Florence Italy - Introduction to your cruise to Florence

Florence Italy tips for cruisers - getting from Livorno to Florence, sights to see in one day, best buys and the most attractive shore excursions and tours!

FlorenceBreathtaking architecture of Florence

Why is Florence Italy so famous?

So what is the first thing you imagine when you think of your upcoming cruise to Florence, Italy?

Whether it’s the first, the second or any of the above, you’re right as you can get to experience all of these (and so much more!) while visiting Florence as part of your Western Mediterranean cruise.

Florence Italy Infographics

Is Florence Italy worth visiting?

Absolutely! Florence is a city that is definitely worth visiting. It is renowned for its rich history, stunning architecture, world-class art, and vibrant cultural scene. Here are a few reasons why Florence is worth a visit:

  • Artistic Masterpieces: Florence is a treasure trove of artistic masterpieces from the Renaissance period. The city is home to renowned art museums such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia Gallery, where you can see iconic works like Michelangelo's David and Botticelli's The Birth of Venus.
  • Architectural Marvels: Florence boasts remarkable architecture, with its crown jewel being the Florence Cathedral (Duomo) and its magnificent dome designed by Brunelleschi. The city's historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is filled with breathtaking buildings, palaces, and piazzas.
  • Rich History: Florence played a significant role in shaping the history of Italy and Europe. It was the birthplace of the Renaissance, and many influential figures from that era left their mark on the city. 
  • Cultural Heritage: Florence offers a vibrant cultural scene, with a wide range of events, festivals, and performances throughout the year. You can enjoy classical music concerts, opera performances, and theater shows, as well as indulge in the city's culinary delights and wine culture.
  • Charming Atmosphere: The city's narrow streets, picturesque bridges, and riverbanks create a charming and romantic ambiance. Whether you're strolling along the Arno River or getting lost in the medieval alleys, Florence's unique atmosphere is captivating and enchanting.
  • Shopping and Fashion: Florence is renowned for its high-quality craftsmanship and is known as a hub for fashion and luxury goods. The city is home to prestigious Italian fashion brands and designer boutiques. You can explore local markets and shops to find unique souvenirs, leather goods, gold jewelry, local wine and more.
  • Proximity to Tuscany: Florence serves as an excellent base for exploring the stunning region of Tuscany. You can take day trips to picturesque Tuscan towns such as Siena, San Gimignano, and Pisa, or venture into the beautiful Tuscan countryside, famous for its vineyards and rolling hills.

  • Where is Florence Italy located?

    Where is Florence Italy located? Where do cruise ships dock for Florence?

    First of all, Firenze (yes, it is the same as Florence) is the capital of the idyllic Tuscany region (remember Under the Tuscan sky or the Room with a View?)

    Florence, Italy, is located inland and is approximately 90 kilometers (56 miles) northeast of the Livorno cruise port. The other port that your ship may dock for visiting Florence is La Spezia

    The two cities, Livorno and Florence, are in the same region of Tuscany but are not directly adjacent to each other. If you're arriving at the Livorno cruise port and wish to visit Florence, you have a few transportation options which you will find about next...

    DavidFlorenceMichelangelo's David replica is located in Piazza della Signoria, but for the real thing, visit Accademia Gallery

    How to get from Livorno to Florence?

    Florence, Italy is definitely not one of the ports in which you can casually walk off the ship and let things unfold without much planning.

    I cannot stress enough: do inform yourself about ways of getting to Florence, last minute solutions do not work on this day!

    When it comes to reaching Florence from the Livorno cruise port, there are several transport options available. 

    1. Train: Taking a train from Livorno Centrale train station to Florence's main train station, Santa Maria Novella, is a popular and convenient option. It allows you to avoid traffic and offers a comfortable and cost-effective means of transportation. It's just that it takes some careful time planning and involves at least 4 steps
    2. Private Transfer or Shore Excursion: Hiring a private transfer, a car service or a private tour provides flexibility and personalized transportation. You can often arrange for a private driver to pick you up and drop you off directly at your desired locations. Today, it is all arranged through tested trusted online operators like Viator, and booked by hundreds of our readers every month. 
    3. Shore Excursions: Many cruise lines offer organized shore excursions from the Livorno cruise port to Florence. These guided tours typically include transportation, a knowledgeable guide, and a pre-planned itinerary that covers the major attractions and highlights of Florence. The only dowside is that they are limited in choice and can be very pricey!
    4. Bus: There are public bus services available from the Livorno cruise port to Florence. However, keep in mind that the bus journey can be longer due to multiple stops and traffic conditions. That is why it is always better to book a spot on seat on a shared bus transfers for cruisers only (they will get you back in time for sure!).

    Once you manage to get there, there’s nothing to worry about, most of the city of Florence, Italy is a big pedestrian zone and it’s perfectly walkable. You will be surprised to see how small it actually is!

    How long does it take to get to Florence from Livorno?

    The duration of the ride from Livorno to Florence depends on the mode of transportation chosen and the traffic conditions. Here are approximate travel times for different modes of transportation:

    1. By train: Taking a train from Livorno Centrale train station to Florence's main train station, called Santa Maria Novella, typically takes around 1.5 to 2 hours. The duration may vary depending on the type of train and the specific schedule.
    2. By car, bus or private shore excursion: Driving from Livorno to Florence usually takes around 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on the route, traffic, and any stops along the way. Private transfers or hiring a car provide flexibility and allow you to customize your itinerary.

    It's important to note that these travel times are estimates and can be subject to variations based on factors such as traffic, time of day, and specific circumstances. 

    Best time to visit Florece Italy

    The best time to visit Florence as a cruiser depends on personal preferences and the specific experiences you are seeking. But when choosing the time for your cruise, these are the two most important factors:

    1. Weather: Florence experiences a Mediterranean climate, with hot summers and mild winters. The most popular time to visit is during the spring (April to June) and fall (September to October) when the weather is pleasant, with mild temperatures and less rainfall. 
    2. Crowds: Florence is a popular tourist destination, and the city can get crowded, especially during peak tourist seasons. The summer months (July and August) tend to have the highest number of visitors, including cruise passengers (however there aren't that many locals around as they are on vacation too!). 

    Read more: 

    Top attractions in Florence Italy

    Florence, Italy takes our breath away with its marble-cladded churches, church towers and stark palazzos hiding the secrets of the notable families that were the movers and shakers of Florence at its golden time in history, the Renaissance.

    The most famous of them being the Medici family of course.


    It’s true, Florence, Italy can be hard to master in a day, but our mission here at Mediterranean Cruise Ports Easy is for you to get there and be very clear about what to see and do in the short 5 or so hours you’re most likely to have there.

    All the Florence, Italy attractions can become so overwhelming it’s important to know what to see if this is your first ever visit and you only have one day.

    Some things you will just have to postpone for your next cruise, or that happy time in life when you get to own that villa in Tuscany, right? ;)

    Read more:

    Does Florence have good shopping?

    No matter how long you stay in this city… always leave some time to simply enjoy this beautiful city, to sit down at one of its lively Piazzas, have a cappuccino, have some gelato and… shop!

    Florence fashion is highly regarded in the world of fashion in general. Actually, I can easily say, Florence is one of its birthplaces.

    That’s why you should seriously take some time to shop here. Things you will see there you will not see anywhere else later on in the cruise: the selection of the famous 18kt Florentine/Italian gold, the softest leather in the world, branded clothes, shoes, and handbags, wines and liquers, olive oils and balsamicos, ceramics, linens and hand-pressed paper!

    Florence is a feast for all of your senses and we hope you have a lot of extra space in your luggage to get at least a little bit of it home, you’ll need it.

    Need a skilled local to guide you in your shopping adventures? Get one here:

    Florence Italy vineyards and winetasting

    If you have visited Florence Italy many times before, or you're staying in this magical city for a few nights before or after your cruise, you should consider taking a daytrip to its wine areas.

    Visiting Florence's vineyards and participating in wine tastings provides a unique and memorable experience for tourists (let's not even mention the photo opportunities).

    These daytrip tours and shore excursions combine history, culture, breathtaking landscapes, and the pleasure of savoring world-class wines: think Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.

    Whether you are a wine enthusiast or simply seeking an authentic Tuscan experience, exploring the vineyards and indulging in wine tastings can be a highlight of your visit to Florence. 

    See the wine tastings I have hand picked for you (some are suited for those based in Florence while the other are from Livorno):

    What food is Florence known for?

    Florence, Italy, is renowned for its culinary traditions and is known for several iconic dishes. The top three foods Florence is famous for are:

    1. Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Florentine Steak): This is one of Florence's most famous dishes and a true carnivore's delight. 
    2. Ribollita: Ribollita is a hearty and traditional Tuscan soup that originated in Florence. 
    3. Lampredotto: Lampredotto is a popular street food specialty of Florence. It is a sandwich made with the fourth stomach of a cow, known as the abomasum, which is slow-cooked in a flavorful broth with herbs and spices. 

    And let's not forget the deserts: cantuccini, crunchy, twice-baked cookies made with almonds, flour, sugar, eggs, and a hint of vanilla; gelatto (Florence is known for its unique gelato flavors that incorporate local ingredients such as saffron, Vin Santo, and Tuscan honey) and Schiacciata alla Fiorentina, a traditional Florentine sponge cake.

    Are you drooling already? Because I sure am! Want something to really look forward to when in Florence? Book one of these gourmet tours: