For those who are not able to escape to the Tuscan coast or to the Tuscan hills, don’t fret. Florence has a plethora of pubic 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 the city, there are plenty of places to brandish your backstroke. From late May to late September, most city pools are open from 10am to 6pm, and entrance fees usually range from 6 euro and up.
PARCO PISCINA LE PAVONIERE
Nestled in the city’s vast green oasis, Le Cascine, Le Pavioniere is by far the city’s best pool to dive into-day or night. It is perhaps the most charming poolside experience in the city. Adults and children alike can put their water wings to the test in this open-air urban aquatic centre. It boasts an aquatic gym for sports-minded; less serious swimmers can also leisurely stretch their limbs in the L-shaped basin. (Open daily 10:00 to 18:00; 7 euro weekdays; 8 euro weekends; 5 euro reduced)
Recently renovated, Le Pavoniere now includes a poolside bar, restaurant and pizzeria, complete with the latest video equipment. The perfect place to take an evening dip, the varied summer 2008 program of events, which includes DJ sets, live musical performances, fashion shows, tango Tuesdays and art exhibitions, is sure to please the summer urbanite. Open evenings from 10pm to 2am. Free entrance in the evenings.
Le Pavoniere, via della Catena 2, Parco delle Cascine, Florence, 055/333979; 055/367506; for dinner reservations: 333/1297725. How to get there: easily reached on foot; also ATAF bus17C
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, over-crowding, 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.
Costoli, viale Paoli, Florence, 055/6236027; 055/6241274. Open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm; Monday 2pm-6pm. Entrance: 6.50 euro; reduced 4.50 euro. Hot to get there: ATAF buses 10, 17, 20
Another great urban acuatic centre is the Nannini Bellariva complex. Located along the Arno, it is open to the public daily from 10:00 to 18:00. 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 other fresh summer fare, it boasts an Olympic-size pool, as well as a children’s pool area. It is also open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30pm to 11pm for late-night swimmers.
Nannini Bellariva, Lungarno Aldo Moro 6, Florence, 055/677521. Entrance: 6.50 euro; reduced 4.50 euro. How to get there: ATAF bus 14
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 Aquafitness classes. Swimming lessons are available for adults and children alike, or just rent lounge chairs and relax poolside. Open 10:00 to 18:00 from late May until August 31.
Flog Swimming Pool, v. Mercati 24/B, (Poggetto) Florence, 055/477978 (fax 055/486953), www.flog.it. Entrance: 7 euro; reduced 5 euro. How to get there: ATAF bus 4
Other swimming pools to check out
Club Fiorentina Nuoto
via di Ripoli, 70
Health Center Vivarium
via Accursio, 4
Micropiscina Comunale I.T.I
via dei Caboto
Micropiscina Comunale Isolotto Nuoto Club
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
via dei Caboto, 30
Virgin Active Firenze
via Gen. Carlo Alberto dalla Chiesa, 11
Hidron Wellness Centre
via di Gramignano – Campi Bisenzio
via Ferrone, 5 – Florence