Jogging in a crowded city with hardly any sidewalk space can be frustrating and dangerous. Luckily, Florence offers scenic routes where jogging is safe and enjoyable. Walking in the city center in the morning or evening, you are likely to encounter individuals in their sportswear, especially in parks and along the Arno. Here are six tips to maximize your jogging experience in the capital of art, along with specific routes you can take.
1) To avoid pollution, the best place to run is along the Arno. To avoid pedestrian and vehicular traffic, it is better to jog along the banks of the river and not on the street. The riverbanks can be easily accessed from Lungarno Cellini, on the other side of the Arno just a little outside of the city center. Jogging alongside the Arno River is not only the more “scenic route,” but it provides for excellent views of either the sunrise or sunset.
2) Far from the view of monuments and advisable to avoid pollution is also the Cascine Park with its large, open grassy spaces along the Arno. To get to the park, run along the river from Ponte Vecchio towards the Ponte Santa Trinità; past the bridge, you will see an American flag; that is the consulate, keep straight and you will find the park. The park has many paths that are enjoyable for joggers, and is a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city center.
3) If you head east from of the river, opposite of the Cascine Park, you will come across the paved, tree-lined parks Parco dell’Albereta and Parco dell’Anconella. These are the favorite spots of Florentine joggers, whose best quality is, similarly to that of the Cascine Park, that the air that is not polluted. The Parco dell’Albereta also has a five-a-side soccer pitch, a volleyball one and a tennis court.
4) If parks are what you’re looking for during your exercise to distract you, the option to get the best view is the Boboli Gardens behind the Pitti Palace. An entry fee must be paid, but the garden is spectacular, especially at sunset. While many tourists come here after visiting the Palazzo Pitti, the park’s beauty offers joggers the possibility of breathing history as they exercise.
5) Another view-option is to start south of the Ponte Vecchio and continue east past Ponte alle Grazie. At the roundabout of Ponte di San Niccolò, turn right and follow the trees along Viale Michelangelo, and continue all the way around Piazzale Michelangelo. Turning right onto Via Galileo will bring you back down the river and to your starting point. The view is great, but the air that you breathe is not as good as in the parks. However, the pollution factor is soon crossed out by the magnificent view of the historical downtown. Many tourists flock to this piazza to take photos, but jogging in this area only makes it more special.
6) An alternative route offering a view starts at the Duomo, heading south along Via dei Calzaiuoli and crossing the Ponte Vecchio until the roundabout at Porta Romana. Turn left onto Via Machiavelli and follow the winding road which turns into Via Galileo. Veer left upon reaching Piazzale Michelangelo and head around the back of the square, following the bends onto Via San Miniato. Head for the river to get back to your starting point. Not only will you get spectacular views of the city whilst jogging on this route, but you will encounter streets lined with beautiful and majestic trees that are even more scenic during autumn when the leaves start to fall, or in the spring when nature revives them again.