Authored by: Brittany McBride
Fall is an optimal time to travel to Italy. Past the peak of summer heat and tourist crowds, the city of Florence and surrounding Tuscany is sunny and vibrant, beckoning to be explored! Organizing travel details can be stressful, but if you are thinking about coming on our 7-day yoga retreat in October, we’ve taken on researching details in this Yogi Travel Guide to ease your planning and provide some details that can help enhance your experience.
Travel slow and light with a carry-on and a sense of adventure! Portable, front-loading backpacks offer smooth packing and flexibility to travel in any mode of transportation. Florence is a compact city with a high walkability rating giving you opportunity to see all the sites and carve your own path at your pace. Take the bus to downtown Florence from the airport. Arriving via train from another part of Europe? The Firenze Santa Maria Novella train station drops you right in city center.
Learn Italian with locals. Take a quick individual course to learn the basics, or find classes to include kids and families! Scuola Toscana is owned by two brothers who pride themselves on teaching and harboring many local secrets—which they are happy to share!
What is greener then public transit and healthier for your body? Rent a bike for freedom in motion to explore the city with the sun on your face and wind in your hair. You can find several options–for 3 euros, residents can rent for an entire day–bike stalls are open almost daily dotting the train station Santa Maria Novella and Piazza Santa Croce.
Eat and drink, of course! Florence is filled with vibrant culture and eats from pizza and pasta to vivid, fresh produce all in walkable reach. Shake Café offers health and energy under one roof with plentiful vegan and vegetarian options. Pass through to mingle with locals and expats while you grab a fresh-pressed juice, smoothie, coffee, breakfast, or a quick and healthy lunch.
Oibo Restaurant is great for Aperitivo–a drink plus buffet style food–at around 10 euros for one drink and all you can eat. This great deal and incredible food tops off with a view to swoon over; enjoy your meal en face the Santa Croce Church – Via dei Benci, 53r.
Prefer to craft your own meals with local fare? Head East of the city for the Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio, as the Florentine do for their daily purchases. Revel in the vaulted, iron architecture and swaths of colorful fruit and flower stands, bakers, butchers and fishmonger counters neslting the thriving restaurant – Rocco’s. Built in the 1873, along with the Mercato Centrale and Chiesa di San Frediano, Sant’Ambrogio was the main fruit and vegetable wholesale market for the city vestiges until 1950’s. This history is present today in the lively market stalls.
And save room for gelato! Many gelaterias are designed to attract tourists with colorful displays, but low-quality product, often using chemical additives and non-natural ingredients. But it all looks so good, you say! An insider tip to weed out the junky options is to note if the Limone gelato is white, and not a fake yellow color, or if they have a yogurt flavored gelato–not to be mistaken for frozen yogurt. For some of the best the city offers, check out Perche No? and these other sweet spots.
Luxuriate in self-care with a stroll over to Asmana Wellness World Firenze to enjoy the pools, sauna and wellness treatments. Entrance costs 20 euro for two hours and 25 euro for four hours during standard operating hours, but if you want to catch a deal and relax after a long day, gain four hour access for just 20 euros from 7:00 pm on. It is open until midnight. Once you pay the entrance fee most treatments are free, just plan to cover your food and drink.
If you are interested to explore the historic regions outside of the city, rejuvenate leisurely as ancient Romans did in the healing Saturnia Thermal Springs. Legend has it that these natural, warm pools were born in the exact point where Jupiter’s thunderbolt fell in a battle against Saturn–take part in history. The Wellness Spa and baths are open year round with free public access, but checking them out in October with give you ample room to enjoy without the rush of tourists.
Come to our Florence Retreat Oct. 8-14,2017
This 7 day retreat includes:
- 2.5 hrs daily Hatha Yoga practice
- Open afternoons to explore the many wonders of Florence
- 1 hour pranayama practice every evening
Classes will be held at l’Atelier de Danse, a historic studio conveniently located in in the heart of the city – just a few blocks from the world-renowned II Duomo di Firenze. Coursework will be closely tailored the individual needs and interests of yoga students and teachers in attendance.