Now that the summer fun is over, we’re all craving wellbeing and company to tackle the shorter days ahead. This autumn, inspiring women from the US, Turkey and the Far East have boldly opened fitness spaces in Florence that strike a balance between wholesomeness and community.
The22: inspiring a new lifestyle
Buzz the bell at via de’ Ginori number 22 and you’ll be cocooned in a calming urban retreat. Yoga instructor Aparna Thadani from Hong Kong, personal trainer Lucinda Pasi from Borgo San Lorenzo and Istanbul-born Mina Akdag with an art and business background are the three women behind The22, which opened on September 22.
Beautiful wooden flooring, whitewashed walls and high ceilings trimmed with original medieval beams greet members for yoga and body-weight classes through circuit training and endurance training in the shalas. Pop by for a midday meditation to reset the day or relax with an evening session. Natural light fills the length of the lounge that leads to the marble and metal kitchen, the social hub at The22, where dinners and cultural occasions are held to celebrate interaction as the key factor in longevity. Massage rooms and luxuriously appointed changing rooms complete the first-floor space, while a terracotta terrace tops the experience, perfect for an outdoor class or unwinding after a long day in the city, perhaps after a one-on-one personalized re-programming session tailored to your needs.
Established as a members’ club concept, the philosophy of The22 near piazza San Lorenzo centres on basic Ayurvedic principles, enabling you to incorporate healthy habits into your life, exercise correctly and learn to listen to our bodies better.
Yearly memberships from 50 to 135 euro per month
Via de’ Ginori 22, Florence
IG + FB: @the22_collective
+39 333 3647784
Movement IQ: toning in the Oltrarno
Step into The Movement IQ Strength Lab round the corner from piazza Santo Spirito and you immediately feel revitalized. There’s something about the natural materials (wooden beams, terracotta tiles, stuccoed walls) and founder Ranah Farkhondeh’s youthful energy that will stand you in good stead in the months ahead. Don’t be deceived by the simplicity of the space: the weights, mat, benches and a wall-mounted mirror are part of Ranah’s trademarked approach, which blends strength training and Pilates.
The 30-year-old Angeleno had worked her way up to the top of the New York fitness scene, working for gym giant Equinox and training celebrities on the Upper East Side. “I got frustrated with the fitness scene in New York; it’s very bells and whistles. Substance was getting lost amongst the chaos. That’s one of the reasons why I was drawn to Italy. The fitness scene is a little more virgin and there’s more opportunity here.”
When the pandemic hit, Ranah, who at the time was dating a Tuscan guy from San Casciano, decided to make a major life change. The initial idea was to work for Barry’s Bootcamp in Milan, but the second wave of Covid put pay to that plan and Ranah, needing space in her relationship, headed to Florence for the weekend. “I can’t even explain it: it was like I dreamt this studio idea in my sleep in the Oltrarno. When I woke up the next morning, I thought, ‘I’m going to open up a studio’. It just happened like that.”
So, what is Movement IQ exactly? “In fitness classes, everyone does squats, push-ups and lunges all the time, but are they actually doing them correctly?” explains Ranah. “The body has a biomechanical blueprint for success; it’s just a matter of engaging things in the right way. Movement IQ blends the mobility and core work of Pilates with functional strength training to, as I like to say, bulletproof your body.”
16-25 euro per class depending on package purchased. Prices for personal training available during free consultation.
Via de’ Coverelli 13, Florence
+39 377 3443444