During the month of August in Florence, temperatures soar, humidity levels peak, and many Florentines make a beeline for the seaside to escape the impending heat. For those who have ocean-side houses and a few weeks of vacation, a mass exodus is a logical move.
For those who choose to stay in the city, however, the heat index conjures up the need for creativity. Luckily, there are plenty of activities and escapes within the city limits that will help you stay cool in Florence.
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When the heat gets to a certain point and you’re landlocked, a day at a swimming pool is your saving grace. Luckily, Florence has plenty of public pools where you can enjoy the heat and sunshine with a place to cool off nearby. In the Cascine Park, you’ll find Le Pavionere, a public pool set behind an ancient Medici villa. There’s a pool bar, an averaged size pool for adults and an adjoining shallow pool for kids. In the evenings, this is also a popular spot for aperitivo.
Another popular choice is the Costoli pool. This is the largest public pool in Florence, located on the opposite end of the city from the Cascine Park near the Artemo Franchi Stadium. The complex includes two larger swimming pools, one of Olympic size and a smaller pool that’s more for kiddos. The pool is surrounded by a grassy area where you can lounge on your towel in the sun or the shade. There’s also a pool bar, but you could always pack a panini, some fruit and plenty of water, if you’d rather have a poolside picnic.
If you’re game to trek a little farther, you could head to the KLAB Marignolle in the area between Scandicci and Galluzzo slightly outside of Florence. The complex includes three large swimming pools, a jacuzzi, a pool bar, lounge chairs, and a play area for kids. It’s easiest to reach by car or taxi, but you can also hop on bus 6A/6B next to the Santa Maria Novella station or from Piazza Degli Ottaviani, and get off at stop Di Scandicci 07 if you don’t mind a ten minute walk the rest of the way.
If you’re looking for a more luxe experience sans kids, you should head to Asmana Wellness World near the Florence airport. Here you can enjoy the outdoor pools, saunas, and if you wish you can pay extra for massages or beauty treatments.
Sometimes a shady park bench can be the perfect spot to spend an afternoon. If you want to be outside, but aren’t quite up for a full on pool day, head over to the Boboli Gardens, the largest in Florence, which are located behind Palazzo Pitti. There are plenty of trees and shadows to take shelter under with a book and the interior of the Palace courtyard has a little cafe if you plan to linger for a while.
Boboli Gardens in Florence
Parco della Cascine, the largest public park in Florence, on the north bank of the Arno also offers plenty of area to roam and shade to take refuge in. If you’re closer to the other end of the city, Giardino dell Anconella is the second largest public park with plenty of spots to plop down for a picnic with some fresh fruit and cold white wine. Read more about parks in Florence here.
During the day, a cool movie theatre offers entertainment and a much-needed reprieve from the heat all rolled into one. Check out what’s playing at La Compagnia on Via Cavour in the center of the city. The theater shows a mixture of popular flicks and indie films in their original language with Italian subtitles in the city center. If you’re game to head a bit outside the center, UCI Firenze is a larger movie theater with blockbuster films dubbed in Italian.
If you want to wait until the sun goes down, you can enjoy a movie under the stars when temperatures are a little more forgiving. There are plenty of places to enjoy “Cinema All’Aperto” or outdoor cinemas in Florence during the summer. Check out Villa Bardini’s film lineup. Book in advance online in order to secure a spot with a dream view of Florence at night to your left.
Santa Maria Novella is also hosting “Cinema in Chiostro,” with outdoor screenings throughout August. The church courtyard serves as a magical setting for night of cinema and can accommodate up to 250 people. You can check out the lineup here.
If you’re determined to soak up the city sights regardless of the humidity, be sure to make a pit stop for some gelato. Our favorites are La Carraia on the Oltrarno side of the city, Vivoli near Santa Croce, or Gelateria dei Neri in the heart of Via dei Neri near Palazzo Vecchio.
Photos by Prontopia and Chris Lawton on Unsplash
American content writer in Italy. Her hobbies include getting dressed up to go to art museums, hopping on trains to cities she's never been, and talking to herself in a mixture of English and Italian.