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how to stay fit in florence

Five Ways to Stay Fit While Studying Abroad in Florence

how to stay fit in florence

With all of the pizza, pasta, and gelato in Florence, it’s easy to put on a few pounds while you’re studying abroad there without even realizing it. Finding ways to stay fit in Florence may seem hard at first but there are plenty of ways to get your fitness on in the land of never ending carbs. Read on to see how I stay fit and healthy while studying in Florence.

Ponte Vecchio along the Arno

1. Run along the arno

Though you won’t see too many people taking a jog around Florence, you will often see a handful on their daily run along the Arno. Running is a simple and free way to stay fit in the city.  Consider going for a run when the sun is rising…it’s not only one hundred times less crowded but the reflection of the Ponte Vecchio during sunrise on the Arno is pretty spectacular. If an early workout is not for you, you can still avoid the crowds by running away from the Ponte Vecchio and towards Ponte alla Grazie and beyond.

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2. Rent a bike

Going for a bike ride around Florence is not only a great way to get some cardio in but also a fantastic way to explore the city. Rent a bike for €3/hour or €14/day through Florence by  Bike, or stop by Piazza Santa Croce and look for the woman renting out the purple bikes (be sure to have cash as you’ll need to leave a deposit.) Get away from the tourists and the cobbled streets and make your way to some greenery at the Cascine, Florence’s park. Ride along the river, away from Santa Croce and past the American Embassay, and you’ll reach it soon enough. There’s also a pool there, so if it’s warm enough, ride to the pool and cool off there (it’s € 8 to take a dip for the day).

Piazzale Michaelangelo Staircase

3. Run stairs at Piazzale Michaelangelo

If you go to the Piazzale Michaelangelo early in the morning, you’ll beat all the tourists and basically have the place to yourself, perfect for an early AM workout. Run the stairs that lead up to the top multiple times to break a good sweat. Another benefit of this workout? It’s completely free!

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4. Kayak or raft through Tuscany

Looking for more of an adventurous workout? Firenze Rafting offers rafting & kayak courses in multiple locations throughout Tuscany, including right in Florence. There’s nothing better than a fun and exhilarating workout on the water. Plus, your arms will definitely be feeling it the next day! It can also be a great way to meet the locals that are as fitness-geared as you are, and you’re sure to get some great photos from unique angles.

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5. Join a Gym

If you’re really serious about keeping up with your fitness, consider joining a gym. Before I studied abroad, a friend told me, “All of the gyms in Florence are old and have flies everywhere.” I happened to find two gyms sans-flies, KLAB and Florence Fitness (shown above). Both offer student discounts and are great, clean facilities to use – KLAB even has a sauna, steam room & whirlpool! Florence Fitness is more basic but is clean, offers showers for those pre-class workouts, and is more budget-friendly  than KLAB.

For more ideas on how to stay healthy while studying abroad in any location, read this post on how to avoid the study abroad 15.

How do you plan on staying fit while studying in Florence? 

Photo sources:  kekko64 via Flickr, Sarah’s own, TikTak Images via Flickr, Sarah’s own, Groume via Flickr, Florence Fitness


Sarah Gaines is a senior at Northeastern University in Boston, MA and studied in Florence during the Summer of 2014. She runs a fitness blog, Fit University, which focuses on staying fit while having fun in college. Follow Fit University on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.


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