One of the challenges to living in any city is finding places to run! Here in central Florence, it seems that the tourists never leave. The already narrow streets are always packed with people, making it difficult to move. You always have to have your eyes and ears open, ready to dodge the next bicycle to sneak up behind you, or the next vespa whizzing around the corner. It’s impossible to think clearly, let alone run in such a crowded space.
So where do people go to get their exercise and peace of mind? Truth be told you won’t see too many Florentines out and about jogging. I’m not quite sure if this is simply because they don’t exercise like we do in America or if they have some secret place they all go for their morning run. Perhaps its just a combination of good genes and constant walking/cycling through the city that keeps Florentines in-shape.
While I have certainly adapted to the Florentine way of eating fresh food and walking everywhere, there are days where all I want to do is get away from the hustle and bustle and just run! Being from a small suburban town, I have missed running through forrested trails where there is soft ground, plenty of green space and fresh air to breath in. The last time I was in Florence, I think I went for a run a total of 3 times in 4 months because it was so difficult to find the right places to go. This time around, I’ve been on a hunt for the perfect running routes. And I think I’ve got a pretty good list going.
My Top Running Routes:
Cascine Park – The largest park in Florence (about 300 acres) with lots of trees, gravel trails, and interesting statues/monuments. I recently read that the Mayor of Florence is seeking to make improvements to the park. You can find out more about what’s happening here.
Piazzale Michelangelo – One of the best views of Florence! There are several ways to arrive at Piazzale Michelangelo, all of which make great running routes. I prefer to go the long way (along Viale Michelangelo and Viale Colli and all the way back down until I get to Porta Romana), but you can certainly make any route work for you. Regardless, you will find stunning fews that will get your adrenaline going for sure!
Arno River – duh! Seems so obvious, I know, but this is a great place to run if you don’t have a lot of time and just want a nice flat run. I recommend going early in the morning when no one is out yet so that you have the sidewalk to yourself.
Some other great running routes can be found here.