Practical Advice

Students in the M.A. in Political Science graduate program take full advantage of Florence's offerings by engaging in extracurricular activities and becoming part of local life. Many students get involved with local church groups, sports clubs, volunteer organizations, and yoga studios. Others take extra language classes and visit the countless museums and cultural events Florence hosts. Below is a list of useful resources for everyday life in Florence and for travel planning.

Getting Around

Trenitalia: Italian regional and Freccia high speed train schedules, bookings, and promotions.

BusItalia: "Vola in Bus": Airport bus transfer every 30 minutes from Florence Amerigo Vespucci airport to the main train station (Santa Maria Novella). Tickets cost €6 euro one-way and €10 round trip and can be purchased on-board also via contactless card.

Airport Transfer Pisa-Florence: A shuttle bus operates from the Pisa Galileo Galilei Airport to the Florence Tram stop "Guidoni". Tickets cost* €12 euro one-way and €21 round trip and can be purchased on-board also via contactless card. Tram tickets can be purchased at the stop for €1.50. Check online for updates schedules and prices.

Tramway: The Florence tramway line is a convenient way to travel outside of Florence's historical city center. The tram also connects the Florence Amerigo Vespucci airport with the Santa Maria Novella train station.

ATAF: ATAF's buses run all over the city and to the outskirts. Timetables and routes can be found on the website in English and Italian. One-way bus tickets cost €1.50 and can be purchased at most tobacconists' shops. A 'Carnet' (10 rides for €14) or Studente della Toscana student passes are cheap options for frequent riders.

Cultural Activities

Region of Tuscany tourism website: Trip ideas and intineraries for the whole Tuscan region. Great travel resource for bookings and upcoming events.

Florence News: This English-language newspaper provides information, news and events about Florence and Italy.

The Florentine: English language news magazine with comprehensive lists of things to do and see in and around Florence. This is a go-to guide for students and ex-pats in Florence.

The Odeon English Original Sound: The Odeon theatre shows both blockbuster and independent English-language films with Italian subtitles and hosts various film festivals. The schedule for any given month can be found on this website under "Odeon Original Sound."

FirenzeCard: Firenzecard is the official museum pass of City of Florence. The card costs 85€, it is valid for 72 hours starting from the first entrance and it allows you to enter only once into all the museums of the Circuit, to visit permanent collections and temporary exhibitions, accessing through the priority entrances and without making any reservation, except for the Grande Museo del Duomo Complex, Uffizi Gallery and Accademia Gallery (see the FAQs to know the new priority access rules). Adding only 7€ it is possible to purchase the Firenzecard+ also the Firenzecard+ that allows access to the city’s public transport (Ataf&Linea buses and tram) for 72 hours giving the opportunity to benefit from the various offers of affiliated partners (Food&Drink discount, tourist services, entertainment&fun, shopping).

Uffizi PassePartout: Passes are available for the Boboli Gardens, Pitti Palace, the Uffizi, or all Uffizi Galleries for costs that range from 25-70€ annually. Passes are valid 1 year starting from the date chosen by the visitor.

Opera di Firenze: This world-class institution hosts operas, ballets, and concerts. Students can purchase the Maggio pass for significant discounts on shows and festivals.

Opera at St. Mark's: Right around the corner from Palazzo Capponi, JMU's Florence Campus, students can attend the “Opera at St Mark’s” series. Now in their 11th season, the Opera's performances have been critically acclaimed by the Washington Post and The Guardian newspapers – as well as by the many thousands we have welcomed in the audiences.

Traveling: Day Trips and Semester Breaks

Lonelyplanet and Wikitravel are other widely used sources for planning travel around Europe. There are also many travel books in Palazzo Capponi's student study room and first-floor library.

Sports and Athletics 

Capoeira: Growing in popularity in the US and Italy, capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that incorporates music and dance. Capoeira is a great opportunity for students to be active, learn a new sport, and meet Italian friends.

Gym and Tonic: Those students interested in a traditional gym in Italy will find a number of options throughout the city. One convenient option is Gym and Tonic on Via del Leone 10. Gym membership can run upwards of €60 per month, but there are discounts for students who sign up for 3, 6, or 12 month memberships.

Yoga: Alessandra Pepe's yoga studio is a home away from home for any students missing their regular sun salutations. Not even five minutes from the dorms at Palazzo Capponi you can find yoga studios that are you welcoming to people from all walks of life and all levels.

Studying and Research 

Biblioteca delle Oblate: Florence’s public library also has a popular cafe on its top floor. It’s a wonderful setting to meet locals, as many Florentine students study and congregate here. To register for a library card and Wi-Fi internet pass, students must present their passport at the information desk. See the information section of the website for events and operating hours.

European University Institute: Students are granted "external user" access to the EUI. Monday through Friday, students can use the library, its research services, and its internet connection. The EUI cafeteria has a full buffet and made-to-order, restaurant-quality dishes for reasonable prices. 


Many cafes around Florence (especially within the Oltrarno neighborhood) offer free Wi-Fi and cozy spaces for studying and reading. Perennial student favorites near campus include Mama's Bakery and Volume.

Back to Top