florence by bike

Wind your way through the streets of Florence. (Photo: Getty Images)

Health + Fitness

Hop on 2 Wheels and Explore Florence by Bike

At any time of year you’ll see the Fiorentini zipping about the Renaissance capital on bicycles, going about their daily lives. With its striking monuments and major attractions all within close proximity to each other, the compact city is perfect to explore by bike.

Plus, with views from the bridges that line the Arno stretching as far as the Tuscan hills, a ride about town makes for the most pleasant — and inexpensive — of jaunts.

Whether you’re in town for a short or longer stay, join the locals and rent a bike from one of the many specialist shops in the city, like Florence by Bike. The outfitter lets you book online or even join one of their customized tours.

Or download the popular Mobike bike-share app and pick up your wheels from one of the city’s many outposts.

florence by bike
Join an organized tour. (Photo: Getty Images)

Explore Sant’Ambrogio away from the Crowds

Start your ride in the Sant’Ambrogio neighborhood, one of the oldest districts in the city and historic home to Florence’s Jewish community. Make your way to the Tempio Maggiore, one of the largest and most important synagogues in South-Central Europe.

Afterward, take a moment to browse the main market or visit the flea market in Piazza dei Ciompi, where you can find anything from design items to vintage furniture, books and antiques.

Refuel with a coffee and pastry at Cibreo Café, a Florence institution.

Head to Oltrarno, Florence’s “Other Side”

Ride across the Arno to the Oltrarno district and explore the neighborhoods of San Frediano, San Niccolò and Santo Spirito. Here you can catch glimpses of local Florentine life and feel the city’s fast pace slow down a little. Ride through the squares and stop to admire landmarks along the way, like the area’s many churches.

If you need another treat — or simply want to cool off, head to Gelateria della Passera for homemade gelato.

Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens

florence by bike
See how the royals lived. (Photo: Getty Images)

Lunch late like the locals at one of the many restaurants near the grand Palazzo Pitti and sample local and seasonal dishes matched with classic Tuscan reds. After eating, head to the imposing Pitti Palace; once home to the Medici family, it offers five museums to explore.

Burn off your lunch calories at the nearby Boboli Gardens, behind the palace. Created and developed between the 15th and 19th centuries, it boasts fountains, sculptures and lots of green space perfect for an afternoon rest.

Sunset Views from Piazzale Michelangelo

florence by bike
A perch with a view. (Photo: Getty Images)

Sunsets in Florence are pretty spectacular and especially when you get to enjoy them from above. Take an easy ride uphill along tree-lined paths to Piazzale Michelangelo, which, for good reason, may be the most popular viewpoint in the city.

From here, enjoy the glow of the sun as it sets across the Arno and illuminates Florence’s many monuments, like the impressive Ponte Vecchio, as well as the city’s skyline, filled with church domes and spires. Located on the hill behind the lookout, the beautiful Church of San Miniato al Monte is also worth a visit.