Valleys, gardens, river banks and art: dive into the green and rediscover #slowflorence

Beyond the historic center, Florence has infinite beauty secrets. It’s all about discovering them slowly, one by one, connecting with the nature and with the history of the paths situated around the city like a treasure map.?From the banks of the Arno, to Bellosguardo, Castello, Galluzzo, Mensola and then behind Piazzale Michelangelo: rediscover the city through 7 historical & green itineraries. Florence is best when it’s seen slowly.
Change your perspective, the Florence's green side is waiting for you.

Let go of stress and rediscover yourself with a walk or cycle in the fresh, clean air and glorious green of north-west Florence where history, art and landscape meet. This route through the majestic Medici villas of Castello and Petraia with their splendid gardens is a must. Pass by other impressive villas such as Accademia della Crusca and Villa Corsini and the Church of San Michele a Castello.

Once home to Anna Maria Luisa de ‘Medici, the last descendant of the family, Villa La Quiete is another spectacular site where beautifully curated gardens stretch out in front of you. Head north-east for another stunning route that takes you between the Mensola valley and the Settignano hills.
You’ll find the very best of Tuscan nature in this protected natural area where you’ll find rare types of flora and fauna.

As well as having plenty for nature lovers, you’ll also find historic spots hidden among the trees. The Church of San Martino in Mensola and the Church of Santa Maria in Settignano are well worth a visit and make sure to explore the garden of Villa Gamberaia as well before you head back.

Slow tourism gives you a deeper engagement with where you travel too. Spend some quality time discovering the natural rhythms of Tuscany by heading to the hills of Bellosguardo and losing yourself in the natural beauty of the countryside just next to the city. The route to get you there winds along narrow streets lined by historic walls opening up to some of the most incredible views.

Depart from via di San Carlo, going towards Il Boschetto, taking in places like Villa Strozzi Park and Monte Oliveto along the way. Alternatively, take the path to the magnificent balcony over Florence, Piazzale Michelangelo. The route features some of the most iconic sites, as well as some you may not have come across. The Iris garden, the Rose garden, the Church of San Miniato, the Bobolino garden…the list goes on! Every street you go down will lead you to another splendid location. Getting lost here is half the fun!

Continue your discovery of Florence with a trip to Galluzzo, the crossroads between Florence, Scandicci, Bagno a Ripoli and Impruneta. This interesting melting pot brings together aspects of all the above places and the attentive eye will be able to spot interesting geological features such as the pietra forte from Monteripladi, and the galestrino soil of the Impruneta hills.  

Take a walk or go for a cycle along the idyllic banks of the river Arno. Take in your surroundings at ease in the east of Florence with the Monte dell’Arno route. Made up of gardens and parks like at Villa Favard and Pazzagli, and great stretches of undisturbed land, you’ll be brought right to the essence of Tuscany. From Ponte San Niccolò at the foot of Viale dei Colli, to Sant’Andrea a Rovezzano, wonderful views of incredible villas and of course, the ever-present historical monuments such as the Church of San Andrea in Rovezzano make this an itinerary you won’t want to miss out on. The calm and peace of nature will bring you untold relaxation and allow you to savour the landscape.

Get off the beaten track and away from the hurried movements and noise of the crowds. This itinerary along the banks of the Arno explores some of the best kept secrets of the city. In the west of Florence, downstream of the Arno among the trees and idyllic countryside you’ll find some of the most perfect places for walking and running. Two large parks, Cascine and Argingrosso are ideal starting points, or you can head toward the Indiano and Ponte alla Vittoria bridges to fly high above the valley. The Indiano bridge is in fact the first earth-anchored cable-stayed bridge in the world so you can contemplate that fact as you race along! 

Whichever direction you choose, you’re sure to find peace, tranquility, beauty, history and nature in front of you.