Get fit: Part II

Public sports facilities around Florence

Lauren Piccolo
May 19, 2011

If you're the type who would never dream of facing shoe-conscious Florence in a pair of the world's most aesthetically unappealing footwear, running sneakers, luckily the city offers a wide range of sports facilities and public pools as perfect resources to help you get fit this spring season.

 

Whether its getting a group together for a five-on-five soccer match or dusting off your old tennis racket and hitting the court with your best friend, taking advantage of the many facilities for group sports is a fun way to stay fit during the warmer months. The great aspect of organizing group sports around Florence is that with minimal cost and effort, you can set up a weekly or daily schedule to get in a game of tennis, soccer, volleyball or basketball with a partner or group of friends. For example, both Albereta 2000, along the Arno, and A.S. Florentia Sporting Club, located in the hills toward Fiesole, offer opportunities to practice group sports in clean, organized facilities surrounded by beautiful settings.

 

The Albereta 2000 Association (http://www.albereta2000.it/nonsolosport; located along viale dell'Albereta 21, off piazza Ravenna) offers soccer, basketball, volleyball and tennis courts to the public. The courts are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 1pm, 5pm to 11pm and weekends, 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 11 pm. Slots for court time are by the hour and can be reserved by calling 340/6111372. The rates for the courts: 1 hour tennis, 8.50 euro; 1 hour basketball,  10 euro; 1 hour soccer (5 v. 5 or 7 v. 7), 34 euro; 1 hour volleyball, 18 euro. Albereta 2000 has parking and also a bar with outdoor and terrace seating along the Arno. Although I visited on a quiet March afternoon, I can imagine that during the spring and summer months this venue is ideal for afternoon or early evening activity. The ample shade from the tall trees that surround the courts, along with beautiful views of the river, provide a great setting for a post-game drink. Whether to catch a game with friends on one of the multiple courts, stroll on the walking path or sip a coffee on the terrace, Albereta 2000 has something to offer anyone looking for a chance to be outdoors. 

 

The A.S. Florentia Sporting Club (http://www.florentia.fi.it; vicolo del Cionfo 4/A, in the Cure area of town), is easily accessible by bus number 1 from the city center to the Faentina stop, about a 20-minute ride from Santa Maria Novella train station. The complex is set back from the road in this residential neighborhood, providing a quiet retreat for focusing on your tennis or soccer skills. The courts are open Monday to Friday, 8am to midnight; Saturday, 8 am to 8pm; and Sunday, 8am to 7pm. To reserve time, call 055/577320 at least three days ahead. The rates vary depending on whether you are a member of the club, which reduces all hourly fees by about 30 percent. For non-members the hourly rates are as follows: morning tennis courts (before noon) are 11 euro; afternoon, weekend and holiday tennis courts are 12.40 euro; 5 v. 5 soccer is 60 euro, and 7 v. 7 soccer is 84 euro. The club also offers individual tennis lessons with a professional trainer at 25 euro for a 45-minute session. A.S. Florentia has a parking area, and its bar with outdoor seating is the perfect spot to hold a post-game recap session.

 

If swimming is your workout of choice, the local pools also offer daily slots for ‘open swim,' making scheduling easy, as the times are typically the same each day.

 

Piscina Bellariva (along Lungarno Aldo Moro, 6) is easily accessible from the Santa Maria Novella train station by catching bus number 14 to the Aretina 01 stop. The pool is open daily, year round (see http://www.fiorentinanuoto.it or call 055/677521 for hours). Along with the Olympic-size pool, there is a smaller enclosed pool and a complex of children's pools outdoors. The club offers private lessons for adults, children and babies (starting at 6 months old). While prices for membership vary depending on what you are looking for, there are discounts for long-term memberships. There is street parking along the river, a bar near the pool and a roof-top restaurant with a deck for outdoor dining.

 

Another popular place to get in some laps is the Piscina Paolo Costoli (Campo di Marte complex at viale P. Paoli, 9). Any Ataf bus that heads towards the stadium will get you to the pool area: numbers 6, 10, 17 and 20. The Olympic-size pool is open for the public Monday to Saturday for 1-hour blocks of time. Monday to Friday the lanes are open from 12:50pm to 2:50pm and 7:30pm to 9:30pm (i.e., four available time slots to choose from). On Saturdays the lanes are open from 9:30am to 12:30pm. There is also an Olympic-grade diving pool and kiddy pool. Call 055/6236027 for information. The entrance is 7 euro for adults, 5 euro reduced rate for students and seniors. There is a large parking area near the entrance.

 

With a little something for everyone, Florence offers no excuses for skimping on your exercise. Even the climb up the 414 steps to the top of Florence's Campanile is there for the taking!

 

 

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