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Florence Pools, Parks, and Beaches: Cheap ways to keep cool under the Tuscan sun

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Le Cascine park in Florence
Trees provide some shade at Le Cascine park. Photo by @nnalis@.

There is no reason why your Florentine holiday should feel like you’re walking on the bubbling surface of the sun. (Unless of course you are a seasoned fire walker, in which case your callused feet will feel right at home.)

For all other readers, here are a few activities in Florence that will keep you on the cooler side of the sun without spending a ton.

Swimming in Florence

The biggest and most frequented pool complex in town is la Piscina Comunale Costoli near the Campo di Marte Stadium. The complex contains three pools and during the summer  is open to the public for €6.50. There is also a baby pool and water slides. To get there, take ATAF buses 10, 17 or 20 or walk five minutes north of the Campo di Marte Train Station.

Another option is the Parco Piscina Le Pavoniere, an outdoor pool set in a green space along the Arno River. Entry costs €7 on weekdays and €8 on the weekends. The pool is within walking distance from the center. It can also be accessed by ATAF bus 17C.

Beaches near Florence

Public beaches are quite scarce in Italy, so a trip to the sea could mean dishing out some cash for a spot in the sand. Typical expenses on these private beaches include fees for chairs, parasols or an entrance fee to the beach.

The closest option from Florence is Viareggio, which can be accessed by train in an hour and a half.  (It makes a good day trip.) A round-trip ticket costs around €12, but the rest of your excursion could run a bit higher depending on which part of the beach you settle on. Being the closest beach to Florence, Viareggio can also get quite packed, and the prices in the city tend to be on the spicy side.

If you have access to a car, why not take a little adventure up the coast? Everyone raves about Cinque Terre, but Tuscany’s Riviera Apuana is much less crowded and closer to Florence. Plus,  it has its own share of Mediterranean charisma.

Parks in Florence

While in Florence, shade is your friend. And trees give lots of shade so you will definitely want to be friends with them. The problem is that there is not much green in downtown Florence—unless you visit the little parks peppered between the streets.

A perfect example is the small yet beautiful Giardino del Palazzo Vivarelli Colonna near the Santa Croce Basilica.  It’s open Tuesday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It offers lots of trees and lots of shade, and it’s entirely free.

A second option is Le Cascine, the largest public park in Florence. Situated along the Arno River, it’s a great place to picnic, read and relax. On Tuesdays, it turns into a huge market from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. However, like all big city public parks, it’s best to avoid it once the sun sets.

And as a last option to beat the heat: There is, of course, air-conditioning.

About the author

Marc Justin Cinanni

About the author: Marc Justin Cinanni has recently begun experimenting with polenta without much success. You can follow him on Twitter here: http://www.twitter.com/marcstories

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