Run around the Renaissance
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Run around the Renaissance

In the second of this two-part series, Rosie Scammell explores running routes around Florence. She offers routes up to the town of Fiesole, through Florence's vast park, the Cascine, and neighbourhoods far from the tourist trail. These are strategic itineraries to keep off the holiday and winter pounds,

Thu 13 Dec 2012 1:00 AM

the second of this two-part series, Rosie Scammell explores running routes
around Florence. She offers routes up to the town of Fiesole, through
Florence’s vast park, the Cascine, and neighbourhoods far from the tourist
trail. These are strategic itineraries to keep off the holiday and winter
pounds, when abundant meals threaten even the fittest and slimmest.



Florence to Fiesole


route traces the journey to Fiesole made infamous in E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View. While his characters
travelled by horse-drawn carriage and ended up kissing in a field, you will run
to the hilltop town and do what you will.


by heading west. From the west side of the Duomo, take via Ricasoli. Run past the ever-present queue outside the Accademia
and through piazza San Marco (mind
the bus fumes). The street becomes via Giorgio la Pira and on your right you
will pass the palm trees and gardens of Florence’s Museum of Natural History.


onward and across viale Giacomo
, marking the outer limit of the historic city, into wider
residential streets. Directly ahead, take quiet via Frà Bartolomeo, turning left on the fifth turn (look for the
huge Esselunga sign on via Masaccio). Pass the supermarket, and at the junction
turn right and down into the underpass, which is perhaps the best place to see
contemporary art in Florence. Slow your pace to view the graffiti, a
permanently changing exhibition, taking the left path and coming out into piazza delle Cure.


it is any morning other than Sunday, you’ll be caught in the bustle of the
neighbourhood market. Pass through and head for via Franco Sacchetti, next to the pharmacy on the square. At the
end, turn right and follow the local shops along the side of the Torrente
Mugnone, beginning the gradual climb.


Via Giovanni Boccaccio-an
indication that the author’s famous Decameron was set nearby-narrows at the end, turning slightly away from the small river
and into Tuscan countryside. The street ambles uphill past an olive grove and
increasingly large villas, before opening out onto San Domenico di Fiesole.
Here you will find an often-open bar on the corner if you need a drink before
continuing through the hamlet and upwards along via Giuseppe Mantellini.


cautious of cars at the corners: this street may be busier than some in the
area but has been chosen because it offers encouraging views over Florence as
you climb. You will turn almost back on yourself as the street joins via Frà Giovanni da Fièsole detto
. You will be thankful that the street itself is not as long as
its name: within minutes you will find yourself resting at piazza Mino in Fiesole.


official scenic viewpoint is alas further still, just off the square, but weary
folk can take the ATAF 7 bus down the hill to piazza San Marco. The bus route has been marked on the map and can
be followed by eager runners keen for another 7km.




The full tour


route can be roughly cut into three parts for shorter distances, divided by the
Cascine Park, the Arno and Campo di Marte. For those keen for the full course,
start by heading east on the southern side of piazza del Duomo, along via
dei Pecori
. Turn left at the end, past a plethora of designer shops and
down the wider via dei Rondinelli,
before seeing Palazzo Strozzi to your left. At this point, take the second of
the right turns, via della Vigna Nuova,
which will bring you in view of the Arno.


along the water, past the suspicious eyes outside the U.S. Consulate, and when
the line of grand buildings ends, cut across the grass and over the ring road
along the cycle path. You find yourself at the entrance to the Cascine Park, a sea of green that, if
overlaid on the historic centre, would surely engulf the city. The park
includes a swimming pool, two hippodromes and countless paths, but for this
run, a simple loop will do.


on the Arno side. Running the length of the park you will be joined by fellow
runners, cyclists and, on a Sunday, Italians out for a stroll. You will jog
across a tramline and past piazzale
delle Cascine
before reaching the end, where there is a welcome drinking


a moment’s respite, follow the path round as it curves back towards Florence,
passing the two hippodromes on your left, or take to the trees and run along
the smaller paths westward. After the 7km park circular, cross the river and
run the length of the city on the south bank. You will pass two of the city’s
best gelaterie, the Ponte Vecchio and
Porta San Niccolò, before crossing back over on the seventh bridge you come to.
For those who lose count, it is Ponte
Giovanni da Verrazzano
and appears after 4km.


will now enter a more urban scene, straight over the bridge and ahead onto via Francesco de Sanctis. Continue past
the apartment blocks, and as the street opens out, swing left instead, onto via Lorenzo di Credi and towards the
high road and train tracks.


the other side, continue along via lungo
. It is a busy street and so not the most pleasant in Tuscany, but
after less than a kilometre you’ll be turning left onto viale Enrico Cialdini and towards the home of ACF Fiorentina: the
Artemio Franchi Stadium.


a right onto viale Manfredo Fanti and complete the ritual lap of the stadium grounds with the other runners
before coming to your start point and cutting through the grounds on viale Paoli, passing the swimming pool
to your left.


just 3km left, run straight towards delightful piazza delle Cure-full of local shops and Florentines-and turn left
under the colourful underpass, picking the left hand side exit onto viale Don Giovanni Minzoni. Go straight
on and veer left at the chaotic piazza
della Libertà
, jogging for a moment down viale Giacomo Matteotti before making a safe crossing at the first

more than 20km you now have little left to do but run, jog or walk down via Lamarmora, past landscaped gardens
and back into Renaissance Florence, arriving at the Duomo half a marathon


view maps of these jogging routes, visit (21km) and (7km/14km). Additional routes of 3km and 5km can be found online at: .

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