Urban Hiking in Florence

March 2, 2011

So in addition to seeing lots of museums, we climbed lots of stairs and did a bit of urban hiking. Our first big hike took us from the Uffizi Gallery, across the Arno River, and up to the Piazzale Michelangelo. We took it slowly. Stopping to admire the Ponte Vecchio bridge in the distance; dashing into a little market to pick up fresh fruit; noticing the water line marker from the 1966 flood,
 and turning the final stretch of our hike into a stair climbing race. When we finally emerged at the top of the stairs, we were greeted with this spectacular view of the city.
 It was worth every step to see that. We joined the strange assortment of locals, students, tourists, vendors, and even a group of chanting French monks in joint admiration of the sun drenched day and the beautiful city in front of us. After lounging in the sun and enjoying some well-deserved gelato (one of the true joys of hiking in Italy!), we then hiked all the way back. 
Our second big hike was the Duomo, that majestic structure which dramatically punctuates the Florence skyline. 
 Just a few steps away from our apartment, we had the daily views and the ringing bells to entice us, but really the motivation to climb it came from reading this book with the kids. Bravo, Pippo Brunelleschi! 
His creativity, his brilliance, and his determination despite everyone's doubts resulted in an awe-inspiring creation. And his success is still breathtaking....literally (over 400 steps to the top!) and visually. If you are up for the climb, it is worth it for both the interior and the exterior vistas. There is a limit to how many people can climb at one time and there aren't any reserved tickets so if you want to do this, arrive early in the morning or anticipate a wait.
Two wonderful "hikes" with our kids in Florence. Next time we'll head towards the beckoning green gardens of Boboli. What are your favorite urban hikes?
Nancy / summer sky said...

Loving your Florence posts.

We did manage to go to the Boboli Gardens and the Pitti Palace. We also went to the Duomo, although (eek!) I can't recall if we went to the top or not. (We didn't have kids then. If we had had kids, I'm sure I'd recall whether we had!)

Manny said...

So many memories! Glad you made it to Piazza Michelangelo - best view of the city, and a bit easier than the 400 steps up the duomo! Can't wait to go back.

likeschocolate said...

My children loved Florence! I love the view you discovered from your hike.

Dana said...

Ahh . . isn't that book beautiful? It's one of my favorite Italy-themed books in English. Glad you found it!

Heather said...

This may seem random, but your first hike reminds me a lot of hiking around Guanajuato, a hilly, colonial city in the middle of Mexico. Except the houses in Guanajuato are painted crazy shades of pink, blue, orange, etc. :)

And Wow! on that next-to-last shot from the Duomo!

Corinne said...

This wasn't really a hike, per say, but the view of Reykjavík from the top of the Hallgrímskirkja is unreal. It was also possibly the windy-est moment of my life and when they rang the church bells while we were admiring the view from up there, I was MORE than a little startled :) It would've scarred Preston for life!

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

Thanks for the comments,friends!

I especially loved hearing you about your favorite urban hikes.

Heather, that colorful Mexican town sounds very charming.

Corinne, Iceland?!! How cool. Did you like it?

Sophie said...

Nice post - and a great series idea, urban hiking.

Florence is so lovely, isn't it. My kids expecially like the hustle and bustle of Ponte Vecchio.

Soultravelers3 said...

Lovely! Beautiful photos. I know the spot well as there is an amazing campground in Florence there and I had that view out my window when we visited. It's the best bargain in town & wonderful for families. ;)


Here you can see the view from our RV kitchen window ( they have cabins too) and also the campground from Piazza Michelangelo and our RV!

We LOVE Florence have done that hike, Duomo and Boboli Gardens and more.

In 5 years of non-stop travel to 39 countries on 5 continents, there have been too many wonderful city hikes to pick one because we love them all.

We're in tropical Asia for the winter this year ( kidlet immersing in her Mandarin now) but will be back to Europe for the summer ( after India) and more of Italy is on the list! ( Along with back to France, Spain, Swiss Alps) ;)

Wanderluster said...

Hikes with gelato and magnificent views as rewards? I can't think of anything better.

Sonja said...

As many times as we've been to Florence, we have yet to do any climbs and see those views. Next time! Fabulous weather you had!

Dawn Suzette said...

Amazing Lucia! Those views. Wow!

Jen said...

We are going to Southern Germany at Christmas this year and Florence is on our radar for one of our side trips. Especially now that I have read this!

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