, the closer to the main tourist sites the heftier the bill.
Irish & English Pubs
The Fiddler’s Elbow can be found on Piazza Santa Maria Novella, adjacent to the train station, and their website gives full details on the oldest Irish pub in Florence.
Finnegan’s Irish Pub on Via San Gallo (about 5 minutes north of the Duomo) is another option which is relatively central. Find out more about them here.
Lastly but by no means leastly, there’s always the Lion’s Fountain on Borgo Albizi in the east end of town. Plenty of familiar beers on tap, along with pub-grub.
Rather than recommending particular restaurants or trattorie, we’ll just give you one bit of advice – in general, the further away you get from the Duomo, the better the food and value for money you’re likely to find. There are some rather nasty tourist trap type restaurants in the centre of the old town, so don’t be afraid to wander slightly further afield, even south of the river – you’re bound to be rewarded.
As with pretty much all cities, the more central you are, the better located, but unfortunately this comes at a premium. Hotels on the fringes of the old town in Florence often offer better value for money than being right in the middle of the action.
With the city centre being fairly small and easily walkable, we’d advise checking out the location of any prospective hotels on a map before booking – while it’s ok to be on the fringes of the old town, being out in the sticks wouldn’t be the best move.
There are dozens of smaller hotels on the major roads around the city centre (such as Via Nazionale, near the Santa Maria Novella train station) so there’s plenty of choice for those travelling to Florence. We’d recommend a comparison site such as Booking.com orHotels.com to see what’s available, and narrow down according to your budget/needs.
There are plenty of budget options for fans travelling to Florence – from campsites (Camping Michelangelo on the south side of the river, close to Piazza Michelangelo, for instance) to the usual B&B’s and Hostels.
We’d recommend having a look at the Plus Florence Hostel, which offers beds from around €20 a night, in dorms of up to 8 people. The hostel also has its own swimming pool, bar, restaurant, gym and roof terrace. Not at all bad, we reckon.
If that doesn’t float your boat, or if it’s booked up, there’s plenty of other hostels and cheap alternatives available throughHostelbookers.
Florence is known as the ‘cradle of the renaissance’, and was one of Europe’s most important and influential cities during the middle Ages. But while it became famous in the 14th century, its history dates back to Julius Caesar, who established the settlement of Florentia in 59 BC.
The centre of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and rightly so, due to its collection of stunning churches, basilicas and original medieval and renaissance architecture. The Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral (otherwise known as the Duomo) is one of the largest in Europe, and the Santa Croce Basilica is the burial place of such luminaries as Michelangelo and Galileo, among others.
We’d recommend picking up a map before heading out into the streets – a lot of those winding medieval streets and piazzas can look the same, although the Duomo’s a handy enough point of reference if you’re in the city centre, it can get a little trickier further afield.
Main Tourist Sights
The city makes for a rather stunning spectacle at night.
The main sights are based in the old town, and the two most imposing are the Duomo and Giotto’s Tower (which you can see above). Both offer spectacular views over the city if you’re prepared to climb the 400-odd steps to the top, but the pay-off is worth the €6 entry fee for either.
The Palazzo Vecchio is the old city hall, and has a replica of Michelangelo’s ‘David’ outside, with numerous statues and renaissance paintings inside. Santa Croce is one of the city’s more famous churches, and home to tombs of some noted Italians such as Machiavelli, Michelangelo and Galileo.
Spanning the river you’ll find the Ponte Vecchia (literally the Old Bridge), the only bridge that survived bombing in World War 2, which is lined with shops and traders.
Getting Around Generally
The recommended way of getting around Florence is by foot – many of the city centre streets are pedestrianised, although largely because they are too small for cars and buses to fit through. The historical centre is easily covered on foot, although a lot of the locals will use scooters for zipping around.
This FSF guide has been produced ahead of the Champions League final fixture between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool in Madrid on Saturday 1st June. It will be updated as and when we receive new information from Uefa or local sources.