La Spiaggetta sull’Arno: an urban oasis in Florence

La Spiaggetta sull’Arno: an urban oasis in Florence

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There are no palm trees in La Spiaggetta sull’Arno, yet this Florence’s oasis has white sand where one can lie on for sunbathing, reading a book, drink Prosecco, set up a blind date, or practice tai-chi, yoga and other oriental oddities. The Arno’s Rive Gauche small urban beach is an initiative developed by Easy Leaving Firenze. It is located only a stone’s throw away from San Niccolò, under the Lungarno Serristori. During summer, one can enjoy all the comforts of a real maritime establishment with hammocks, sun loungers and a beach bar serving ice creams and cocktails while listening to music. At sunset, the bar also offers a typical aperitivo adding a panoramic view. An inimitable spot within the city, where experiencing a summer in the beach with all its activities is doable. Play beach volleyball, ping pong, football, or petanque tournaments is also possible here. To liven up the hot, humid and sticky Florentine summer nights — filled with mosquitoes — concerts, DJ sets and performances are also scheduled.
Practical info here

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María Muñoz´s Florence

María Muñoz´s Florence

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Trapped time in Florence

I have returned to Florence after almost thirty years. Although I had no corporeal memories of my presence in the different places, I did have visual memories, probably because Florence is one of the most photographed cities on the planet, and is part of the collective memory of many, at least in the West. My studies in art history and the monographs I did about Leonardo, Florentine himself, and Michelangelo, whose artistic life began in the Florence of the Medici, might have help to keep that memory. Apart from the spatial and visual experience, the latter of unquestionable beauty, which, according to Stendhal, even hurts; there is another characteristic that in my opinion, is explicitly Florentine. And I do not mean the public sculptures, nor the symmetrical facades of the churches and palaces, nor the marbles of different tonalities, neither the perspectives of their perfectly cobbled streets.

I’m referring to the ‘trapped time’.

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Gardens of Florence #13: parco delle Cascine, the largest public park in Florence

Gardens of Florence #13: parco delle Cascine, the largest public park in Florence

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It takes longer to cross the Park Le Cascine (parco delle Cascine) than to cross the historical centre of Florence, this gives an idea of its size. This park is the favourite for those who want — or try — to get fit. Its proximity to the river Arno also makes it an ideal place to organize a picnic or lie down to sunbathe. Usually, it is not very busy, not even on a Saturday at noon on a mid-spring sunny day. Except for some fountains, an eccentric pyramid, and some other ornamental lamps, there is no other human imprint or artifices made by the man, not even terraces or cafes, except the two food trucks that are next to a recreational mini-zone with decadent fairground attractions for children.

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Before sunset in Florence

Before sunset in Florence

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The sunsets take on greater symbolism when in the sea, a river or in the mountains. Such moment becomes certainly the excuse to visit any bridge in Florence, go to the Piazzale di Michelangelo or even to the Belvedere of Fiesole in order to contemplate a unique Tuscan dusk. I will never stop saying it: Florence is ideal to take a refreshing walk (both, for body and soul) at any time of the day or night. And maybe that’s what hooked me most about the city: the pleasure of walking, acting as an authentic flâneur, is not just a matter of stale romanticism or acting as decadent esthete. The English skies in the paintings of Joseph Mallord William Turner, the French ones in Paul Cézanne´s or by Pierre-Auguste Renoir´s or Van Gogh´s, have nothing to envy to those portrayed in the thousands of photographs that are taken every day, at that precise time, in Florence.

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