Last updated on September 28th, 2023
If you’re flying to Italy to visit Florence (David! Uffizi! Gelato! Michelangelo! Ponte Vecchio!) or other destinations in Tuscany, chances are you’ve looked at using the Florence International Airport.
In general, it’s an easy and stress-free airport to use if you’re visiting Florence and the Tuscan countryside. It’s small, close to Florence, and easily connected to the city.
Like every airport, it has its quirks (just one runway, no direct long-haul flights).
In this quick guide, I’ll walk you through what you need to know and consider if you’re thinking about flying into the Florence airport. I’ll also give you alternatives to consider (and that we often use).
I’m using my experience flying in and out of the Florence airport since 2003 – as a budget traveler, business traveler, and now mostly as a leisure traveler (with my three young boys).
Here’s what you need to know about the Florence airport:
Table of Contents
Florence Airport – Quick Facts
Florence Italy Airport Code: FLR
Name(s): Florence Peretola Airport, Florence International Airport, Florence Amerigo Vespucci Airport
Number of Terminals: 1
Distance from Florence: 6 km
Connections to Florence: Tram, Taxi – you can be in the center in 20 minutes
Rental Car On-Site: Yes, quick 3-5 minute shuttle to lot and offices
Frustrating to Use: No, I find it to be quite easy to fly in and out of
Official Website: https://www.aeroporto.firenze.it/en/
Reasons to Use Florence Airport for Your Flight to Italy
The Airport is Small and Manageable – No long walks, shuttles between terminals, or confusing layouts. The Florence airport is well-signed and it’s easy to find where you’re going, and to get there quickly (on foot).
Easy Transport from Florence City Center to the Airport – I love that you can take the tram and you’re at the airport in 18 minutes. You can also take a taxi for door-to-door transport.
The VAT Checkout is Easy – The office is open at 4:30, so you can use it for early flights (don’t stress!). I just spoke to the staff there and they said the main problem they see is the store entering the passport number incorrectly on the form. If this happens, the VAT office can’t process your refund. So, double-check when you’re making your purchases.
Close to Many Tourist Destinations – The Florence airport is located near Florence, Chianti, Lucca, Pisa, Siena, and many more places that may be on your Italy bucket list. You can also easily reach further destinations by train from Florence – it’s on high-speed and regional lines.
Reasons I Don’t Love the Florence Airport
No Direct Long-Haul Flights – The Florence airport’s runway is short, so large planes can’t land here. That means if you’re coming from the US (or another long-haul flight), you’ll need to land elsewhere in Europe and change to a smaller plane to travel to Florence.
If you want to take a direct flight from the US (or other countries that require long flights), investigate flying into Bologna (BLQ) or Pisa (PSA).
Weather Causes Disruptions – Because the runway is short, if there’s bad weather (including wind or heavy rain), your flight may get re-routed to a nearby airport like Bologna. If this happens, you’ll have the option to take a bus to Florence (or take other transportation, at your cost).
Check-In Lines Can Be Long – I find that about 50% of the time I fly out of Florence the line to check in and drop bags is really long and slow. Sometimes there’s just one agent helping everyone.
Sometimes the Traffic Around the Airport Makes Me Sweat – If you’re returning a rental car to the airport or taking a taxi to catch your flight, allow extra time to account for traffic between Florence and the airport. You can easily get stuck on the A11 between the Autostrada exit toll booth and the airport. I allow an extra 30-60 minutes of time ‘just in case’ if I’m driving to the airport.
Florence Airport Alternatives
I always recommend checking rates and flight schedules at:
Pisa Galileo Galilei (PSA) – Also known as Pisa International Airport. We end up using Pisa for flights between Italy and Europe, but I have clients who have flown into Pisa on long-haul flights (usually only offered in the summer high season).
If you fly into Pisa, you can easily get to Florence. Read how in my guide on Traveling from the Pisa Airport to Florence.
Bologna Guglielmo Marconi (BLQ) – Also known as Bologna International Airport. We use this airport often, as we can usually find direct flights and flight prices are competitive. The airport is a manageable size and has bars and restaurants, an easy check-in process, and the car rental is on-site (you walk to it). For my boys, the main selling point is the Lamborghini on display in the terminal.
If you fly into Bologna, you can connect with Florence via the Marconi Express (between the Bologna airport and Bologna Centrale train station) and then the regular train (between Bologna Centrale train station and Florence Santa Maria Novella train station).
Milan Malpensa (MXP), Rome Fiumicino (FCO), and Venice Marco Polo (VCE) – These aren’t close to Florence, but they have the most selection of direct flights and prices are competitive (just remember to add the cost of the train to Florence in your calculations). These airports are all much bigger than Florence, Pisa, or Bologna, so you’ll want to allow more time for your arrival, waiting in lines, and finding your way to your gate.
What We Do: When flying between Italy and the US (our family’s most commonly flown route), I look for the best rates and try to fly with as few stops as possible. We usually end up flying out of Florence, Bologna, or Rome.
Landing at Florence Airport
- When you land at the Florence airport, your plane will park, you’ll disembark onto a shuttle bus, and it will drive you to the baggage claim.
- Get one of the few luggage carts if you need one, and then wait for your luggage (be patient). If it doesn’t arrive, fill out the lost luggage form with the staff in the baggage claim area (and be sure to have them give you the correct number you can call to check the status – at the time of writing, it’s +39 051 6479647, between 12:00-14:00 and 18:30-20:30).
- Exit baggage claim with your luggage. You’ll walk past customs and just keep walking unless they stop to ask you questions. Remember that once you exit into the terminal, you can’t walk back into the baggage claim area.
- Use the facilities at the airport (more on those below) if needed.
- Travel to Florence the Florence city center, the airport rental car location, or wherever your destination is!
Flying Out of Florence Airport
- You can get to the airport by public transport (tram, taxi) or drive your rental car back to the lot and take the quick shuttle to the airport.
- Enter the airport terminal (it’s tiny!) and walk up the stairs (or take the escalator or the elevator) to the check-in desks. If you have a VAT refund to process, go to the left before you go upstairs.
- At the check-in desks, wait in line to check-in and drop your bags. Yes, there are bag drop kiosks, but I’ve yet to see them functioning. Let me know if they’re working when you’re there!
- Go through security. There’s just one security line but I’ve never experienced a crazy line. Have your boarding pass out to scan to walk through the stalls. There’s a family line on the left.
- On your walk (5-10 minutes) to the gates, you’ll pass a few shops.
- Then you’ll take a short escalator (or the elevator) down to the level of the gates. There are a few shops and a café at the gates.
- At the Florence airport, you don’t board directly from the terminal. Instead, you’ll hop on a bus that will take you to your plane and you’ll need to walk up the steps to enter the plane. Sometimes you’ll have the option to board in the back of the plane as well.
- Buon viaggio!
Florence Airport – What’s Inside
Toilets – There are bathrooms on both levels of the terminal before you go through security. The best toilets (with diaper changing tables too) are on the first floor (not the ground floor).
Dining – There’s a small bar/café by the main door, and a larger café by the bookshop – both on the ground floor. You can get coffee, soda, juice, light packaged snacks, and pastries and panini.
Bookshop – The Hudson bookshop on the main floor has books, newspapers, magazines, toys, souvenirs, and light packaged snacks.
VAT Refunds – Office on the ground floor. It’s open early in the morning, so you’ll be able to process your refund before your flight. Remember to bring your documents and your passport to the office along with your items – that means you need to stop here before you check in. Yes, I know sometimes you’re not asked to show your purchases, but here in Florence you may be asked to show your (unworn/unused) purchases.
Seating Areas – If you’re waiting to check in, there are just a handful of seats upstairs by the check-in desks. You can wait in the small seating area on the ground floor by arrivals, or at one of the cafés – the one next to the Hudson bookshop has more seating available.
Tourist Info – There’s a small booth to your left as you exit the baggage claim. The staff can give you maps and answer questions.
Pharmacy – No pharmacy on site, but this is a first aid station on the ground floor.
Florence Airport with Kids
Florence Airport doesn’t have any kid-specific amenities like play areas, but I find it to be easy to fly in and out of with my family.
Diaper Changes – Head upstairs to the bathroom (on the left at the top of the stairs) that has a changing table.
Strollers – You can bring your stroller with you to the gate. Just let the check-in agent know you want to gate-check it. You’ll need to take the elevator a couple of times (when you enter to go up to check-in and to get down to the gates).
Snacks – You can get food at small cafés before or after you check in. If you’re not a big pastry or panino fan, bring your own snacks (if you’re flying out, stop at a grocery store in Florence on your way to the airport).
Water – You’ll need to buy bottles of water on the gate side of security. You can try to bring small bottles of water or juice for toddlers – sometimes they’ll let you bring it through security, sometimes they won’t.
Florence (Italy) Airport FAQ
No, you can’t spend the night at the airport, as it closes at night and reopens early in the morning