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A Tuscan Texan immersed in Florentine life

Cheap bike rental in Florence, it really does exist

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One weekend my friends and I were looking (as usual) for something cheap and fun to do in Florence, and we wanted to rent bikes. There are various places where you can do so, but many are quite expensive – 15 euros a day or more and it just didn’t seem worth it to us. Lo, and behold with a little searching (in Italian) we figured out that the city actually has a service for both residents and non for bike rental and it’s cheap.

The website that runs this service is called http://www.bicifirenze.it/cms2/index.php and bike service is available Monday-Saturday 8 am-7 pm from March until October. From November to February the hours are 10 am-5 pm. It is easy to spot the bright purple bikes near the taxi stand at the train station Santa maria novella, and you can also check Via Ghiberti where they also have a distribution point.


The purple bikes to travel along florence

So what are the prices? They offer hourly, daily, and monthly prices and if you are a resident of Florence, hold a monthly ATAF bus or train pass, you are in luck, it’s almost unbelievably cheap. Make sure you bring a document, your carta d’identita, passport, or valid I.D.

One hour = 1 euro | One Day = 3 euros | One month = 22 euros

For non-residents or tourists prices are

One hour = 2 euros | Five hours = 5 euros | One Day = 10 euros

Rules: If the bike is returned late, the penalty is 10 euros. If you do not want to leave an I.D. as a deposit then they ask for 50 euros until the bike is returned.

On a side note, the city of Firenze is actively trying to get people out and about on bikes and encourage residents to leave their cars at home in favor of two-wheel motor-less transportation. The Florentine recently wrote about the future of ‘bike-sharing’ in the city and spoke with the local commissioner of bike-related activities here http://www.theflorentine.net/articles/article-view.asp?issuetocId=7493.

We found the whole process to be easier than we imagined and we got some pretty good bikes with baskets and locks. I recommend sticking to the bike paths along the river (there is a really nice one that goes towards Florence south that is really popular) or even riding through Cascine Park would be a nice ride. We ended up going everywhere and ended up grabbing a coffee on top of the Oblate Library for a break and returned our bikes at 7 pm on the dot.

Cascine Park in florence
Photo Credit: Evansflo

So next time you’re in the city, or visiting, go ahead and rent a bike! It’s fun, easy and a great excuse to over-eat at dinner ;). At least now you’ll know why you see bright purple bikes everywhere, don’t think they are all over-zealous Fiorentina fans. If you are looking to buy a bike, you can check out this section of the site here, or check the Facebook group ‘ second-hand sales in Florence’, sometimes they have bikes for sale.

Happy Cycling! 

 

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60 Responses

    1. Sorry, hit post too soon. We’re going to be in the Tuscany area for our honeymoon in June. We’re getting the rail passes, and are on a budget. We saw how expensive it is renting a car, parking it, and even the driving seems difficult! Our resort is 7 miles away from the train station…it is through the country side. Is it feasible to rent a bike to keep for the 14 days there, and leave it at the train station while we travel? We found the site Florence By Bike, but it’s 22 euros a day. Any recommendations? Tips? BTW, noticed your from Texas, we just moved to TX a yr ago and love it! 🙂

      1. you can rent the bikes monthly for a low cost so you can even just ask them how much it would be for 14 days, the bikes are at a stand in front of the main train station. See how the road is to arrive from your resort to the city so you know if its worth it, otherwise just rent it daily. hope that helps!

  1. Loving your blog, a wealth of information for when we go to Florence next weekend. 🙂

    No bike hire on a Sunday?

  2. Hoping to rent a good touring bike in Florence in July to drop off 2-3 weeks later in Venice. Is there anyone who does that?

  3. Thanks for info on biking. Trouble is I don’t know Italian. Is there contact info you could provide, maybe an address & email? Link was all in Italian. Thank you.
    Linda

    1. Yeah unfortunately they do not have their site in English but you can spot them outside of the central train station by the tax stand (purple bikes) or by calling this number 349-4728131 (I got it off the site), I couldn’t find an email though, sorry!

      1. Hi there /// Ciao.

        Thanks for such a helpful article. I love your blog.
        I’ll be travelling to Florence in February with my boyfriend for just 2-3 days and I love the idea of hiring those bikes in particular, it’s just a pity the hours of rental are so short.
        Could you please advise us on an alternative or a means to maybe negotiate longer hours with the bikes? Ideally we’d love to have them from maybe 8am/9am to 7pm in the evening, just to make the most of Florence?

        Keep up the great work.
        Rachell

        1. Ciao Rachel, I think it would be worth just walking to a local bike shop at negotiating directly, a few days or something like that. Honestly Florence is such a walkable city, you won’t even need bikes for the most part 🙂

        2. I’ve made a couple of similar posts previously, but thought updated information would be helpful to Rachel. I would definitely check out the bicycle rental location below. I have no financial connection with KnowLeggi; I have just had great experiences using them. A friend recently visiting Florence told me they were very helpful for his party of four. Note they have a 24 hour rental option at a very reasonable rate.
          _______________________________________________________
          Among the least expensive bike rentals you will find anywhere in Florence, and located only blocks from Cascine Park, is KnowLeggi (aka Noleggio). Located at Borgo Ognissanti, 111r (near Ponte A. Vespucci), rental rates are 1 hour = 1 euro and 24 hours = 14 euro.

          They also rent scooters and cars and will do a picnic basket on request (bike + basket = €18.50). They have 19 bicycles that you can reserve beforehand. Contact information: e-mail info@knowleggi.it / phone (English contact Francesca) +39 373 7710559 or +39 327 7051363.

          They are open Monday through Thursday 8:00 am – 7:00 pm, Friday and Saturday 7:30 am – 7:30 pm, and Sundays 7:30 am – 12:30 pm.

          Nearby is beautiful Cascine Park, a quiet retreat away from the excitement of inner city Florence and well worth a visit. On Tuesdays you can stroll through the Mercato delle Cascine which is an open market beside the Arno River. It is open from 7am until 2pm, but it’s best if you arrive before noon. Italian food specialties, clothing, fruits and vegetables, meats, etc. are available.

          Also worth a visit in Parco delle Cascine is Ponte all’Indiano, or the Bridge of the Indian, at the far end of the park. You can ride your bike or walk across the bridge. Be sure to visit Piazzaletto dell’Indiano where you can see the memorial for Prince Rajaram Chuttraputti, Maharaja of Kolhapur, and have an excellent view of the bridge.

          Find KnowLeggi on Google Maps and write a review:
          https://www.google.com/maps/place/Knowleggi+Car+Rental+in+Florence/@43.773115,11.244085,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x132a56adcdb133b7:0xd449dc1eb5e3a913

          KnowLeggi website:
          http://www.knowleggi.it/

  4. Thanks for the information. I cant tell you how much I have lurked through your blog pages ever since I landed in Florence two weeks ago. 🙂 Thanks again.

    I will be here until the end of May. Would you know whether there is a way for me to do a long term road bike rental or buy a second hand one?

    I googled but couldnt find much for long term rentals. Also, a lot of the rentlas I see is for city bikes and am interested in renting a road bike. Any ideas?

  5. Hi there,

    I’m coming to florence with my husband in the end of june. We want to bike the chianti area but we’re not pro cyclists or anything. Do you know any good routes to bike there and do a bit of wine tasting? I’ve researched Greve which looks like a cool place but maybe a bit too far for us to bike. Thanks:)

  6. I will be a student there for 4 1/2 weeks (month of July)….10 euros a day is steep….any break for students who want to rent a bike??

    1. I would actually just buy a used bike from a store in the center for 30-40 euros and resell it when you leave, would be cheaper AND easier.

      1. what center, the one by the Duomo? there is no monthly rate for tourists? i am here for the month of june and would like a bike for the month.

  7. Another company to add to bike rentals is Tuscany Cycle located down the street from the Bargello.Via Ghibellina 133 R, Florence. Phone-055 289681.
    The store just opened in May of 2013 and their bikes are wonderful. The Hybrid bikes are fabulous and can get you up to Fiesole and other nearby hill towns. Great jersey selection as well. We rented Hybrid bikes for the 3 weeks were here. Daily and hourly rental are available as well.

  8. Great info! Leaving our Passports seems a little risky, do you think they would take some other form of American ID?

  9. Thanks for the info. I’m traveling to Florence this coming October with my sister and figure bicycles are a great option for getting around for the week. I’m going to look for the purple bike stands when we arrive. 10€ a day is not bad. Appreciate all your research.

    1. Hello Karen, bicycles are a great option for Florence, plus let’s be honest, its fun! There are a ton of options around the city and also some B&B’s offer bikes free to their guests like Villa Landucci. It’s always worth asking!

  10. Hi! do you know the name or how to get onto the bike path you mentioned south of Florence? Do you know how long it is or if there are any stops/restaurants along the way?

    1. If you just go to the river and head in the opposite direction of the ponte vecchio and ponte santa trinita on the ‘duomo’ side of the river, you will run into the path :). The area actually becomes more residential but you can find some restaurants in the nearby campo di marte area or you can cross the river and head towards gavinana 🙂

  11. Hey! I was looking to rent a bike in florence in July and stumbled upon your blog. Great one btw 🙂 Can you help me out? I’m staying for a month (July 3rd-Aug 3rd) and wanted to rent a bike for the whole month to make it cheaper. I noticed you put a price for a month but I figured it was for residents so Do you know if I could rent one if I’m a foreigner? (and how much would it be) Also if there’s a different company that rents weekly/monthly.

    Thanks in advance! 🙂

    1. Hello Alejandra, I might look into one of the classifieds sites like firenze kijiji or firenze bakeka to see if you get a cheaper deal – or even call a few bike rental places in Florence and get some quotes, they might be willing to bargain with you! I know this company rents by the month http://www.tuscanycycle.com/

  12. Thanks for this great info, Georgette! We rented bikes from SMN today…how fun! Thanks for pointing us this direction…would never have even noticed this service if you hadn’t discussed it here. You are our #1 for all things Firenze! (oh, had Chinese food from by the Synagogue last night, too 🙂

    1. Hello Laura, I love grabbing a bike from the station. It’s so convenient even for us locals to zip around to appointments but not have to ‘keep it all the time. And that chinese food place is great, so cheap too! You have to try Indian takeout Al Noor, you can order online and they can deliver to your apartment/hotel, the food is really really good.

  13. Here’s another very cheap bicycle rental option in Florence. I verified that this information is still accurate. I wrote this originally for The Florentine.

    Among the least expensive bike rentals you will find anywhere in Florence, and located only blocks from Cascine Park, is KnowLeggi. Located at Via Melegnano, 1R (near Ponte A. Vespucci), rental rates are 1 hour = 1 euro and 24 hours = 14 euro.

    They also rent scooters and cars and will do a picnic basket on request (bike + basket = €18.50). They have 19 bicycles that you can reserve beforehand. Contact information: e-mail info@knowleggi.it / phone (English contact Francesca) +39 373 7710559 or +39 327 7051363.

    Nearby is beautiful Cascine Park, a quiet retreat away from the excitement of inner city Florence and well worth a visit. On Tuesdays you can stroll through the Mercato delle Cascine which is an open market beside the Arno River. It is open from 7am until 2pm, but it’s best if you arrive before noon. Italian food specialties, clothing, fruits and vegetables, meats, etc. are available.

    Also worth a visit in Parco delle Cascine is Ponte all’Indiano, or the Bridge of the Indian, at the far end of the park. You can ride your bike or walk across the bridge. Be sure to visit Piazzaletto dell’Indiano where you can see the memorial for Prince Rajaram Chuttraputti, Maharaja of Kolhapur, and have an excellent view of the bridge.

    Find KnowLeggi on Google Maps and write a review:
    https://www.google.com/maps/place/Knowleggi+Car+Rental+in+Florence/@43.773115,11.244085,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x132a56adcdb133b7:0xd449dc1eb5e3a913

    1. I forgot to include the hours for KnowLeggi.

      They are open Monday through Thursday 8:00 am – 7:00 pm, Friday and Saturday 7:30 am – 7:30 pm, and Sundays 7:30 am – 12:30 pm.

  14. Hi!!
    I love your blog. There is so mich information here.
    I am travelling to Florence next week with a few of my friends. We will be living really close to Rifredi station. I just realised it is quite far from the city centre. Could you please tell me a little more about the area? Is it safe and will there be anything to do around at nights? Is it possible to go back to Rifredi late at night from city centre on a bicycle?

    1. Georgette would certainly be your best source for Rifredi, but I am not aware of any safety concerns in that area. However, riding a bicycle between central Florence and Rifredi, particularly at night, could be challenging. If you are staying on the northeast side of the station, the few roads between Rifredi and Florence which pass under the railway are heavily traveled, and after dark that could be a problem. If you’re staying on the southwest side of Rifredi, you’ll need a good map and great navigational skills to make that ride between Rifredi and city center. Again, lots of traffic.

      I would recommend traveling by bus.

      Here’s an ATAF bus route list and schedule:
      http://www.ataf.net/en/timetables-and-routes/timetables-and-routes/route-list.aspx?idC=180&LN=en-US

      Here’s the ATAF bus route map:
      http://www.ataf.net/System/files/mappe/RED%2020140715%20mappa110x100.pdf

      The fastest way into Florence from Rifredi is by train, but will cost more than by bus. If you originate your trip at Rifredi Station be sure to ask if your train is going to Santa Maria Novella (the central station) or Campo di Marte. If you leave Florence by train, be sure it is making a stop at Rifredi (not all trains from SMN go toward Rifredi and may not stop there, if they do).

      1. Thank you so much! You nailed it, I would have said exactly that. Traveling by bike is great but I would also take a bus home after a certain hour. The Trenitalia website has all of the ours you need for trains so you should be covered!

        1. Thanks for your reply! So bike does not seem to be a good idea.
          What about cabs? Are they easily available from florence to Rifredi late and vise versa at night?

  15. Good morning. We will be staying outside Greve Chianti from Sept 28 to Oct 12 would renting an electric bike be practical to commute into Florence. Thank you.
    Judith

    1. Hello Judith, I think Greve might be a little far to come via electric bike, also because I wouldn’t want to do that at night. It’s about 40 minutes away by car so with bike it would take a lot more time. Instead I think that sounds perfect for visiting nearby towns in the Chianti area.

  16. Hi Georgette. Great ‘insider’ information, and very useful tidbits. Was there last November but the guy at the station wanted €50 for the day (12 hrs) so dropped it. Trying again this November and the master plan is the ‘buy and sell’, although I may store it for the next trip since they will be more frequent as things develop. Going to test the stamina on a cycle from Florence to Vinci via the high road coming down into Vinci, over-night stay, and then cycle down to Empoli and take the train back to Florence. Thanks for the pointers.

    1. Thank you Donal for reading! It can be a bit more expensive now so I agree that buying and selling might be your best option. Though I will do more research to do a more recent affordable bike rental post. It is certainly needed!

  17. Super thanks for this. I am visiting florence in may and would definitely book a bike.

  18. Hi Georgette,
    Thanks for the useful info. I am traveling there next month with my 17 year old son. Any news on the new daily rates? I’d love to rent a couple and spend the day exploring whatever places we can by bike. I am a photographer at heart (Realtor by trade) so I’d highly value your suggestions for interesting places to photograph other than the usual well known places.
    At first I thought, oh man pink? but I guess after a while we’d forget about it.

    1. Hello Manuel, the bike rental still exists or else you can rent them from places on via ghibellina at the historical center. I’d recommend it. Also for places to photograph, I highly recommend forte del belvedere which is open to the public daily (except Mondays) and is a beautiful and interesting vantage point of the city. I also like the walk from forte del belvedere back down to Florence. The oltrarno (other side of the river) is a nice neighborhood for pictures too, that’s where I typically shoot.

    2. Buongiorno Manuel,

      If you scroll through the posts on this page about bicycle rentals, you will find one I made in October 2014. It references KnowLeggi Bicycle Rental. Located at Via Melegnano, 1R (near Ponte A. Vespucci), rental rates are 1 hour = 1 euro and 24 hours = 14 euro (rates in October 2014). Note: They were planning to move around the corner to Borgo Ognissanti, 111R, so you might want to check their current location and rates by calling or e-mailing beforehand.

      Contact information: e-mail info@knowleggi.it / phone (English contact Francesca) +39 373 7710559 or +39 327 7051363.

      They also rent scooters and cars and will do a picnic basket on request (bike + basket = €18.50). They have 19 bicycles that you can reserve beforehand.

      I believe KnowLeggi is the cheapest bike rental place in Florence. I recommend you rent from them and then ride to the nearby Cascine Park (Parco delle Cascine). This is a wonderful place for bicycling and also for photography. On Tuesdays from 7am-2pm there is a market in the park along the Arno. If you ride in Cascine Park, go to Piazzale dell’Indiano at the far western end and then ride over the Arno. Take the bridge for bicycles, not cars (Viadotto dell’Indiano). You should get some interesting photos in this area.

      Check out the park on Google maps:
      https://www.google.com/maps/place/Cascine+Park/@43.7880589,11.2051481,17z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x132a56c54f4e01cd:0xc26b37955106254f!8m2!3d43.7876368!4d11.2084633

      Buona giornata e buon viaggio!

  19. We will be in Florence in mid July. Too hot for the Tuscany bike tour you mentioned? Is one of the fiat tours a better idea? Also wondering your current thoughts on the Firenze Card. We want to definitely climb the Duomo, visit both big museums and Boboli Gardens but then maybe just wander, rent bikes, etc We’ll have an apartment in Oltrarno

  20. If you are interested in meeting a couple of really kind Brazilian/Italians who own and operate a Firenze bike shop, you should try:

    http://www.rentbikeflorence.com/

    They rent, sell and service bikes of every kind including XP Electrics that are a dream to ride! Ana and Aldo are ever eager to help anyone with a fleet of rentals, a repair shop and sales showroom.

    You would be wise to give them a look!

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Georgette Jupe

Welcome to my personal blog by a curious American girl living and working between Zug, Switzerland and Florence, Italy with my husband Nico, our newborn Annabelle and Ginger the beagle. This space is primarily to share about my love for Italy (currently on a 13 year romance) with a fair amount of real talk, practical advice, travel suggestions and adjusting to a new culture (Switzerland). Find me on IG @girlinflorence @girlinzug

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