Florence, Italy
5-9 May 2012


General Information

Information about Florence and Italy


Florence Airport ( FLR ) "Aeroporto di Firenze" or Amerigo Vespucci Airport  though commonly called Peretola is one of two main airports located in the region of Tuscany, the other being Galileo Galilei Airport in Pisa.

Florence Amerigo Vespucci airport is named after a Florentine native who was a renowned Italian merchant and cartographer. It is a small airport, with a single runway and serves Italian internal flights and limited European destinations.  A short transfer (25 mins) via the Volainbus airport shuttle or bus ATAF n° 62 is required to reach the centre of Florence at a cost of €5.00.

The Airport operates flights to most Italian cities and to some key European destinations including London, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Brussels, Frankfurt and Zurich.


Pisa Airport (PSA) Galileo Galilei International Airport is named after the famous scientist and native of Pisa. Pisa Airport is the closest landing point with significant international service, including a few direct flights from the United States each week. It is served by 18 airlines operating 422 weekly flights to 63 national and international destinations

There are regular train and bus links between Pisa airport and Florence, and the train line provides direct shuttle runs between the airport at Pisa and Santa Maria Novella station, the Florence city terminal. Tickets are available in the airport and must be validated prior to boarding the train (by inserting the ticket into the small stamping machines on the terminal), otherwise an on the spot fine is reliably served. The rail transfer takes approximately 85 mins at a cost of €10.00


Most Florence banks open between 08:30 to 13:30 and 14:45 to 15:45 Monday to Friday, with major branches often opening for a couple of hours on Saturday mornings. Many banks are located in the heart of the city and usually have ATMs outside that accept a wide network of cards and offer excellent wholesale exchange rates.


The unit of currency in Italy is the Euro (€). Most banks have ATM machines. All major credit cards (such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express) are accepted in most of the restaurants, shops etc. There are many opportunities to exchange currency in Florence and the places to obtain the best rates are the banks. There are also foreign exchange outlets in the airports, train, bus stations, and even in hotels and restaurants, although the rates are usually not as favourable. Although hotels and travel agencies may offer bureau de change services, using an ATM to obtain cash provides one of the best rates of exchange.


The climate in Florence is typically Mediterranean, with high temperatures and sunny days in the summer and colder, damper weather in the winter. Florence's low seasons tends to fall between April to June and September to October. In the spring and autumn temperatures are at their most comfortable and pleasant.

Dining Out

Tuscan food is simple and abundant with local produce, mellow cheeses and grilled meats. Tuscans are also known for their appreciation of beans as seen in the staple of the Tuscan table: white beans cooked with sage and olive oil. Beef Steak Florentine, many versions of roasted or wine-braised game such as boar, deer and rabbit and thick and hearty soups cover the table of a typical Tuscan meal. This is also the home of Chianti wine. There are many restaurants throughout the city of Florence offering an excellent choice of cuisine at affordable prices.

Dress Code

The dress code for the congress in smart-casual. You may wish to dress more formally for the Conference Dinner at Palzzo Corsini. In general, Italians dress smartly and appearances in business settings are very important. Both men and women wear suits even when not at work; Italians enjoy dressing up, particularly for trips to the theatre or restaurant. Please note that if visiting any of churches located in Florence (including the Duomo and Santa Croce) that any revealing kind of dress is not allowed and some inappropriate items of clothing are banned. Ladies are respectfully reminded that many of the streets in central Florence are cobbled so that flat shoes are recommended.


The voltage in Italy is 220 volts flat two or three pin plugs are used. The selected hotels have a 220-volt outlet for shavers, but travellers are advised to bring a power converter and an adapter for two-prong, round plugs with side grounding contacts. Electricity: 220 volts AC,

Emergency phone numbers

Emergencies - for police emergencies, dial 113, for fire dial 115, for medical emergencies dial 118.

If you have to report a theft or loss to the police and you don’t speak Italian, you can find assistance at the following police stations:

Commissariato di Polizia S. Giovanni
Addresses: via Pietrapiana, 50r
Phone: 055 203 911

Carabinieri - Comando provinciale
Addresses: Borgo Ognissanti, 48
Phone: 055 248 11

24 hour Medical Service

English, German and French speaking practitioners and specialists on call 24 hrs (specialists by appointment).

Surgery Opening times: Monday to Friday, from 11 to 12 and from 17 to 18
Price: Fee-paying service
Addresses: Via Lorenzo il Magnifico, 59
Phone: 055 475 411 / E-mail: medserv@tin.it

Fast Facts

  • Country: Italy (Italia)
  • Status: city, regional and provincial capital of Tuscany (Toscana)
  • Population: 400,000
  • Country population: 60 million
  • Language: Italian
  • Currency: Euro (EUR)
  • Time zone: GMT + 1 hour
  • Country dialling code: +39
  • Telephone area code: 055
  • Religion: mainly Catholic

Information about Italy

For further information about Italy please visit http://www.italiantourism.com

Information about Florence

For further information about Florence please visit http://www.visitflorence.com

Public Transport


Florence is a relatively easy city to get around. The centre is fairly compact and most of the sights are within walking distance of one another. Much of Florence is pedestrianised and in the city centre the quickest way to get around the city is by foot. When walking around Florence it is advisable to take a good map showing street names and these are available at most newsstands; one will be found in the congress pack.

Bus Transportation

Florence's bus company is called ATAF and all the buses are bright orange. Most lines run until at least 21:30, with the most popular running until at least 01:00. Buses can be picked up alongside Santa Maria Novella train station and buses run regularly to areas throughout the city and to nearby towns. City buses are cheap and tickets must be purchased prior to travel.  They can be bought at newsstands, bars, tobacconists and many shops displaying the bus company logo.


Travelling by taxi in Florence may be very convenient, but it can also be very expensive. The meters start at a fixed charge and there are extra charges for luggage, journeys to the airport and also trips taken between 22:00 to 07:00, at the weekends and also on public holidays. Always take official taxis from the ranks and in nearby towns. The taxi ranks can usually be found in the main piazzas.

Rail Transportation

With good rail connections to every major city in Italy and Europe, travelling by train is a fast and effective way to journey outside the city and travel around Tuscany. Italy's state railway (Ferrovie dello Stato - or FS) has a train for every type of journey, from slow 'locali' trains to the superfast 'pendoli' trains, which travel between Italian cities at high-speed. The Santa Maria Novella train station in Florence is the terminus for trains from many other European cities. Tickets can be purchased at the station booth and must then be validated in the machine on the platform before boarding.

Shopping in Florence

Shops in Florence are generally open from 09:00 to 13:00 and from 15:30 or 16:00 to 19:00 or 20:00, although many of the bigger stores in Florence now open all day. On Saturday shops tend to close earlier at around 17:30 and only a few open on Sundays. Also, many shops in Florence do not open on Monday morning. There is usually late-night shopping every week on Thursdays.

Florence is second only to Milan as a source of Italian high fashion and is also rated highly for its extensive range of leather goods.

A “Florentine Village” offering a full range of Italian goods to congress delegates including exquisite paper, jewellery, leather goods, ceramics, wines, pasta, olive oils etc. will be available during the congress together with a shipping service at the exhibition centre in Fortezza da Basso.

Telephone System

The country code for Italy is +39 and the area code for Florence is 055
For general directory and operator information in English, dial 176
To place international telephone calls via an operator-assisted service, dial 170


Italy is 1 hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).


Tipping in Florence is quite discretionary, with taxi drivers usually being given a small gratuity. Restaurants in Florence often include service charges and these are always clearly stated on the menus, although a small tip will still be expected. Expect to tip hotel staff, including luggage porters a small amount for services provided. Generally, no other public service workers in Florence expect tips. You should always pay tips in cash, as in this way you can be sure that the person it is intended for receives it fully.  


The powerful Medici family, who came into power in the 1430s and became rulers of Florence for several hundred years, greatly influenced the appearance of this city. They commissioned some particularly grand buildings, town squares and gardens which are still standing today, exuding opulence and character. Many of Italy's most famous artists have also had a hand in designing and creating some of the majestic artwork and interiors to be found in Florence, including the likes of Michelangelo, Donatello and Leonardo Da Vinci.

Amongst the many Florence attractions not to be missed are the Duomo (the fourth largest cathedral in the world), the Bargello (one of the first national museums in Italy), the Uffizi (the world's oldest art gallery), Palazzo Vecchio (the city's town hall since 1322), Santa Maria Novella (probably the most important Gothic church in Tuscany) and the Accademia di Belle Arti Firenze (to view Michelangelo's 'David').

Travel and visas

All participants must have a valid passport in order to enter Italy. Citizens of some countries may need to obtain a visa before arrival. For further information please contact the nearest Italian Embassy or Consulate to check visa regulations. Delegates must, of course, meet the normal requirements, i.e. they must possess valid travel documents and sufficient means of support. Delegates requiring a visa for entry to Italy are strongly advised to make their application in their home countries at least three months before the intended date of travel. Visa application procedures are easier when the acknowledgement of registration is included. Refunds cannot be made when visa applications are not granted.

The Congress Secretariat is able to issue you with an official letter of invitation for the congress. Please note that such a letter can only be issued if you are registered for the congress and your registration fee has been fully paid.

Please do not hesitate to contact the Congress Secretariat if you have any questions regarding visa application procedures.

Please note that for some countries, visa application procedures can take up to two months.

Information about the Congress

Congress language

The official language of the congress will be English and no simultaneous translation will be provided.


Serono Symposia International Foundation is accredited by the European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (EACCME) to provide the following CME activity for medical specialists. The EACCME is an institution of the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS).

The Conference “15th International Congress of Endocrinology and 14th European Congress of Endocrinology (ICE-ECE 2012)”(May 5-9, 2012, Florence, Italy) is designated for a maximum of 21 (twenty-one) hours of European CME credits (ECMEC). Each medical specialist should claim only those credits that he/she actually spent in the educational activity. EACCME credits are recognized by the American Medical Association towards the Physician's Recognition Award (PRA).  To convert EACCME credit to AMA PRA category 1 credit, please contact the AMA.


Following the application submitted by Serono Symposia International Foundation, the Royal College of Physicians, London, UK, has accredited this congress with 27 (twenty-seven) credit hours (Reference number: 72543).

The CME accreditation is valid for the main congress program only and does not cover the company-sponsored symposia.

ISO 9001 Certification:
Serono Symposia International Foundation has received the ISO 9001 Certification of Quality Management Systems. This Quality certification requires all participants to fill in a scientific questionnaire and to evaluate the overall quality of the event. Questionnaires will be distributed onsite during the congress.


Delegates will have the opportunity to meet representatives from a number of pharmaceutical, diagnostic and equipment and publishing companies at their exhibition stand during scheduled breaks to discuss new developments and receive up-to-date product information.
A “Florentine Village” is anticipated to form part of the exhibition which will offer a wide range of Italian and local Florentine goods for sale to delegates.


The congress registration fee does not include the insurance of participants against personal accident, sickness, and cancellations by any party or theft, loss or damage to personal possessions. All participants are strongly advised to make adequate personal insurance arrangements to cover travel, accommodation, cancellation of services and personal effects before travelling to the congress.


Limited internet facilities will be available throughout the congress at the Fortezza da Basso Congress Centre for registered participants. Italian laws require that each individual is registered individually and is provided with a password for personal use. A limited number of registrations will be permitted by the Italian authorities and an hourly cost will be levied. Please also note that internet reception in Florence is variable and sometimes intermittent. Please contact the congress secretariat on site to register and for more information.


The registration fee includes coffee breaks and lunches will be provided throughout the congress. Please note that lunch will only provided on Sunday, Monday & Tuesday.

Prayer Room

A prayer room will be available during the congress. Please ask at reception for details.

Programme changes

The organisers cannot assume liability for any changes in the programme due to external or unforeseen circumstances.

On-site registration

On-site registration will be available at Fortezza da Basso. Congress documents and bags cannot always be guaranteed for those participants registering on-site.

Smoking Policy

For the comfort and health of all participants, smoking is not permitted at any official function during the Congress.

Carbon Off-setting

Having the opportunity to meet face to face, connect and share our knowledge is an invaluable experience. At the same time, we recognize these events have associated impacts from travel/transportation and lodging.

In planning for the event, great care was taken to incorporate sustainability considerations into the various aspects and activities for the congress. These actions include:

  • Reducing the amount of materials produced for the congress
  • Encouraging the use of public transportation
  • Facilitating offsets for our impacts with the help of meeting delegates and sponsors.

In keeping with our goal, we are also encouraging conference delegates to offset their travel-related carbon impacts associated with the conference.
For a list of carbon offset providers, we suggest you visit CarbonCatalog.org. Carbon Catalog is a free and independent web directory of carbon offsets (they do not sell offsets or have commercial relationships with providers). Once you have chosen the project you wish to support, you can follow the link to their website, where a simple calculator will be available to help you determine the carbon impact of your travel to the ICE/ECE 2012.  You can then donate the off-set amount to your chosen project.

Thank you for your consideration.