Arno Reflection, Florence Arno Reflection, Florence © 29cm/Flickr

What to do in Florence this summer Featured

Wine tasting in Chianti, city beach excursions, and Boboli Garden BBQ are just some of the reasons Florence is the best to go this summer.

Few places in Europe are as definitive as Florence: cobbled streets, a Renaissance masterpiece at every turn, the Arno glistening in the midday sun. But in the summer the city is buzzing with tourists and the temperatures can soar. Take a break from the sun with some of our picks of the best ways to enjoy Florence and Tuscany this summer.

 

EXHIBITIONS

 

As if it needed any more encouragement, Florence’s art scene is booming. 'Florence: A Year in Art' is organised by the cities art’s council and throughout the year showcases prominent local and national artists in various galleries. www.unannoadarte.it

 

Piero di Cosimo – Uffizi Gallery

 

Piero-di-CosimoPiero di Cosimo

This first major retrospective exhibition of this oft-forgotten Italian painter is exhibited at the Uffizi Gallery this summer. Piero di Cosimo: The Poetry of Painting in Renaissance Florence showcases some of the artist’s most important works, with themes ranging from the pagan to the divine. Cosimo is most notable for his similarity to Leonardo da Vinci, with his studies of nature and the intensity portrayed in faces. Until 27 September www.uffizi.org

 

Carlo Dolci, Palentine Gallery

 

Carlo-Dolci-The-Adoration-of-the-Magi-1649Carlo Dolci

An exceptional exhibition within the Uffizi. Dolci was a Baroque court painter and one of the most prominent figures in 17th art. What distinguishes his work is his trademark translucent lighting and figures displayed in ecstatic poses. His aptitude for portraiture made him a favourite of the Medici family a number of their portraits are displayed in the exhibition. Until 15 November www.polomuseale.firenze.it

 

Antony Gormley ‘Human’, Fort Belvedere

 

160418074-6d59890a-f0a5-4583-8f40-9874d3e23fed© Muse Firenze

The renowned English sculptor Gormley (who concieved England's 'Angel of the North') comes to Florence this summer with his exhibition ‘Human’ showing at Fort Belvedere, the iconic space overlooking the whole of the city. Comprising over 100 pieces, the figures depict various elements of the human psyche; some are crouching over or kneeling, other crying or standing tall. Until 27 September www.musefirenze.it

Related: What's on in Rome this summer

 

THINGS TO DO

 

 

Climb the San Niccolò tower

 

 01-Torre-San-NiccoloTorre San Niccolò

Built in 1324, the San Niccolò tower is one of the best preserved towers of the original Florentine walls and the only one that stands at its original height. From the top you can have a 360° view of the city and parts of the old city walls that are not often visible from the ground. Until 30 September 2015 en.firenze.waf.it

 

Go to the beach

 

Beach-ArnoEasy Living Firenze

A beach? In Florence? Yes really. Since 2010 an urban beach has been open to the public on the south bank of the Arno. Join the locals and cool down in the water overlooking the city walls. The charming café also offers aperitivo on the piazza, live bands and music begin at 8.30pm on Fridays and Saturdays. www.easylivingfirenze.it

Related: A short history of aperitivo

 

Sunday BBQ’s at Villa Cora

 

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Villa Cora

Overlooking the Boboli Gardens, the Villa Cora is a 19th century masterpiece-turned hotel. Throughout the summer their gardens and pool are open to non-guests and on Sunday nights, they offer an extensive BBQ, dinner and live music from 7.30pm. A nice change to the usual aperitivo, the spread includes a wide range of steaks (try the bistecca) as well as locals meats, fish and classic Mediterranean dishes. www.villacora.it

Related: A local's guide to gift shopping in Florence

 

Visit the Ciompi Market

 

Piazza dei CiompiCiompi Market

The downtown Florentine market is open all summer but the vendors vary from day to day. However, on Sunday 30 August all vendors and sellers come together, spilling on to the streets to sell antiques, furniture, local produce and leather. Piazza dei Ciompi 30 August.

 

Go wine tasting in the Chianti region

 

Wine Tasting at Castello del Terriccio, Maremma, Italy © Rolan Steffen/FlickrWine Tasting at Castello del Terriccio, Maremma, Italy © Rolan Steffen/Flickr

If the heat of the city becomes too much or you fancy a day out in the Tuscan countryside there really is no better day-trip than a wine tasting tour of the Chianti region. Explore the world-heritage site; visit medieval villages in between tours of the vineyards and cellars. Lunch and travel is included on all Chianti’s official tours. www.chianti.com

Related: A guide to Tuscan wine