Florence has always been a city where you can breathe an air filled with sport, and it is perfect for sports enthusiasts because it offers the opportunity to get involved in lots of activities, leaving no room for boredom. For one thing, Florence is the city where the game of football was born, which has evolved over time to become one of the most popular sports in the world.
The Arno river has been highly praised by the great poets and is the river that "cleaves" Florence in two. It has seen everything over the centuries but has managed to retain its unique charm. The light of the sun that can be seen between the arches of the bridges at at sunset is perfect for an Instagram running shot, a walk or a bike ride.
If you find yourself in Florence and you don't want to let go of your desire to do sports but don't know where to start, we can reveal some secrets about the best activities to do at the right times and in the most beautiful places.
If you love cycling, you are in the right city to give vent to your passion for bikes. It doesn't matter whether you are an mountain or road bike expert, or whether you prefer more relaxing outings on a bike: Florence offers bike paths for all tastes.
There are orange bikes to rent scattered everywhere thanks to the Florence bike-sharing service promoted by the municipality by downloading the free Mobike App. If you also love art in addition to sport, getting around Florence by bike is a great way to admire the architectural wonders in motion and sneak into the city's characteristic alleys.
If two-wheeled vehicles are your passion, Florence offers a park filled with natural cycle paths: the "Lungarni" are flat roads that run along the Arno, which are perfect for gliding along in peace amid the charm of historic buildings and bridges that cross the river.
If you are a mountain bike lover (but also a hiker), you can enjoy wonderful views of Florence from above. The best slopes in Florence to reach by bike or on foot are Piazzale Michelangelo and Fiesole.
Piazzale Michelangelo can be reached from the two city gates: Porta San Niccolò (starting from Piazza Ferrucci) and Porta Romana create a half-moon on the west side of the city, both merging into the square after a 100-metre climb. A breathtaking panorama opens up as you get further up, where the city merges with the Florentine countryside.
A more demanding ascent takes you to the most famous hill in Florence (to which the city has also dedicated one of the stands in its stadium): Fiesole. With a gradient of over 200 metres, it was the first ascent in the Tuscany world circuit in 2013. The climb, the incline of which should not be taken lightly, leads to the wonderful Fiesole viewpoint and completely dominates the city.
Absolutely unmissable routes unfurl through the Florentine countryside from both "peaks".
Credits photo: EasyLiving Facebook Page
For those who love the zen world, in summer, many lovers of this discipline gather on the Arno Beach at sunset every Wednesday, led by teachers from It's Yoga Florence , who offer the opportunity to relax and meditate in one of the most beautiful places Italy for free. Just go, entry is free.
In total contrast to the world of"mindfulness", the beach on the Arno also offers space for those who like a less soft approach. In collaboration with Firenze Rugby, free trail days are organised to introduce people to this dynamic sport.
If you thought that bowls is only ever played on the beach by the sea, you were very wrong. This versatile beach also offers the chance to play this specialty invented in Provence, in collaboration with the Federazione Italiana Bocce (Italian Bowls Federation).
There are green spaces with free access all along the Arno, where you can practice any type of free body activities. Whether alone or with a group of friends, just bring a mat and get stuck into stretching, yoga, gentle exercise and a world of other great things invented on the spot! In the southern area of the city, there is the Parco dell'Anconella, the banks of the eastern shore near the Ville sull’Arno and the Giardini di Bella Riva on the other side. The north of the city is home to the Parco delle Cascine, the largest green space, where, among other things, there is also a well-kept racecourse for horse racing lovers (Ippodromo delle Cascine). It is worth taking a break to check it out.
Florence is ideal for running addicts. Whether you run solo or with a group of friends, the Lungarni are not just any place to go running. They perfect tracks that cross the city, extending along the Arno, where you can give vent to your passion, caught up in the charm of the Florentine atmosphere.
The Florence Marathon is a must for 42 km runners. Considered one of the biggest national and world running events, it passes through the streets of the historic centre and reaches the most evocative areas of the city.
However, Florence does not forget about the less experienced marathon runners: before you have time to finish one marathon, another one is already starting.
Other events organised by Firenze Marathon include the Ginky Family Run, the marathon dedicated to families with children, and Huawei Staffetta and Huawei Firenze Clap Contest, both fun-filled non-competitive running events that follow the rule of the more the merrier!
Corri la Vita is a pink-themed charity run for the fight against cancer, and is an event that combines doing good with a race to culture. In fact, on this day, you can visit museums, churches, palaces, gardens and much more free of charge.
DeejayTen, the marathon tour organised by the number one Italian radio station, also stops in Florence, colouring the city with its unmistakable style in May.
Florence is considered the home of football because it was here that this sport found its maximum expression during the time of the Medicis, and the Florentines are very proud of the cult that has developed around it over time.
Being a city that loves to maintain traditions, the most important tradition in the sports field comes to life in June every year: Calcio Storico Fiorentino, held in Piazza S. Croce.
Also known as Calcio in Costume (Football in Costume) because of the gaudy garments typical of the era it was created in but still worn by players today, Calcio Storico is more than a historical sports re-enactment in Florence, it is an untouchable status symbol for the Florentines. It is an event that brings out all the patriotism in the city and results in a wholly unique unique display of combat and physical resistance that is worth seeing at least once in a lifetime.
What would Florence be like without Fiorentina?
If you pose this question to a Fiorentina fan who is happy with their origins, you will probably find them at a loss to come up with an answer. This may not be too obvious, as deep down they are as naturally elegant as their city, but they would surely not be able to imagine a world without their favourite team.
When Fiorentina plays at home, Florence is coloured with purple “pride”, showing off all over the historic Red Lily, an ancient emblem that has always characterised not only the team but also the city of Florence.
Another symbolic element of the city of Florence is rowing, which boasts an important historical legacy. There are two rowing clubs in Florence: Società Canottieri Firenze which first laid its roots in 1886. Overlooking the Lungarno Annamaria de' Medici, near the Ponte Vecchio, you can see the club, which offers a breathtaking view with its manicured green lawn shining by the river.
Further south, on the opposite bank, there is the ASD Canottieri Comunali Firenze, the other Florentine rowing club, which is more specialised in activities dedicated to canoeing and kayaking.
The Canottieri Comunali di Firenze Club also promotes social activities such as support for women who have had mastectomies. In fact, a group of women "in pink" (with mastectomies) comprise the Florence Dragon Lady, the Florentine dragon boat team that paddles up and down the Arno to give a strong message of encouragement to other women who are fighting against cancer.
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