If I were to describe summer in Florence with a Hollywood metaphor, it would be along the lines of “It’s like The Hunger Games. Everyone fights for a spot in the shade and some food, but no one dies.” Ok, this might be overkill, but the hot season here can prove challenging. Here are a few survival hacks to keep cool. Use these and you will walk beside the Arno at 2pm with as much confidence as Katniss Everdeen in the arena.
1/ It’s all about planning
Summer breakfast / Ph. @verymarygray
Start your day in a typical Italian way: with a caffé freddo and cornetto. Take advantage of the fresh morning breeze to go outdoors: piazza del Duomo is far less crowded at 8am! Save the “big boys” and head to smaller museums in the afternoon. The Brancacci Chapel in newly made-over piazza del Carmine is a must see for beautiful frescoes without the crowds.
2/ Pool time
Le Pavoniere in the Cascine Park
Imagine going for a dip in a pool with a view of the famous rolling hills, carpeted with woods and grapevines. If you are not that wealthy, there are plenty of pools within the city limits. Piscina Costoli is less crowded and offers student and group discounts. When all else fails, buy a small paddling pool for your minute apartment, Google “pool Tuscany” and picture yourself elsewhere. Problem solved.
3/ Arno living
You can’t go swimming in the Arno, but you can live the river. Join Florence’s rowing club (Società Canottieri) and learn a practical skill that will stay with you for life. Alternatively, go rafting. Firenze Rafting makes river living a pleasure in a dinghy for singles, couples and groups: picnic hampers are even lowered down from the Ponte Vecchio for an aperitivo with bubbles and bites.
4/ Movies and monuments
Hot on the tails of last year’s success, the courtyard of the Uffizi Galleries transforms into the Apriti Cinema outdoor cinema with an intriguing line-up of movie classics. The newly renovated Manifattura Tabacchi is hosting a festival for the entire month of July, in collaboration with Teatro Puccini. Don’t miss the Sorrentino vs. Garrone nights. Head here for the city’s best summer events.
5/ Get out of town
When you can stand the heat and humidity no more, leave town. Head for the hills of Fiesole or the woodland of Vallombrosa. Stop at a vineyard and enjoy a reviving glass of wine in the countryside. Hop on a train to Viareggio and treat yourself to a ombrellone on a private beach. Feel the breeze and summer sun caressing your skin and just live the moment: you’re in Tuscany after all!