Cypress trees, decadent villas and unexpected postcard views of the Florence skyline: all just a short hike away (or a bus ride for you lazy ones).

Ever ventured outside the ancient walls of Porta Romana? You may have pushed yourself as far as Santo Spirito, but what about everything else beyond it? If you head towards what used to be the old passageway that lead to Rome, a whole new Florence awaits you. A much greener Florence to say the least.

You can choose to start your exploration by taking the grand viale that will bring you all the way up to the incredible Villa del Poggio Imperiale. Look for bus 38 if you don’t plan on getting sweaty; it will deliver you right in front of the villa, which is impossible not to spot because of its impressive size.

Once you arrive in front of Poggio Imperiale (believe it or not this is actually a secondary school), turn left and start climbing up via Righini. As the hike gets tougher, you will pass by what has been Galileo’s last address and just behind it, fair enough, an observatory can be found. You have officially entered Arcetri.

Just a couple of minutes further up and the name of the place has already changed, as you are now at Pian dei Giullari. This is when you can regain your breath and simply admire the wonderful views. If you turn right you can enjoy the picture-perfect hills of Arcetri, while if you go left the hill will gently lead you back down and jaw-dropping views of Brunelleschi’s dome will all of a sudden make the climb worthwile (if the glorious hilltop views weren’t already enough).

These are just a few hints on where to go but, personally, I couldn’t think of a better place to get lost if you’re not in a rush. Unbelievably so, it truly feels like you’re hours away from the bustling city centre up there.

Credits: Federica di Giovanni