Like many public parks, this is an area most emphatically NOT to be explored after dark! With that said, during the hours of daylight, this is a delightful park to wander. As a birdwatcher, I had an interest in getting away from the bustle of Florence's centre to see what nature it had to offer along the banks of the Arno river, which run along the park's southern boundary. It's a deceptively large park so make sure you take some water because opportunities for food and drink are scarce once you pass Viale del Pegaso. This park is pretty much off the tourist radar and as a result most of the people you encounter are authentic Florentines - joggers, rollerbladers and cyclists abound as well as courting couples, young families and even, in one particular part of the park, an Italian-style tea dance where elderly couples boogied to an endearingly cheesy piano player who was in his element. I felt I had found a little corner of the real Florence here. My nature walk turned up Serin, Firecrest, Squacco Heron and Treecreeper before I pitched up at the incongruous memorial to the Indian Maharajah Rajaram Cuttiputti, situated at the far end of the park. The walk back was uneventful until I neared the city centre end and found some sort of Italian festival going on (they had been setting up the stalls in the morning). It was my luck that Dad and I arrived in time to get seats at an artisan beer tent across from a large stall cooking pizzas in a wood-fired oven - these pizzas remain the best I have EVER had. As we ate and drank for the rest of the night, not a single person around us spoke anything other than Italian and it was great. If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle and the pressure of seeing the sights, come here to this peaceful haven and just relax.
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