Run in Florence...

…the museum where it’s not forbidden to run… and where you see a little dick, cobblestones, and a boar…

After downloading the urbirun route, we leave the hotel, which by chance happens to be right on the course. A look at the map to check in which direction to start running, and here we go. I take to the right, with my lover following me on her bike in order to be the photographer during this tourist run.

A stunning start

We arrive very quickly at the foot of the imposing cathedral, the Duomo, made of white and green marble blocks, as an gigantic Lego, dominated by its huge dome. Difficult to imagine that this perfect construction dates from the 1300s (14th century)… Fifth largest church in Europe, its dome itself measures 45m of diameter, and is 53m high. We run all around, and we face the Campanile, its bell tower, made of the same marble, which is 85m tall and was completed in 1349. Great scenery for starting a run.

Short passage near the Loggia del Porcellino, a covered market, watched over by a small statue of a boar, which brings luck when you rub its groin… So we try (if you like to rub things, you can also rub another statue on the urbirun Budapest course, to lose weight)…

“Turn left”
says urbirun, and here we are in front of Palazzo Vecchio, another symbol of the Medici’s city. Magnificent brick Town hall building, in front of which the statue of Michelangelo’s David looks at us passing by. Jealous of having forgotten his running gear, and pretending not to care that we are staring at his lil’dick while passing by… (it’s a copy, the original is in a nearby museum, Galeria dell’Academia).

The route then guides us to the Arno river bank, which we run along under the arcades of the Vasari Corridor (a private path used by VIPs to avoid runners… oops, I meant poor people), to cross one of the most famous bridges in the world, the Ponte Vecchio


Houses are built on it, what was common in Europe in the Middle Ages (it dates from 1345), but it is almost the only bridge of its kind that still exists on the entire continent. We briefly cross the Arno again one bridge further on, to enjoy an outside view of this famous Ponte Vecchio, before returning to the other bank to explore the alleys of the typically Florentine district of Oltrarno

Oltrarno and its hills

We pass in front of the imposing Palazzo Pitti, then under an arch, before climbing a pretty little cobbled street. On the way, urbirun gives the choice between 2 options : continue to climb for the long tour, or go back down to the river for the shorter tour. The weather is nice, the decor is beautiful, I pick the long route, and I continue to climb, especially as I know that with urbirun :

When your legs hurt, your eyes will soon enjoy… (anonymous runner, 21st century)

And my legs feel it’s going up…

I pass under a porch opened in the wall, and I run back down along it, which hides the Park of the Giardino Bardini.

At San Miniato, it starts to go up again: a steep path, made of rough cobblestones and surrounded by low walls, leads to a very small district clinging to the hillside. While going up I don’t forget to turn around a few times to enjoy the panorama on the city, which starts to reveal itself as I gain height.

At the top of the climb, I pass in front of the imposing Abbey of San Miniato Al Monte, and the most courageous can even climb its imposing staircase, to enjoy an even higher view on the city.

But by simply continuing the urbirun itinerary, you’d quickly arrive on the Piazzale Michelangelo esplanade, from where the view on Florence is simply magnificent, and where I have the surprise to see my lover arriving. She took another route but finally had the courage to bike up to the top. As I am, she is well rewarded by the panorama on the tiled roofs, from which emerges the white marble of the cathedral, its dome and its bell tower, as well as the brick tower of Palazzo Vecchio.

I run down stairs to the San Nicolo Tower, a remnant of the Gate of the same name, which also guarded a bridge over the Arno. We cross the river a little further, to return on the cobblestones of the old town (in fact there are cobblestones almost everywhere…), until the Basilica of Santa Croce, also all of white marble, and the adjacent square, on which we thread with difficulty through a crowd of demonstrators…

Medici’s for the finish

Other cobbled streets, whose shade is appreciated, take us to the Basilica of San Lorenzo, and to the Medici Chapel, which houses the tombs of this powerful family that made the city famous during the Renaissance.

I keep running to the Santa Maria Novella Square, in front of the Basilica of the same name, before ending this beautiful tour through the city.

Magnificent run, your eyes will enjoy it. It’s paved, but you can run, and for the most courageous ones, it’s really worth running up the climbs to enjoy the view. And of course, as often in this kind of city, it is better to leave early in the morning, to avoid having to slalom between the tourists… And moreover, the breakfast can then be better deserved later in the morning.

*Download this audioguided run here, or simply the GPX file for your smartwatch here.

Thank you @silvia7one for the pictures.

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