Best riverside summer hangouts in Florence
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Best riverside summer hangouts in Florence

Head for the Arno this summer as the city's riversides explode with late-night entertainment, quality bars and great places to mingle.

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Wed 01 Jun 2022 5:12 PM

After two years of relatively quiet times for Florence’s nightlife and with a gorgeous summer ahead, the lungarni (the streets on either bank of the river Arno) have exploded with action and are dotted with deckchairs, food trucks and stages. Each of 2022’s riverside hangouts offer different, fun options.

With construction work still going strong in the San Niccolò area, which usually hosts a lively summer urban beach, most of the best hangouts are currently in the neighborhoods north of the river, stretching about three kilometres from lungarno Pecori Giraldi all the way to via della Funga in Firenze Sud.

For salsa + piña coladas

Habana 500

Habana 500 on lungarno Pecori Giraldi is Florence’s best riverside summer hangout if you love Latin American music. Visit by day to lounge in the sun or to play beach volley, and visit by night to bop around or practice your salsa and bachata. Dinner at Habana 500 is Cuban sandwiches, burgers, pizza, fried foods and salads. Fruit salads and centrifughe, freshly pressed fruit juice, are also available. If you love rum or piña coladas and other tropical cocktails, this is the spot for you.

For drinks, food + music

Next up is Il Fiorino Sull’Arno, also on lungarno Pecori Giraldi. Visit Il Fiorino for some of the best live music in town, which spans from karaoke nights to local jazz bands or internationally renowned DJs, such as Zurich-based producer Kalabrese. Keep an eye on the website and social channels to keep up-to-date with events. If you also wish to eat here, you’ll find a small restaurant with fish-based dishes or pizza. Important information: you can find restrooms between Il Fiorino and Habana 500 for one euro!

For foosball + beer

Il Tempio on lungarno del Tempio is one of the smaller venues: a little kiosk with a laidback atmosphere with simple white plastic riverside tables, where you can stop for a caffè, cocktails, beer and foosball.

For food + fun

At the opposite end of lungarno del Tempio, you’ll find the largest conglomeration of food offerings, La Toraia sul Lungarno, which features burgers by La Toraia, fish burgers and sandwiches by Pescepane, Sicilian food and gelato by Arà – è Sicilia, pizza by Il Pizzaiuolo, drinks by Dogana Beach and fried food by Tris Home. The space also includes a stage for book presentations, live music, soccer games, yoga, tarot card readings and children’s activities. Find out about upcoming events on their social channels. Oh, and there are portable restrooms on site.

For even more food + even more fun

Moving on to lungarno Cristoforo Colombo, you’ll find Molo, arguably Florence’s preferred summer riverside hangout, sitting on a platform where every stand is also built in wood. There might be less seating available here, but the plentiful food options please every palate: pizza by Simbiosi, octopus and fish by Il Polpaio, burgers by Bono Bono, poke bowls by Poke Pop, drinks by Rex, and coffee and gelato by Vivaldi. Sit down for an aperitivo or grab a drink and go lounge by the river on one of the beach chairs (don’t forget to wear insect repellent!). Regular events include live bands, DJ sets, children’s activities, capoeira classes, yoga classes and plogging.

For minigolf

Further down, way past Ponte Giovanni da Verrazzano and Tuscany Hall, you’ll find Fuoribordo Ekò (where Utopiko used to be), which isn’t directly on the water but it’s nearby. This is one of the largest summer spaces: it can seat up to 200 guests, but still feels spacious with lots of green space. There’s even minigolf entertainment! The food offering includes chicken panini and burritos by A Tutto Pollo, pizza by Ammore e Niente Più, meat sushi by Sax Cafè, burgers by Arnold’s, poke by Pokè by Ekò and drinks by Eko.

For evening picnics

Parkarno is new for Summer 2022 along lungarno Aldo Moro. Open Tuesday to Friday from 8pm onwards, book ahead for a platter of cured meats, bruschetta and fried treats washed down with a cocktail or glass of wine for 16 euro per person. It’s a cute experience as colourful cushions and picnic blankets are scattered on the grass at sunset and live music is playing in the background. Vegan and vegetarian options are available.

For a Florentine summer experience

Ph. @cei.tommaso

Circolo Rondinella del Torrino on lungarno Soderini is a great spot for a caffè, a beeror an easy spritz with a pretty view of the river and central Florence, but also for an affordable lunch or dinner sitting at a plastic table on a fake grass lawn, surrounded by locals chatting about the local calcio storico team. The menu is simple, short and changes daily, and it’s well-known for its traditional Tuscan dishes.

A local’s tip: get a bike

I always recommend venturing out further than you usually would, especially if you feel like Florence is as “touristy” as ever and if you want to meet more locals. In my experience, bikes are one of the best ways to get around, especially along the Arno, which is largely lined with cycle paths. If you live in Florence, even if just for a couple of months, consider purchasing a cheap bike and an expensive lock (or two!) as bike theft is quite common; if you’re visiting, consider signing up to a bike sharing service.

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