As you might have heard on the news, Europe is experiencing a heat wave right now, and lots of cities are reporting temperatures of over 100 F. Though the heat might cool down a little bit this week, usual July temperatures are still hot, and we have put together some of our favorite ways to beat the heat in one of our favorite cities – Florence.
5. Explore a new museum
Though Florence is a serious heavy hitter in the museum department (the Uffizi is one of the most famous in the world, and the Accademia is just behind) there are other interesting (and cool) indoor sites to see in the renaissance capital of the world. The Cappelle Medicee is a chapel adjacent to the basilica of San Lorenzo in the market neighborhood is more than worth a stop. The opulent Cappella dei Principi is spellbinding and alone worth the trip, and some of the other sculptures, such as the Madonna and child by Michelangelo, are also worth seeing.
4. Cool off with a craft cocktail
Florence is a young and elegant city, and not a stranger to craft cocktails and mixology- its become incredibly popular in the last few years. Places like Locale, with its airy, high ceilings and incredibly designed vertical garden interior, help us breathe a little easier after a hot day- and though pricey, their drinks are creative and excellent. Just the way to beat the heat.
3. Go green
Florence has several gorgeous gardens that are great places to seek out some shade and recharge your batteries. The Boboli gardens, behind Palazzo Pitti, are the most popular, covering 111 acres filled with statues and fountains, with a breathtaking view from the higher parts of the garden. The Bardini garden has perhaps an even better view and is much less crowded- it’s open to the public only since 2010. The villa in the gardens hosts a permanent collection of works by Pietro Annigoni and other temporary exhibits year round. Also worth checking out- the rose garden, the iris garden and the Florence botanical garden – one of the oldest in the world!
2. Go up, up, up
Looking for a breeze and to get above the hot, sticky crowds? Florence has several lovely rooftop bars to cool off and escape the heat. Hotel Continentale along the Arno has a great one with a view. Palazzo Lucchesi, also on the river, has another breezy, open terrace (and a small pool) with a view overlooking the whole city. The Italian luxury shopping mall La Rinascente also has a small terrace that usually on the hottest days has cool vapor fans that are much appreciated- and window shopping in the cool, air conditioned mall isn’t a bad idea either.
1. One of our favorite words in the Italian language- gelato
Florence has some of our favorite gelato in all of Italy. We aren’t talking about the unnaturally, neon colored kind, piled sky high (which sky high prices to match), but the artisanal, unique favors of some of the quality gelaterie in the city. Using fresh and local ingredients, you can taste (and see) the difference in the care these small shops put into making gelato. It's the perfect way to cool off with a sweet treat in this sweltering heat.