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Getting to Florence by train- Florence is on Italy's main north-south rail line, with frequent high-speed connections to all the major cities. For timetables, see www.trenitalia.it. Tip: be sure you buy tickets to-and get off the train at-the central ""Firenze-Santa Maria Novella"" station, not the suburban stations of ""Firenze-Rifredi"" or ""Firenze-Campo di Marte.""

Online tourist resources for Florence - The official tourist office website is www.firenzeturismo.it. Check out the ""Things to Do"" listings for courses (art, cookery, language schools) and ""Itineraries"" for such delights as exploring the Florentine hills by donkey, or taking behind-the-scenes tours of artisan workshops. Updated contact details, open hours, admissions, exhibitions, and special events at all of Florence's State Museums (including the Uffizi, Accademia, Pitti Palace, and Bargello) are detailed at www.polomuseale.firenze.it. To avoid long lines at major attractions such as the Uffizi and the Accademia (home of Michelangelo's David), pre-book tickets for a well-worth-it $5.90 fee at Firenze Musei (www.firenzemusei.it; +39-055-294-883). This may be the most useful telephone number and website in Florence. For events, check out www.avvenimenti.comune.fi.it, the Town Hall's listings of guided walks, exhibitions, musical and theatrical events; www.palazzostrozzi.org, for the Palazzo Strozzi, Florence's major venue for temporary art exhibits; and www.pittimmagine.com/en for Pitti Immagine, Florence's foremost series of fashion events and trade shows.

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