Issue 312 – Paradise (not lost)

BUY THIS ISSUE – The Florentine June 2024

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This month’s The Florentine is inspired by all things cycling ahead of the Tour de France’s Grand Départ in Florence on June 29. Plus, a walk around the city’s beautiful Botanic Gardens.



“Real heroes are others, those who have suffered in their soul, in their heart, in their spirit, in their mind, for their loved ones. Those are the real heroes. I’m just a cyclist.”

-Gino Bartali

Gino Bartali was far from “just a cyclist”. A “Righteous Among the Nations”, the Florentine used his bike training as a cover for rescue efforts to help Jews during World War II. Back in December 2010, it emerged that Bartali had once hidden a Jewish family in his cellar and, according to one of the survivors, saved their lives in doing so. Cycling from Florence through Tuscany, Umbria and the Marche, he used his fame to carry messages and documents to the Italian Resistance as neither the fascist police nor the German army wished to risk discontent by arresting him. There’s no denying that Bartali was both a hero and one hell of a cyclist too. He won the Giro d’Italia twice, in 1936 and 1937, as well as the Tour de France in 1938 and 1948. So, it comes as no surprise that the Florence-Rimini leg of this year’s Tour de France, which will begin in Florence on June 29, will be cycled in his name.

Even if you’re not into biking, you will be hard pressed not to be moved by the excitement surrounding the world’s greatest competitive bike race as the teams and their entourages take up residence in Florence from June 26 onwards. The Cascine park will act as a base camp, the Teatro del Maggio Fiorentino will host the global press, and landmarks like piazzale Michelangelo and the Palazzo Vecchio will provide the backdrop for the team presentations and a symbolic send-off of Le Tour respectively. Turn to page 3 for more details.

The issue seeks inspiration of the two-wheeled variety with a look at how to keep your bike safe in Florence (page 4), an overview of cycling clubs in and around the city (page 6) as well as bike rental services and news about the latest campaign to encourage commuters to take to the saddle (page 7), while Deirdre Pirro profiles Ottavio Bottecchia, the first Italian cyclist to win the Tour de France in 1924 (page 39).

Cycling aside, we chat with the co-founder of El Duomo magazine, Florence’s new Spanish language magazine (page 18), relate recently emerged research about the construction date of the Baptistery (page 22) and, given the warmer weather, examine Tuscany’s hat making traditions (page 25). New this month: we welcome Danielle Leite to our pages with her new column about the expat experience.Our cover (by Marco Badiani) embraces the sunnier season with a deep dive into one of Florence’s lesser-known gems. Head for the Giardino dei Semplici in via Pier Antonio Micheli for a breath of fresh among the palms, pergolas and tree-lined paths of the city’s university-managed botanic gardens. Head to page 9 to find out more.

Regardless of the here-today-gone-tomorrow nature of the Tour de France, be sure to pay your respects to our local hero by visiting the Gino Bartali Museum (via Chiantigiana 177).

Additional information

Weight 120 g

Digital PDF, Paper copy + Digital PDF