Daycations, simpler than vacations and not nearly as costly, offer pleasant explorations of the blurry in-between. The frustrations of long-distance travel never apply to the daycation, the excursion requires only a smidgen of time, yet the shift in scenery makes the outing refreshing.
Lucky for Florentines and visitors, many daycation destinations surround the city. A 20-minute ride on the Tramvia line 1 takes you from the center of Florence to the center of Scandicci, a town just 6km southwest of Florence. The tram barely even bounces as it zips smoothly through Florence, offering quick glimpses of the suburbs.
A town of 50,000 inhabitants, Scandicci boasts ancient Roman roots and is today known for its cluster of historic churches, including San Martino alla Palma and Sant'Andrea. Quite recently, however, Scandicci became the hub of the current multi-venue exhibition devoted to the Ghirlandaio clan's artistic creations, The Ghirlandaio Family: Renaissance Painters in Florence and Scandicci (see box). A 10-minute walk from the Resistenza stop on Tramvia Line 1 leads to the Castello dell'Acciaiolo, the main venue of the exhibition, with three rooms displaying 15 pieces of artwork, including a noteworthy panel painting by Domenico Ghirlandaio, as well as a painting by his son, Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio, and artist Michele Tosini: the spellbinding Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine from the Montalve Collection of the University of Florence.
On Saturdays and Sundays, visitors can delight in the free guided tours of both the Castello and another venue of the Ghirlandaio exhibition nearby, the Abbey of San Salvatore and San Lorenzo a Settimo. While waiting for the tour to begin, wander outside and take a walk around the Castello, where serenity takes many different forms-from the lush rows of trees to the slight pink of the castle's walls.
A visit to Scandicci is not complete without savoring yet another, perhaps less traditional, form of art: food. The Slow Food movement, which originated in Northern Italy and advocates the consumption of locally-sourced, sustainable foods, meets fine dining at Da Bobo all'Acciaiolo (www.acciaioloslow.it; tel. 055/7351620), a restaurant located within the Castello dell'Acciaiolo's walls. Open only for dinner Mondays to Saturdays, it also serves Sunday lunches upon reservation. A brief, 20-second stroll separates the restaurant from the Ghirlandaio exhibition, making it easy to plan a day that involves full enjoyment of both art and food.
What else to do on a daycation in Scandicci? On the last Sunday of every month, the Vetrina Antiquaria, an antique market with over 50 exhibitors selling their wares, takes over Piazza Matteotti from 8am to 8pm. Another noteworthy stop to make in the centre of town is Ginger Zone (www.gingerzone.net). This cultural centre in piazza del Mercato, focused on the contemporary arts, features a coffee bar with a lounge area and a space for exhibitions, conferences, lectures, workshops and other events.
From via Alamanni, behind, Santa Maria Novella, the Tramvia Line 1 makes multiple daily runs between Florence and Scandicci, with intermediate stops. For more about the line and things to do and see along the way and in Scandicci, see news item and 'Discover line 1' in TF 117. For schedules and stops, see www.ataf.net.
For other ideas of things to do in Florence or excursions from Florence take a look at all the articles in our travel section!