Serre Torrigiani & River Urban Beach Getaways

The River Urban Beach

With day temperatures still in the 90s, and travel not easy due to COVID-19, but don’t let that prevent you from enjoying a staycation. There’s plenty of local getaway spots that are waiting to be explored. The first edition of this series (read here) explored the spots near Santa Maria Novella train station, the second edition for the August 15 Ferragosto holiday took us to the gardens of Florence and now we move along the Arno to Magenta’s third edition of the summer spot series.

From urban gardens to river beaches and everything in between, Florence has a mix of spots that’ll brighten up your summer. Grab your sunglasses and let’s take a look at the best and hottest Florentine summer spots.

Glorious Garden 

As you walk around the city’s center nearing via Calzaiuoli, you’ll stumble across the first location, a garden bar. It’s a hidden gem in the heart of the city. 

The green oasis invites onlookers to enjoy a cold drink in the comfort of potted plants and blossoming flowers. The garden bar, known as the Serre Torrigiani in Piazzetta, is open every day from morning to evening, 11 am to 11 pm (the second location, Serre Torrigiani bistro in via Gusciana, is also currently open).

To enter the secret garden, you’ll have to follow the arrows through the narrow alley off via Calzaiuoli to the Piazza of the Three Kings (Piazza de Tre Re) where the oasis is located. If the journey through the “jungle” isn’t enticing enough, the astonishing mix of greenery and fountains upon entering will invite you to take a seat. 

Climbing plants, flowers and potted trees will surround you as you enjoy classic Tuscan staples like “panzanella”–a tomato and bread salad–and “pappa al pomodoro” a bread tomato soup enriched with Tuscan olive oil. The blend of food, live music and a refreshing aperitif will cool you down as you travel to the next summer spot.

Sandy Shores 

If you can’t take the summer heat, the next location is the perfect spot to chill out. As you travel from the city center to the Arno River, you’ll discover the sandy beaches of Florence.

The River Urban Beach (Spiaggia Sull’Arno) is open daily from 10 am to 12 am. Located on the riverside, the spot welcomes those looking for a day away from the bustling city. The sizzling sun is no match for the rows of umbrellas and beach chairs lining the sandy shores. It’s the perfect location to kick your shoes off and relax all day long or after a long day at work.

If you work up an appetite while paddle boarding or playing a game of volleyball, the riverside location has a series of three pop-up cafés: one on the shore, another on a terrace and the third further down the river. The café on the shore serves juices, smoothies, salads and paninis to be enjoyed on the beach. Comparatively, the terrace (Terrazza Marasco) offers a sit-down dining experience with a spectacular view and live music. Moving down the river, the kiosk brings a new “exotic” setting to the river with sun loungers, gazebos and umbrellas. Enjoy a refreshing aperitif with your choice of burgers, flatbreads or seafood.

As the sun sets, hints of reds, yellows and pinks tickle the shoreline. The moon begins to rise, but the journey does not end here. Continuing down the river, you’ll discover the next summer spot. 

Riverside Resort

This next spot has the ultimate recipe for summer: live music, food and cocktails. All of which can be enjoyed at the “Molo,” located on Lungarno Colombo, from 10 am to 12 am. The newly renovated location includes a floating stage for events, a pier for boat trips, quality street food–including octopus, organic pizza, sushi and a variety of fried food–as well as cocktails. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a night out with friends.

From center city gardens to riverside resorts, there’s plenty of spots to enjoy this summer in Florence. Just close your eyes and enjoy where the journey takes you. (rachel pellegrino