By Tyler Alway
Summer is upon us, and temperatures are rising. While even the Arno can look refreshing on the hottest days in Florence, check out our favorite rooftop bars, swimming pools, and beaches in the nearby area to beat the heat this summer!
La Terrazza, Piazza Repubblica: On top of Rinascente Department Store, this rooftop cafe has amazing views on all sides with its perfect position smack dab in the middle of Florence’s center.
Sky Lounge, Hotel Continentale: Right over the Ponte Vecchio is this upscale hotel with arguably the best rooftop bar in town. Only open from April to October, this bar gives a good excuse to get dressed up and lounge about on its decks overlooking views of the city and the hills.
Bardini Terrace, Costa San Giorgio: Going to the Boboli Gardens? Use your entry ticket to visit this bar with beautiful views of the gardens and Florence alike. After a recent restoration, this bar is sure to provide beautiful views and great drinks.
The Westin Excelsior: Florentines and tourists alike have been waiting for a great rooftop bar, from which they can take in sweeping views of the Duomo and the hills surrounding the city. Earlier this year their wishes came true when a rooftop bar and restaurant opened on the top floor of The Westin Excelsior. Not far from Ponte Vecchio, the bar and restaurant offer 360-degree views of Florence, the Arno river, and the Tuscan Hills.
Le Pavoniere: Le Pavoniere is immersed in the largest park of the city, the Cascine Park, which runs along the Arno river to the west of the city center. It looks like a swimming pool within a hotel since the location is enriched by an ancient villa, a poolside bar, restaurant and pizzeria. There is also a smaller pool perfect for children while in the evening Le Pavoniere turns into a disco!
An entire day costs €8 during the weekdays and €9 on the weekends. The pool is open Monday through Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm, while from Wednesday to Sunday it is open at night from 8 pm to 12 pm.
How to get there: from Santa Maria Novella Station, take the tram in the direction to “Villa Costanza” and get off at stop “Cascine”, or take bus 17 in direction “Verga 02” and get off at stop “Kennedy”. Address: Via della Catena 2, Cascine Park, Florence, 055/362233
Costoli: The Piscina Comunale Costoli is the biggest and best equipped pool center in Florence. It has two outdoor pools, an Olympic sized one as well as a smaller one perfect for children (plus a diving pool). The complex is located near the Artemio Franchi Stadium and next to the Mandela Forum, and is surrounded by a large lawn with lots of trees where you can lay down in the shade or grab some sunshine.
Within the complex, you’ll also find a bar where you can buy paninis, snacks, ice cream and much more. If you can plan ahead, we actually recommend packing a picnic to enjoy in the shaded park area and staying the entire day.
Entrance costs €7 for adults and €4 if you enter after 3pm. You can also buy a pass for 10 entries for just €60 (valid weekdays only). During the summer, the pool is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm (except on Thursdays when it is open until 8 pm) while on Monday it opens at 2 pm and closes at 6 pm.
How to get there: from the main station Santa Maria Novella, take bus 17 in the direction “Verga 02”, and get off at stop “Mille 09”. Other buses that stop nearby: 10 and 20.
The best convenient beach: Viareggio. Although the town itself isn’t particularly picturesque, the beach has everything you could need:cafes, restrooms, and showers. The shallow water makes it great for kids, and the beach is really long, so even though it gets extremely crowded, you’ll still be able to find a spot (although renting a cabana here, which you have to do, will cost you). It takes 1.5 hours on the train from Florence, and the train station is located half a mile from the beach.
The most beautiful nearby beach: Castiglioncello. This area of the Etruscan coast has both rocky and sandy beaches, perfectly clear water, a water sports center, and spectacular scenery, complete with cliffs and coves. The fastest train route takes you there in just under 2 hours, but the Castiglioncello train station is right near the beach.
The best scenery: Cinque Terre. Getting to the “Five Towns” will take you just over two hours, and then you’ll have plenty of options for exploration. The hike from Vernazza to Monterosso offers the best views, and you can cool down afterwards with an ice-cold margarita and a dip in the sea by Monterosso’s picture-perfect beaches. Hop on a bus with Bus2alps to see it all from €46.