View of Florence, Italy's Ponte Vecchio bridge on a sunny day. You can see puffy white clouds and there are buildings on both sides of the river.

UBER in Florence, Italy – It’s NOT the UBER You Know and Love

If you’re an Uber user in your home country, you probably are hoping to use it on your upcoming trip to Italy.

Or, maybe you’re already here and desperately seeking a ride from the Florence train station to Piazzale Michelangelo for the sunset.

Either way, you’ll want to look into an alternative (more on those below), because the Uber you know and love is NOT available in Florence (or anywhere in Italy).

A Little Background:  There’s been a lot of conflict between Uber and Italian taxi drivers.  Getting and maintaining a taxi license is a complicated and costly process, so Italian taxi drivers are understandably very protective of their licenses and livelihoods.  Uber continues to push to enter the market, but the Uber you use in your home country cannot legally operate here.

Uber in Florence – What it Is and What it Isn’t

Uber technically exists here in Florence.  That is, you can open up your Uber app on your phone and request a ride here.  But, what you’ll be getting is an ‘Uber Black,’ an NCC – noleggio con conducente (private driver). 

Here’s an example I pulled up about an hour ago for a ride from the Florence SMN train station to Piazzale Michelangelo:

A licensed Florence taxi fare (which uses the taximeter) would be between €15-20. 

As you can see, the rate for the Uber Black is more expensive, at €37.11.  And, I just requested a ride again, and the rate is €59.23.  That’s a lot of Aperol spritzes or trips to the gelateria!

To summarize, in Florence, using the Uber app is a way to call a private driver (NCC).  You will pay a premium for the service.

Alternatives to Uber in Florence, Italy

So, you’re asking, how can I get a ride in Florence?  Here are your options:

  1. Call a licensed taxi.
  2. Take the bus.
  3. Take the tram.
  4. Hire a private driver (NCC).
  5. Use a pickup service.

Good To Know:  Yes, you can also utilize an e-scooter service, but I don’t recommend them for a couple of reasons – you don’t get a helmet with them, and the streets and traffic in Florence are not great for e-scooters.  Many streets are bumpy or have cobblestones, and you’ll be navigating the Florentine roads full of cars, motorcycles, scooters (like small motorcycles), and pedestrians.  If you understand the risks and are an experienced e-scooter rider, you can make an educated decision.

Call a Licensed Taxi in Florence

Taxi driver sitting in car in a parking lot in Italy. Driver looking at photographer.

How to Call a Taxi in Florence

You can’t just hail a cab on the streets of Florence.  You can get a taxi in Florence by:

  • Waiting at a taxi stand in Florence.  You’ll find taxi stands scattered throughout Florence (see the map), at major landmarks and points of interest, like in front of train stations, at Piazzale Michelangelo,
  • Calling a taxi to meet you where you are.  You can call 055.4242 or 055.4390 to have a taxi meet you where you are (your hotel, in front of a museum, etc.  If you’re dialing from your US number, you’ll need to add +39 in front (0039 055.4242, for example).
  • Have someone call a taxi for you.  If you want a ride to the airport, your hotel reception can reserve a ride for you.  Or, if you’ve finished a lovely dinner at Gucci Osteria and need a ride back to your hotel, the staff at the restaurant can call a cab for you.
  • Use an app – the AppTaxi app.  While Florentine taxi drivers rejected the itTaxi app, they do work with AppTaxi and TAXIMove.  AppTaxi and TAXIMove give you another way to ‘call’ a taxi, just via the apps.  You can also pay via the AppTaxi app.  The taxi called will still use the meter.

Best For: Trips in the city; rides between the airport and the city center

Helpful Tip:  It’s often quicker to call your own taxi than to wait in line (especially at busy times at the train station.  Just walk across the street and call a cab or reserve one with AppTaxi or TAXIMove. 

Good To Know:  There are sometimes supplements added to the fare.  See examples here.

Good To Know: You can leave a tip by rounding up (for example, leave €10 for a €9.50 fare). 

Take the Bus in Florence

The buses in Florence are run by Autolinee Toscane (no longer ATAF).  I think the easiest ways to buy a bus ticket are in the automatic vending machines, using the ‘at bus’ app, or on the bus (paying a little bit more). 

I find it’s easiest to plan the route using the ‘at bus’ app or Google Maps. 

Best For: Travelers on a budget; when you want to take multiple rides in a day (taxi costs add up!)

Good To Know:  If you have a paper ticket, you need to validate it in the small machine on the bus.  If the machine isn’t working, write the date and time on the ticket.

Good To Know:  Kids under 100cm ride for free.

Take the Tram in Florence

front section of the front of the tram from florence airport to city center, waiting at the stop at the airport

The tram isn’t particularly helpful for moving around the historic center, but it’s great for reaching some outer areas like the Firenze Peretola Airport (FLR). 

You can purchase the tram tickets in the automatic machines at the stops.

Best For:  Getting to/from the airport

Good To Know:  The trams get really crowded during commuter hours.

You may want to read
How to Travel from the Florence Airport to the City Center
Florence Airport Quick Guide

Hire a Private Driver in Florence

ncc decal close up from the back of a private driver's van
Close up of the NCC decal

You can book a private driver (NCC – noleggio con conducente) for transfers like from the airport to the city, or for day trips from Florence into the countryside. 

Best For:  Reserving rides in advance.

Good To Know:  You don’t need to book private transfers for rides in Florence – just use a taxi!

Good To Know:  Licensed NCC drivers have a special NCC decal on the back of their cars near the license plate.  If your driver’s car does not have this license, don’t take the ride.

Helpful Tip:  Ask if your driver speaks English.  Having a driver you can communicate with can make the drive even better because you can ask about life in Italy, things you see on the drive, etc.

Use a Pickup Service in Florence

If you’re arriving at the Florence airport and need a ride, or you want to book private drivers through an English-language service, you can book a ride through a service like Welcome Pickups.  This is most handy if you need a car seat for the ride. 

Best For:  Families who want to book a private transfer with a car seat; if you feel more comfortable making bookings in English or with a major company (vs booking with individual private drivers in Florence).

Good To Know:  If you don’t have a car seat but don’t want to book a private airport transfer or ride in a taxi without a car seat, you can always take the tram into the city center (and then walk or take the bus).  It’s a little more complicated logistically (walking, carrying luggage and kids), but can be done.

Uber in Florence Italy FAQ

Florence taxis waiting outside the train station.
Taxis waiting at the taxi stand in front of the Florence SMN train station

Read more about Exploring Tuscany Without a Car

Does Lyft operate in Florence?

No, Lyft doesn’t operate in Florence.  You can use your Uber app to reserve a ride with an NCC (private driver), called Uber Black here in Italy.

How can I get from Florence to my hotel in the Tuscan countryside?

You can use a taxi, a private driver, or rent your own car.  A rental car is the best option if you plan on exploring the Tuscan countryside and visiting small villages). Read more about Renting a Car in Tuscany and Renting a Car at the Florence Airport.

Is Uber in Florence the same as it is in the United States?

No, Uber in Florence utilizes licensed private drivers (NCC – noleggio con conducente).  Your Uber driver in Florence will be a professional private driver.

Do the taxi apps in Florence call a traditional taxi or a private driver?

The taxi apps that are currently available in Florence (AppTaxi and TAXIMove) will call a traditional taxi (a licensed Florence taxi cab).

Is using public transportation in Florence a decent alternative to using Uber Black and private drivers?

Yes, the public transportation in Florence tends to be reliable and efficient.  I have used the trams and buses alone and with kids and have always been happy with the service.