While a heat wave continues to grip Florence, residents and tourists who are left baking in the city look for spots to escape from brutal temperatures. Below are some cool escapes from Florence to experience a breath of fresh air.
At almost a thousand meters (3,280 ft.) above sea level, a nature reserve of the same name is located at Vallombrosa, generally characterized by temperatures 10° lower than Florence. It is a great spot for residents and tourists looking for rustic relaxation during summer. It is a favorite place for people to have a picnic with family or friends. Those who love art and history can visit the Abbey of Vallombrosa, founded in the 11th century by St. Giovanni Gualberto.
Passo della Consuma
The mountain pass connecting the Valdarno and the Casentino falls almost entirely over the municipality of Montemignaio. The vast outspread area is the beaten track for motorcyclists and enthusiasts. Surrounded by woods, La Consuma is also a pleasant place to walk around.
The great poet Dante also passed through the area, who found refuge in Badiola (today in the municipality of Stia) before the battle of Campaldino. Another proof that history can be found even in the most hidden places in Tuscany.
Badia di Moscheta
Cool and breezy even in the hottest season, Badia di Moscheta near Firenzuola high above the Mugello valley combines a good climate with hospitality. The abbey, built by Benedictine monks at the beginning of the year 1000, served as a resting place for travelers crossing the Apennines. Badia di Moscheta is surrounded by meadows, woods, and a lot of chestnut trees. To get even cooler, head to the Moraduccio waterfalls a few kilometers further north.
In the province of Arezzo, La Verna is another good spot that combines history, open space, and much lower temperatures than the city center. With a very low percentage of humidity and seven to eight degrees less than the city, Chiusi della Verna is found almost in the middle of the Casentinesi Forests National Park, one of the most protected nature reserves in Europe. Along the park, walkers can enjoy the paths accompanied by tall and leafy trees that block the sun’s rays.
There is also history at La Verna. The sanctuary is known for being the place where St. Francis of Assisi received the stigmata. Located at the summit of Mount Penna, the mystical atmosphere of La Verna is well worth a visit.
Located halfway between Prato and Pistoia almost a thousand meters high, Riserva dell’Acquerino is a vast reserve with picnic areas, mountain bike, and hiking in an area distinguished by a rich diversity of plants and trees. Another good option to cool off.
Grotta del Vento, Lucca
Situated in the center of the Apuan Alps’ Nature Park, the cave offers a pleasant experience with stalagmites and small lakes. Along with the experience visitors, the location usually registers a pleasantly cool temperature, making it a safe getaway for everyone. There are three visitor excursions lasting either one, two or three hours, along with two adventure itineraries. Hiking gear is recommended.
Masso delle Fanciulle, Pisa
This outdoor area at Pomarance on the road to Volterra offers swimming in the clear waters of Cecina river in the shade of trees along the river bank. For access following a well-marked trail ending close to the Masso degli Specchi, hiking gear is again recommended.
Monte Amiata is one of the most well-known peaks in Tuscany, topped. by the famous cross that overlooks the provinces of Siena and Grosseto. Summer temperatures usually hover around 25°C , 77° F, at least 20° cooler than downtown Florence. In this dormant volcano at 1,736 meters, there is a lot to explore by bike, horseback, cable car, or walking. The venue is a magnet for sports lovers.
A few steps from the village in the province of Grosseto is the Farma tributary. It includes a beautiful valley that the Merse River flows through into the Ombrone near Paganico. The valley is a perfect spot for excursions, hiking, and family outings. And most importantly, it is a place for many to bathe in the pools of water located between the rocks in the river during the summer period. A must-see.
Stretti di Giaredo
Stretti di Giaredo is a spectacular canyon in the province of Massa Carrara, carved out of rock by Giaredo river. In this protected area, one can climb, hike and soak in water, while admiring multi colored thousand-year-old rock formations along the way. Coolness is a guarantee. (elif aytemiz)
To read more in Italian, visit Florence’s La Repubblica web site.