Can't escape to the Tuscan coast or to the Tuscan hills? Don't fret. Florence has many public and private swimming pools, offering the summer urbanite an aquatic paradise. Whether for a quick afternoon dip or a daylong bout of poolside relaxation, a great way to beat the August heat is to make a splash in one of Florence's many public pools.
With more than 40 public swimming pools in and around Florence, there are plenty of places to practice your backstroke. Open until late September, most city pools are open from 10am to 6pm (the season starts in late May), and entrance fees usually range from 6 euro up. For more information, see www.uisp.it
Park and pool Le Pavoniere
Nestled in the city's vast green oasis in Cascine park, Le Pavoniere is by far the city's best pool to dive into-day or night. One of the most charming poolside experiences in the city, adults and children alike can put their water wings to the test in this open-air urban aquatic centre. Le Pavoniere boasts an aquatic gym for the sports-minded, while less serious swimmers can stretch their limbs in the L-shaped basin. Swimming lessons are also offered. It is open daily, from 10am to 7:30pm and nights (entrance at Viale degli Olmi) from 7:30pm to 1:30am. For more information and prices, call 055/362233.
Le Pavoniere also features a poolside cocktail bar, restaurant and pizzeria, complete with the latest video equipment. The perfect place to take an evening dip, the varied summer 2010 program of events, which includes DJ sets, live musical performances, fashion shows and art exhibitions, is sure to please the summer urbanite. Open evenings Monday to Wednesday, from 7pm to 2am and Thursday to Sunday, from 10am to 3am. Free entrance in the evenings.
Contact Le Pavoniere, via della Catena 2, Cascine Park, tel. 055/333979; 055/367506, www.chefuisp.it.
Florence's first public swimming pool is situated in the Poggetto area. Usually reserved for members only, it is open to the public in the summer. Keep cool and fit by taking advantage of the Aquafitness classes. Swimming lessons are available for adults and children, or rent lounge chairs and relax poolside. For information, contact Flog Swimming Pool, via Mercati 24/B, Poggetto (FI), tel. 055/477978, www.flog.it
Located near the Campo di Marte stadium, this is the largest and, perhaps, most popular public swimming venue in town, with three pools, including an Olympic-sized pool, a medium-sized pool with a diving board, water slides and a paddling pool for kids. However, overcrowding, noise and general chaos can make for a less-than-serene experience. If you can embrace the lively atmosphere for the sake of your tykes, Costoli pool will be thoroughly enjoyable for children of all ages. For more information, contact Costoli Pool, viale Paoli, tel. 055/6236027; 055/6241274.
Another great swimming centre is the Nannini Bellariva complex. Located along the Arno, it is open to the public daily from 10am to 6pm. The lush, green grounds are teeming with trees, and grass lawns are great places for sunbathing. With an abundance of lounge chairs poolside, a rooftop terrace restaurant that serves pizza and fresh summer fare, it boasts an Olympic-size pool, as well as a children's pool area. For information, contact Nannini Bellariva, lungarno Aldo Moro 6, tel. 055/677521.
Other public swimming pools:
Club Fiorentina Nuoto
via di Ripoli, 70
tel. 055/687758; 055/6580033
Health Center Vivarium
via Accursio, 4
via Ferrone, 5
tel. 055/291886; www.klab.it
Micropiscina Comunale I.T.I
via dei Caboto
Micropiscina Comunale Isolotto Nuoto Club
via B. Bandinelli
tel. 055/710479; 055/7398079
Piscina G. Raspini - Rari Nantes Florentia
lungarno F. Ferrucci, 24
Piscina Comunale San Marcellino - Fiorentina Nuoto
via Chiantigiana, 28
Piscina Comunale Paganelli
via Orcagna, 20/A
tel. 055/678381; www.troposclub.it
via dei Caboto, 30
tel. 055/430275; 055/430703
Virgin Active Firenze
via Gen. Carlo Alberto dalla Chiesa, 11
Hidron Wellness Centre
via di Gramignano - Campi Bisenzio
tel. 055/892500; www.hidron.it
[This article was revised on June 21, 2012]