Bus transport is well developed in Italy and I have found it to be be quite punctual, comfortable, economical and relaiable.
We need to look at two types:
Type A – ATAF Buses:
Local buses in Florence are run by a company called ATAF. These serve on many routes through the city and provide quite convenient connections between various suburbs and the centre. They make frequent stops and as Florence is a rapidly changing city in terms of streets ‘changing from just this way to just that’ the routing will tend to vary. You take your bus by the number. For example, a convenient bus from the centre to the ‘park and ride car park’ is number 23. You cannot buy tickets on the bus, instead, the easiest place to get them is tobacconists. They cost €1.20 each and like trains it is vital to validate them on the bus – that is put them in the machine and date and time stamp them. Checks are made and if you are found to be travelling on an unvalidated ticket, the fine is in excess of €50- being a foreign tourist is no excuse. Once validated, you can travel on the bus for 70 minutes – you can go from bus to bus. Sometimes when I go to the supermarket, providing I am quick, I can go on a bus, stamp my ticket, do my shopping and travel back all on the same ‘stamping’.
The routes tend to be quite tortuous, expect that you might have to stand and night buses have the number on a black background at the bus stops. You can buy tickets individually or in electronic cards which are valid for 10 or 20 rides (€10 / €20 respectively s0 there is a cost saving here. With these electronic tickets you wave them over the appropriate part of the ticket machine and the bleep and show the message that your ticket is decreased. These are convenient for a family – just swipe by the number of people.
Type B – SITA Buses
The SITA bus company runs buses all over Italy, but here in Tuscany, they are a good way of getting around. Certainly from La Massa to Florence they are invaluable being much the easier option to go by bus directly from Strada to the SITA bus station in Florence. Parking can be very difficult and expensive in the city and you tend to have to take a taxi from where you park into town. The bus costs €4.20 each way with tickets being available in the bars in Strada.
Drive to Strada and park in the newer square (on the right as you drive towards Poppi. You will see the bus stop – as you get on the bus, be sure to validate (cancel) your ticket in the machine by the door. The bus will terminate at the bus station in Florence near to the train station – be sure to note your route as you leave. It is about a 10 minute walk to the centre of the city.
On your return, be at the bus station in good time if you intend to get the last bus back – your bus will say ‘Bibbiena’. The journey time is just over 90 minutes with the last bus leaving Florence for La Massa at 17:10 I will give a link to the timetable below. Do not be surprised if the bus stops en-route for the driver to have a coffee – you can do the same, just watch the driver and leave when he does, the bus will not wait.
The bus often stops at a rural station where people will change from one bus to another. Just sit tight – you stay on the same bus
From the SITA bus station in Florence you can also catch other buses around Tuscany. Guests at DeiMori Bed and Breakfast often use these to travel to Siena – a journey of just over an hour. You need to catch the Siena Rapid – a frequent service which takes you directly to the centre of the city of Siena (unlike the train which leaves you at the station well away from the centre). There is a ticket office at the bus station.
As with ATAF buses, it is important to validate your ticket. checks are made, the fines are horrible, being a tourist is no excuse.
There are lots of other routes you can take – enjoy
The SITA bus company also runs an airport shuttle bus which runs twice an hour (on the hour and half hour). The cost is €5 pperson. Come out of arrivals, turn right and walk throughthe gathered taxis (giving them withering looks as you go) and stand with the poor people at the bus stop. You buy the ticket on the bus. The journey time is about 20 minutes and the bus stops at the train station. We do this if we are on our own , but if you are two, it is scarcely worth it. There is no point in paying €5 to get to the station and then taking a €10 taxi to DeiMori – better to get the €20 odd taxi straight to DeiMori – this even more so when there are two of you. Just ask the taxi driver for Hotel DeiMori in Via Dante Alighieri. When travelling to the airport from the city centre, the bus can be found right opposite the taxis on the station forecourt. You can buy tickets from the driver.