Florence in summer has an atmosphere which is quite different from any other season
With the closure of the schools and the summer holidays upon us, the city slowly empties, especially the historic center, which is always hectic from the tourist bustle. The traffic in the streets decreases dramatically (and let me say that this is a significant plus). During the daytime it seems to be a semi-deserted city. In fact, the sultry heat tends to transform the Florentines into a sort of "vampire," who come out only early in the morning and/or in the evening after sunset.
And for those who absolutely can not avoid going out during the day, they have a tendency to move from place to place based on a final destination with air conditioning. The only plus is that they don't have to fight the crowds wherever they go.
In the evening, everybody's goal is to go out and get some "fresh" air, ... if that's what you want to call it ...
Being in Florence in the middle of the summer has it's upside; for example, it's a good opportunity to see the city from a different perspective. For those visiting as a tourist, it is not as "prepackaged" and, for those of us who live here, it is a bit of an adventure, changing our normal "routine."
Summer outdoor spaces are one of the novelties of the city in this season. These spaces are ideal for spending a pleasant evening with friends without leaving Florence. Several new places have opened (and are still opening) throughout the city in the last years, each with their own personality offering good food and an entertainment program.
Below we have listed some of the top open spaces to check out this summer and we recommend that give one or more a try for a pleasant evening spent “like a local”.
In the historical center
It's worth going, if even just to linger in the Piazzetta dei Tre Re, which has been enhanced by the project Serre Torrigiani in Piazzetta (open from 10 am to 12am). The square is located between Via de' Calzaiuoli and Via Calimala and a tiny green oasis, an "urban garden" for a quick stopover, from breakfast to the aperitif.
Be cure to check out their calendar of cultural events with events featuring prose, theater, music and art.
Just outside the main boulevard that encircles the "old part of town," at the Lake of the Swans in front of the Fortezza da Basso, is the Off Bar. You can stop at the kiosk for a drink, a pizza or Thai street food (new entry for this 2019) in the evening, while the entertainment ranges from DJ set to live music to movies under the stars ... and more!
In the area called "Ponte Rosso," accessible by bus number 13, you find the Horticultural Garden. In the summer it hosts the "Giardino dell'ArteCultura", which is open every day from 10am to midnight. The coffee shop serves quick meals (pasta dishes, salads, panini) and has a happy hour in the evening. They often organize live music in the evenings, while on Tuesday and Thursday are also planning events for children and families.
Along the Arno River
The Arno river is ideal for summer outdoor living...
In Piazza Poggi, along the Arno, the open air bar Easy Living, awaits you from 9 am to 5 pm with its kiosks serving Tuscan specialties and table seating. Here you can eat while the Florence skyline, Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) and the historical center provide the view.
Just below, along the banks of the Arno, there is beach equipped with deck chairs and umbrellas for rent for a few hours featuring relaxation and sun ... all this, without moving from Florence. At sunset, there are also free yoga lessons and various events, both musical and cultural [to confirm for this 2019].
On the opposite side of the Arno, there is plenty of choice, with others "summer spaces" which have opened their doors, in a manner of speaking.
[waiting for more details for this 2019] On the river bank Lungarno Pecori Giraldi, closer to the city center you find the Fiorino sull' Arno with evening events, from music to theater. Here you find the aperitif at dinner (dinner from 8 pm), with various culinary specialties, including pizza. Tango, swing and jazz performances are also planned, besides the projection of the Soccer World Cup 2018.
[waiting for more details for this 2019] Along the banks of the river on the Lungarno del Tempio, near the intersection with Via Piagentina you find a "street food" truck area on the river bank with tables, chairs and chairs . This area offers good gourmet street food: hamburgers prepared quality meat from Tuscany provided by La Toraia, fried fish dishes and seafood specialties by Pescepane, panini by Panino Tondo and the barbecue truck of Phil's Slow Smoked American Barbecue.
[waiting for more details for this 2019] Molo5 is located along the Lungarno Colombo. Here are 4 types of street food: sandwich with lampredotto, japanese streetfood, organic pizza, florentine specialties, octopus from the island of Elba and gelato. Music entertainment at night.
At Piazzale Michelangelo
Across the street is Flò, probably the more place "elegant" summer place recommended in this article. The Flò is primarily a meeting place, to spend the evening together and, depending on the day, there are various events, and the evenings, in addition to an aperitif buffet and after dinner snacks, dedicated to a wide selection of sounds ranging from Latin to hip hop music (there's lots of room to dance).
Elegant attire is required (not black tie but, nice) and you can be turned down if you don't meet the look they are searching for. Nice to know that admission is free. It opens around 7:30 pm until 4am.
A bit further away from the center...
Outside of the center, there are two other summer spaces which are accessible with normal urban bus lines (ATAF buses).
At the Artemio Franchi stadium, inside the public garden there is a place called Light, with kiosks for drinks, appetizers, snacks and few options for a dinner (hamburger and pizza), without being too pretentious. It opens from 5:30 pm to 1 am.
Near the Obihall. in the south part of Florence you can find the hot spot called Utopiko, a space for aperitif, dinner with express meals mixed with events, and especially music. Take bus line Ataf 14, which will practically drop you off right in front of the entrance. While, if you like barbecue, go ahead to the Festa del Mugello, in the same area around the Obihall.
At the Cascine Park (Ex Mulina) - new location - you'll find also "Summer Suite" lounge bar where from tuesday to sunday you can listen music and enjoy a light dinner (apericena).
For those who are looking for some place which is more exclusive, perhaps a romantic dinner or with a spectacular view of the city, I suggest you read the article on roof top terraces with views of Florence: http://www.visitflorence.com/eating-and-drinking-in-florence/drinks-with-a-view.html.
Check other events from the program of the "Estate Fiorentina" (Florentine Summer): http://www.visitflorence.com/florence-events/estate-fiorentina.html.