The Duomo of Florence. Photo credit: Amanda Ruggeri.
Amanda Ruggeri wrote this guest post on green travel in Florence. She writes for the Walks of Italy blog, which includes travel tips, food, and fun facts on destinations across Italy.
Walks of Italy, a company committed to responsible travel, offers walking tours, day trips and authentic experiences in the country’s best destinations.
Florence, Italy may be the cradle of the Renaissance. But these days, there’s a renaissance of another kind going on: a blossoming of green hotels, initiatives and activities.
Wireless + iPhone traveler? Try the LUXE Florence City Guide Mobile. Photo credit: LUXE City Guides.
Here are some tips for traveling greener in Italy’s art capital:
Love some luxury? Luxury hotel Il Salviatino is a restored Renaissance villa outside Florence. Photo credit: Il Salviatino.
SLEEP: One green hotel favorite is the Hotel Kursaal & Ausonia, a budget hotel in the historic center. The hotel uses a heating/ac unit that takes some of the energy produced to make hot water; energy-saving light bulbs and biodegradable cleaning products. And every year, the hotel donates the savings to the environment to a different cause. This year, it’s FAI ( Fondo per l’Ambiente Italiano), Italy’s National Trust. Also, consider booking a self-catering holiday apartment or home through a holiday rentals site.
EAT: Look beyond Florence’s touristy hotspots to eat fresh, local, and even organic. Famous for its Chianina beef burgers, LungArno23 serves only local ingredients direct from small businesses. Libreria Brac is an art library/restaurant that uses only natural and organic products. For lunch, head to La Sana Gola, which serves up soups, pastas, and secondi from all-organic ingredients.
Views of Florence. Photo credit: Il Salviatino.
SEE: From the Ponte Vecchio, hike the 20 minutes up to Piazzale Michelangelo, home to the most stunning views of Florence. This is where postcard photographers get their shots! Once you’re there, make sure to duck into the church of San Miniato al Monte, an 11th-century basilica that’s one of the most beautiful churches in all of Italy. Stop at the cemetery in front of the church to pay homage to Pinocchio: Here is where Carlo Collodi, the character’s creator, is buried.
SHOP: Florence is famous for its fashion. But instead of supporting one of the High Street shops, explore the artisan-filled neighborhood of San Frediano, just across Ponte Vecchio, and particularly Borgo Tegolaio. Those looking for especially green shopping can head to Stile Biologico which sells clothing handcrafted in Florence using organic, all-natural fibers, and Insoliti Tessuti with clothing and accessories made from bamboo and hemp.
GET AROUND: Forget driving: Not only is Florence very difficult to navigate, but if you’re not familiar with the carefully-monitored system of who can drive where—implemented to cut down on pollution in the center—you can get fined. Instead, explore Florence on foot. Or rent a bike, a very popular, and green, way to get around the cobble-stoned streets.
Read more Green Guides.