Cooling Off at Florence’s Parco dei Renai Lake

The Renai Park beach, photo by Freida Aguilar

A great way to beat the heat is to plan a short getaway to Signa to enjoy the cool waters of a freshwater lake. Renai Park also offers a diverse set of activities from horseback riding to waterskiing; considering the rise in temperatures this summer the lake is the most appealing as an escape from hectic city life.

Getting to the park from the Signa train station is a 15-minute walk through the small town. Although the park has a pool near the main entrance the additional 15-minute walk through the beautiful greenery of the park to arrive to the lake, located in Lotto 1, is well worth it.  An alternative is to take either bus 72 or 80. There is also a bike path through the Cascine park leading to the Parco dei Renai.  The lake is an easy find if you follow the arrowed signs with the Italian word “Spiaggia.”

To swim in the lake there is an entrance fee that may change depending on your age, day of the week and time of arrival. To stay for the whole day on weekends, from 10 am to 7 pm, the cost for adults is €10 and €7 for kids ages 3 to 12.

Weekday admission is  €8 for adults and €5  for children. There is also the option to go on weekdays from 10 am to 2:30 pm or 2:30 pm to closing time 7 pm closing time and pay €7 (adults) or €5 (children). During weekdays at lunchtime between noon and 3 pm, the entrance cost is only €4.

Prices include beach chairs and umbrella, inflatables for swimming in the water, the shower, and dressing rooms. There is also a bar that sells drinks, sandwiches, and gelato.

The lake is like a small beach oasis not far from the city; the air is nice and fresh just like the water, and the sand is nice and soft resembling a seashore rather than a lake.  The resort is  characterized by an almost tropical atmosphere. The wildlife native to the area helps maintain the ecosystem as authentic and environmentally-friendly as possible. The water is also very clean in that there is no litter because the park is respected by its visitors.

This location also attracts windsurfers, with water activities organized for children. Lessons in windsurfing, kite surfing and sailing can be arranged. There is also the option of renting a pedal boat to explore the lake.

The privacy and quiet sounds of the tranquil birds of the beach makes it easy to unwind from stress and relax. The ambiance is family friendly but the intimacy of the space makes it perfect for couples that are looking for a nice picturesque beach without having to leave the city or spend a lot of money. There are various seating areas with different types of chairs that make the stay at the lake on a hot day that much more comfortable.

The other park area, Lotto Zero also provides a place to relax and unwind.  consists of open countryside, bike paths, a range of sport facilities and even opportunities for bird-watching.

A glistening blue pool invites the guest to enjoy a swim or to chill out. The swimming pool is surrounded by an English-style garden that has a panoramic view of the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) reserve. There is also a stylish bar situated under a bright gazebo offering a range of cocktails, soft drinks and snacks.

The more adventurous visitor can participate in sports such as climbing, soccer, mini golf, table tennis and even skateboarding.

Lotto Zero also includes a restaurant with a panoramic view of the lake, which serves culinary specialties such as spaghetti with scampi, steak alla fiorentina and a choice of delicious desserts. After dining, sit back and enjoy the evening’s musical entertainment as a variety of live performances take place throughout the summer and early autumn.

All in all, a great escape from sweltering temperatures in Tuscany.  (freida aguilar)