For anyone visiting Italy, it’s impossible to resist the appeal. You may even feel like you’re becoming Italian! To complete the immersion, why not hang with the locals in this iconic Renaissance capital? Here are our picks for the best local Florence haunts:
- Le Cascine ParkOriginally owned by the Medici family (at one time the wealthiest family in Europe) Florence’s largest park was once used for game hunting and later, to grow fruit and vegetables. Today it’s a popular local spot for jogging, bike riding, bird watching, lazing around with friends or playing a friendly game of soccer. It’s also home to Le Pavoniere, an outdoor aquatic centre that transforms by night into a poolside bar and restaurant, serving up cocktails, pizzas and live music.
- Crazy Bowling.
So it doesn’t sound classically Italian, but you are sure to find lots of Fiorentini in this American-style bowling alley, just a short bus ride from Florence’s historic city centre. But’s it’s not just bowling – there are also arcade games, billiards, a casino and eateries. Catch tram 1 from outside Florence’s central train station, Firenze Santa Maria Novella, to the Nenni–Torregalli stop.
- Dancing spots and discotecas
Late night dancing is a popular pursuit in Florence and there are tons of great venues for discos and live music, many of them in ancient, underground cellars. Stalwarts for the younger crowd and lovers of house music include Tenax, Club TwentyOne and Space Electronic. Also check out Flò Lounge Bar, an open-air club open during summer and fall, Otel Variete, known for their dinner show and disco, and Manduca, a popular local spot open during the summer months. For something quieter, try the rooftop wine bar at Hotel Torre Guelfa, an intimate wine bar atop a medieval family house. Keep an eye out for concert and event posters that are posted around the city. Florence’s English newspapers are also good guides for the city’s after-dark activities.
- Lunch restaurants
In Florence’s historical centre, you’ll find lots of restaurants offering cheap lunch menus to beat the economic crisis. Which makes it far more affordable to eat out for lunch rather than dinner. Osteria il Buongustai, Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina and Zeb are all favourites with both locals and long-time expats.
ALL the fun!!!