What documents do I need to start my life in Florence?
This depends entirely on what type of stay it is (elective immigration, joining family, a new job, the new tax deal) but as a rough guide you will need a valid passport, a work visa, a work permit, residence permit and of course a codice fiscale. Some you need before you get here, others once you arrive.
How do I rent a house?
The best way is to use a good agent, explain what you’re after and visit as many properties as possible. I work with an excellent, trustworthy, English speaking agent. If you can’t be there I can do virtual visits and advise on the area and rental costs.
Am I allowed to drive?
Yes, you are. However, if you come from a non-EU country, you need to change your license to an Italian one within one year.
How do I hire a car?
You can hire a car long or short term, you need your driving license and a good credit card. There are offices at the airport to hire cars from.
How do I buy a car?
Again you need a number of documents to be able to buy a car in Italy, these are: a valid Italian ID, a permesso di soggiorno, a codice fiscale and a certificate of residence.
Can I bring my car from the US or Europe?
The short answer is yes. Depending on where you’re bringing it from, you’ll need a different set of documents. It is compulsory to change the number plates to Italian ones within 60 days of your arrival.
How do I get a parking ticket?
You can get a ticket from the machines on the side of the road using a credit card or coins, you can also download the app suggested on the machine itself.
How do I pay for a driving fine?
The best way to pay for a fine is as soon as you receive it, because you can do it online. If you wait more than 14 days, you will need to wait for a second more expensive fine to arrive in the post, you can usually pay for this at the post office or the Commune offices. Unfortunately at the moment, you need to pay for all fines within 5 days, at the post-office, this is due to some restrictions after Covid. http://www.poliziamunicipale.comune.fi.it/tourist_help.html
How do I get a smart pass for car parks and tolls?
The best way to get a Telepass is to either get it at your own bank or go to a Punto Blu, near the highways.
Can I drive in the city centre?
Yes and no. In Florence there is ZTL (Zona Traffico Limitato) this means you cannot drive in the Historical centre of Florence, unless it’s after 8pm, before 7am or during national holidays and Sundays. All these rules vary without notice and the best thing to do is to look at the ZTL traffic lights to see if they’re green or red. There are also no-go areas at anytime of day or night, including the Duomo, Piazza Pitti and Ponte Vecchio.
Where can I park to access the city centre?
There are many car parks in and around the city of Florence. http://www.fipark.com/
Are these country roads really two-way?
YES! Take a deep breath, stay as far to your right as possible and drive safely! Sometimes a bus will be coming the other way, just reverse, they’ve seen it all before.
What’s the public transport like?
This is a difficult question and is relative to where you’re coming from. If you live in and around the city, you can get around on buses and trams quite easily, but if you live up in the hills, you need your own transport for sure. http://www.ataf.net/en/ataf.aspx?idC=2&LN=en-US
Do I need to pay for health insurance?
As a tourist you have the same rights as locals in the event of an emergency, this means your treatment is free, or very low cost. When you become a permanent resident, you will have a right to the Servicio Sanitario Nazionale (SSI), this is free or very cheap at the point of service.
How do I open a bank account?
Usually all you need is a valid passport and a codice fiscale, some banks have other requirements. In the beginning you can always just get a N26 account online until you’ve settled in.
How do I get from the airport to Florence?
There are a number of ways to do this. The simplest is by taxi, a ride to or from the airport to the city centre should cost you no more than 25€ including all the extras for bags. If you’re going outside the centre it will cost you more, sometimes a lot more. There is a new tram service that takes you from the centre to the airport, and vice-versa, which is quick and efficient.
What schools are there in Florence?
Florence has excellent choices of good schools and each family should consider what is best in each context. If you’re here for life you might want to send your little ones to the local school, it is free and of high standard. There are also a number of Italian speaking private schools, you might choose those for religious reasons. Florence also has a French school and a fantastic International school.
Where is it good to live?
This depends on the size of your family, your priorities, where you’ll work. If you want to live in the centre, keep in mind parking is difficult to find, but you may not even need a car at all, everything is nearby. If you want to live in the Tuscan hills, you’ll have hardly any public transport, but your home is likely to be truly amazing. There are little towns and wonderful areas around Florence to explore. So, the short answer is everywhere is good, but we can choose together where it’s good for you.
How do I get a SIM for my phone?
As soon as you arrive at the airport, there will be places selling SIMs, these may not be the best deals at that moment, so if you’re here long-term it’s best to have a look in the city. iPhones in Italy come unlocked, and if you buy it here, you can use it all over the world.
Can I have satellite TV?
Yes! There are many offers available and your Netflix should work here with some local restrictions.
How do I learn about the local History?
The most fun way is by hiring a guide, the best one and most popular with people coming from abroad is Elaine.
Will my kids care about the History?
Good question, but one way to try and make sure they do is to hire a guide who specialises in children, Florence has a very good one.
Are there good dentists?
Yes, there is a very competent and skilled dentist near Porta Romana, you can park just outside the clinic. Ask for Laura, she speaks English.
Are there English speaking doctors?
Yes! The one who seems to have the best approach and has a lot of contacts is Dr Kerr.
Are there English speaking therapists?
The best: https://www.paolomolino.com/en/
Where can I go to the gym?
There are many gyms in Florence, some right in the centre, some a bit outside. Here’s a couple of links to help you decide:
These FAQs are for reference only, any legal advice should be received from a lawyer. Please check your immigration status before you travel.The contents of this page should not be taken as an authoritative statement of Italian law and practice. Neither the author nor the publisher are responsible for the results of actions taken on the basis of information contained in this summary, nor for any errors or omissions. This text is not intended to render legal, accounting or tax advice. Readers are encouraged to seek professional advice concerning specific matters before making any decision.