Relaxing at Florence’s River Urban Beach

There are a series of three pop-up cafés near the San Niccolò Tower, one on the shore: River Urban Beach; another is a terrace, Terrazza Marasco, overlooking the beach and the Arno river for perfect sunset views and delicious sit-down food. The third is stylish, laid-back spot—a Parisian style kioskis further down the Arno across from the two and offers killer cocktails with aperitivo food for a reasonable price (cocktail and snacks starting at €6).

The following is a guide to chilling out along the riverside.

The Terrace

With a spectacular view, live music and delicious food, The Terrace (at Terrazza Marasco) is a great place to enjoy a relaxing, open-air sunset dinner in Florence. This year, notable New York chef Alexandro Sala from Sant’Ambroeus joins the team, whipping up summer-themed recipes, from linguini with clams and a mouth-watering deep-fried seafood platter, to slow-leavened pizza approved by Domenico Felice, member of the APP (Professional Pizza Makers Association). A well-organized system where you write your order on a chalkboard and give it to the waitstaff makes for quick and faultless service and facilitates group, family-style dining. Its offerings are pricier than the other pop-ups along this section of the Arno, though they are well worth the money. For optimal sunset-viewing, split a bottle of spumante with friends (€20) and a plate of starters or a mini-slider burger.

River Urban Beach

You may do a double-take passing along the bank of the Arno when you see a stretch of beach with umbrellas, beach chairs, and summer pop blasting out from a neon-lit DJ booth. You have not stepped into another dimension, or teleported to Santa Monica Beach—Santa Croce’s tower across the river ensures that you are still in the cradle of the renaissance–you’ve just wandered into the River Urban Beach. Offering an extensive menus of juices, smoothies, and milkshakes in addition to a light and affordable panini and salad menu, Urban Beach is the perfect place to unwind after a hard day of work.


The kiosk lies in the center of the park located across the street from the Tower of San Niccolò. The most casual of Easy Living’s spots—the iron-wrought structure is home to some refreshing high-caliber cocktails, with aperitivo food offered as well. The seating spreads out across the shady green-space, with casual lounge-chairs and riverside tables available for visitors to socialize and catch-up after work or for a pre-dinner drink. An extensive beverage menu will satisfy everyone, including summer standards like the Spritz and after-dinner hits like the Stinger and the Tuxedo. For a hot Florentine afternoon, perhaps a Vodka Lemon or a Mojito (€7) will do the trick—both perfect antidotes to the blazing sun.

Sunbathing, relaxation, and boaters animate the beach by day, while performances and DJ sets (with an accompanying bar) make for great nightlife.  (tyler bunton)