The fact that Florence is nestled in the Arno Valley and completely surrounded by rolling hills means that lush greenery, the countryside and nature are just a short distance from the historic centre. It is therefore easy to take a stroll beyond the city walls or go on hikes (whether long or short, and easy or difficult), and these activities are very popular among those who love trekking but still want to stay in the city.
We walk to get away from the stress of day-to-day life, to do some exercise, and to retrace the steps that our ancestors took. We walk to discover the shapes and colours of the land.
The hills around Florence are dotted with cypresses, olive trees, and vineyards. There are rural churches and villas, summer houses from the past, and restored or completely rebuilt farmhouses strewn across the landscape without ever invading or spoiling it. There are tiny villages and the roads that once connected them to the city. Without the traffic of yesteryear, these roads are now suitable for walkers. There are also many hidden nooks and crannies to discover during a relaxing stroll.
The most popular hill walk among tourists, along the Viale dei Colli, is a relaxing alternative way to see Florence, as is walking along the banks of the Arno on a spring day.
To find out more, the City of Florence has created Florence: The Walking City, a project available in either brochure or app form, containing eighteen circular routes of various types, ranging from the banks of the Arno to the hills that surround the city.
Today we are rediscovering ancient paths beyond the Camino de Santiago and the local stretch of Via Francigena, and Florence itself is a crossroads of various routes that linked towns to each other or led to pilgrimage sites: Via Bolognese, Via Lauretana, Via Pistoiese and Via Imprunetina.