|The Giardino dei Semplici|
Despite the fact that it's muggy, searingly hot, and very crowded, summer is the most popular time of year to visit
However, if you want to really enjoy the city in the high season, you should do
as the Florentines do. Stay inside during the hottest hours of the day,
take advantage of the breezy hills that surround the city, and spend your
evenings outside. Dining “al fresco” has become institutionalised with the
installation of permanent "terraces" outside restaurants and cafes
around the city. Florence
Once the direct sunlight disappears from the city's streets and squares, Florentines take to the streets, squares and parks. Just north of the centre you’ll find the Giardino dei Semplici, a free, open-late alternative to the popular Boboli Gardens, that originally served as a medicinal garden for Cosimo I de’ Medici before becoming the city’s botanical garden.
|Piazza Santa Croce|
Around sunset, head to Piazza Santa Croce, the central gathering point for Florentines heading out for the evening. Children finish up their playing football in the centre of the piazza as the benches lining the square, the café and restaurant terraces, and the steps of the basilica fill up with both locals and visitors enjoying the square’s vibrant energy.
In the historic city centre, Via dei Calzaiuoli, which runs from Piazza della Signoria past Orsanmichele and Piazza della Repubblica to the Piazza del Duomo, is the preferred spot for an evening walk. After the evening meal, usually between 10 and 11 pm, the street fills with Florentines getting air, exercise, and ice cream!
|A typical "Notte Bianca"|
If you are fortunate enough to be in town for a “Notte Bianca”, plan to stay out all night as concerts spring up in all the city's major and minor squares and prowling drum groups bring music everywhere else. Cafes, gelaterias and restaurants all stay open late to keep you fed and watered enough to take advantage of the festivities, and shops donate a portion of their proceeds to charity.
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