Moving to Florence with a dog

Where to walk, groom, and shop for your canine friend

Erik Oxenstierna
July 16, 2015

When I first thought about moving to Florence last year, I knew very little about what life would be like in Florence with Luna, my Boston terrier. Believe me, moving from Puerto Rico to Firenze with a dog was quite an adventure! For starters, where would I buy dog food, where would I walk her, where would I take her for grooming and which veterinary service could I take her in case she was sick or in an accident?

 

To my delight, I soon discovered that Italy is one of the most pet-friendly countries in Europe, and living with my canine best friend in Florence is perfect. Luna and I can pretty much go everywhere together: grocery stores, shops, trains and buses. Dogs are allowed unless there is a clear sign that says otherwise. As I head out to explore these places, people are so friendly, they often come up and say hi to Luna.

 

Apartment living

She ate the frisbee....

When looking for an apartment, I found that almost every apartment actually allows dogs, which is not what I’ve experienced elsewhere in the world. You will want to tell your landlord that you have a dog, and make friends with your neighbors, making sure that your dog does not bark when you leave the house or disturb anyone in any way since living quarters tend to be tight here! Also be ready to replace any furniture the dog might ruin – couch covers are a good idea, I found out the hard way when Luna ate the rather expensive sofa at my place.

 

Dog sitting services in Florence

When you have to go away and leave your dog, Florence Pet Sitting (via del Campuccio) is one of the few really professional pet-sitting services with a website, Whatsapp contact, and English speaking staff. The entire facility is open to your pet, there are no cages, kennels or enclosures, and your dog is free to hang out on couches, chairs and cubbies. The staff even sends you emails with updates on how your dog is doing.

 

That is the only very organized pet sitting service I’ve been able to locate, though there are plenty of private dog sitters that can be had through word of mouth. Or if you’re in need, place an ad in or look in the Classified ads of The Florentine.

 

 

Dog Friendly Parks in Florence

I live downtown, so there are two main places in Florence I usually take Luna for her walks. We love going to the beach at Easy Living, located right on the banks of the Arno River, just west of Ponte Vecchio on the Oltrarno side. There’s a grassy park and a number of shady trees, and one of the few “off leash” places in downtown Florence. Luna loves it here!

 

Another great park is located across from Ponte San Niccolo, called Parco Vita. It is a medium-sized park with a small cafe, an area for sunbathers and a basketball court. Right at the entrance, there is a small 30-meter fenced in dog park, filled with locals and their pups. Water fountains can be found nearby, and there are chairs to relax and lounge while your dog plays. There is some grass and trees, but mostly this park gives you the chance to let your dog run around and play with other dogs.

 

Similar enclosed dog areas can be found in most public parks, including plenty just outside the historical center – Florence offers 250 such parks, in fact. Some of the largest and nicest are at Villa Vogel and Parco dell’Anconella. To find one near you, Google “aree cani Firenze” for a list. Most of the parks in Florence also have dispensaries for dog bags and conveniently located garbage cans.

 

Dog supply stores

There are several stores in Florence that specialize in dog and animal supplies. Piero Toilette (Viale Francesco Petraca, 90, www.pierotoilette.com) specializes in designer dog beds and they have a grooming service. Spazio Animali, (via del Romito 20R, behind the Santa Maria Novella train station) has everything from leashes and harnesses to squeaky toys and fluffy beds. They have a large selection of both wet and dry dog food. If you are looking for a particular brand or product (such as diet dog food), this would be a good place to check. The popular chain Zoolandia has four locations across Florence. The one I frequent most with Luna is located on Via Fra’ G. Angelico 22-24, about a 15-minute walk from Piazza Beccaria. They are well stocked and reasonably priced (they even have a discount card), and they have products for cats, birds, rodents and fish too.

 

Veterinarians in Florence

My sneaky Boston Terrier has gotten herself in trouble eating the wrong things (who knew dogs could chew through Aspirin bottles?) twice, so I’ve had contact with two veterinarians, both of whom treated her very well. Ambulatorio Veterinario Masaccio (viale Gramsci, 65) is open 24/7, not too expensive and they have several employees who speak English. I’ve also used Ambulatorio Veterinario Cimabue (via Cimabue 9A) where they were very nice and patient with my basic Italian.

 

Erik Oxenstierna is a very international student: half Swedish, half Filipino, he was born in London, UK and raised in Puerto Rico. After attending boarding school in Sweden, he is currently completing his undergraduate degree in business administration at European School of Economics.

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