Beaches and bathing suits aside, nothing signals the imminent arrival of summer quite like the art of eating all’aperto. Seeing and being seen dining outdoors – whether hunched over tiny piazza tables or taking in views on exclusive terraces – is a sacred rite of Florentine summer. But just as fun (and easier on your wallet) is the nostalgia-inducing practice of the picnic.
Camping out with sandwiches and crews of snacking friends isn’t possible (or enjoyable) in the thick of downtown, but plenty of areas in and around Florence have dedicated picnicking areas where you can tote a basket and blanket, or even fire up a public grill. Remember, of course, to respect these public spaces: when it’s time to pack up and head home from the park, leave your picnicking area better than you found it.
A bit closer to home base, in the Bagno a Ripoli hamlet San Donato in Collina, you’ll find the Bosco di Fonte Santa
, in many ways a geographical and natural wonder: despite being nearly 90 kilometers away from the Tyrrhenian Sea, this respite from the Renaissance city has flora populations typical of those on the Tuscan coast. A barbecue area
was introduced in 2014 and remains popular with residents seeking some food and nature-centered R&R.
No car? Hop on the tram and head to Scandicci’s Parco Poggio Valicaia
: under new management, the renovated park recently added four new picnic tables and a “green theatre”
, revealed at an inaugural party on May 5.
Heavy-duty public grills
(with wood offered by the park) are available for use from 11am to 3pm; visitors are asked to be flexible and share the space with other parties present. No personal grills are allowed.
Burgers and bratwurst not your thing? Keep it simple, pack a basket or backpack, chill some beverages in a mini-cooler and toss down a blanket on one of the authorized picnicking areas in Florence’s city parks. The Cascine
’s sprawling Quercione field
is a perfect place to refuel, kick up your feet and soak up the sun.