It’s that time of the year again—the tourists spill in, the locals filter out and Florence is filled with a strange asymmetry you won’t find again until next August. It’s Ferragosto season, and while most Florentines have closed up shop and are headed to the beach, others aren’t so lucky. If you happen to be one of the few who aren’t able to spend weeks away because of finances or work, have no fear—we’ve compiled a list of the perfect places to go for a quick day trip or weekend getaway.
Isola D’Elba is just six miles away from the Tuscan coast, but the second you step on the shore you’ll feel like you’re much farther from the cities you’re escaping. Elba is usually full of secluded beaches, but not during this time of year—this island is a prime spot during Ferragosto, so it’s easy to blend in with the vacationers and spend a day or two on the Capo Bianco with others celebrating the summer holiday. A fun fact for the history buffs: this was one of Napoleon Bonaparte’s favorite spots and where he spent his time in exile. Check out the Palazzina dei Mulini, the farmhouse-turned-palace Bonaparte used to inhabit.
Livorno is the best of both worlds: there’s sand and there’s sea, not to mention it’s close enough that you can hop on a bus or train in the Santa Maria Novella station, spend the day on the beach (sandy or rocky—your choice) and be home by the time the sun goes down. Escape Florence’s sweltering heat and cool off in the clear Ligurian sea or check out some of the local architecture, from the Cathedral of Saint Francis of Assisi to the Fortezza Vecchia.
MONTEROSSO AL MARE
The first town along Italy’s famed Cinque Terre, Monterosso is an easy trip for anyone needing a day away. Spend some time exploring the colorful town or take a hike through its beautiful neighbors. It’s a long stretch, but the views (and the photo opportunities) are well worth it. When you need to cool off, grab a drink and head down to the beach. For those who haven’t found the time to visit the Cinque Terre yet, it’s the perfect excuse to finally see what the hype is all about.
Just because it isn’t a beach doesn’t mean it won’t be a good vacation. If exploring medieval cities is more your style, spend a few days wandering around other landlocked parts of Tuscany, such as Monteriggioni. What’s unique about this little-known city is not what’s in it but around it: Monteriggioni’s Medieval walls are still intact and surround the city completely. Only 55 kilometers from Florence, it may not be the conventional vacation spot, but it has scenic views and an atmosphere that’ll make you feel like you’ve traveled back in time.