After 52 years, Florence finally has its public tram system back, according to The Florentine. The new Tramvia debuted on Valentine’s Day, a date deliberately chosen by Florence mayor Matteo Renzi to reflect the residents’ collective love for their city. On its first day, the Tramvia carried an estimated 40,000 passengers, including a couple who rode the tram to their wedding ceremony in an effort to show their appreciation for the long-awaited public transit system.
The tram comes after much controversy and debate about the construction of a new urban railway system in Florence. While many residents are thrilled with its launch, others showed their concern by protesting and picketing outside the via Alamanni tram station.
The Tramvia Line 1 connects the city of Florence with the town Scandicci and departs every eight minutes; construction on two more tram lines will begin soon. The tram system’s Sirio trams carry riders from Santa Maria Novella Station in Florence to Villa Costanza in Scandicci in 23 minutes, stopping at 14 stations along the way.
The Florentine details how Line 1’s stops include a variety of sights that are perfect for travelers looking to wander off of the city’s beaten tourist path. Stazione Leopolda, located on the tram’s first stop, hosts year-round festivals, including a food fair in March and the Nextech festival of electronic music in September. Cascine Park is the tram’s second stop, and is a haven for outdoors enthusiasts. The park has a public swimming pool, a sports complex, stables, and lots of green space for walking and relaxing. The Cascine Market along the Arno River, the largest market in Florence, sells everything from produce to clothing to furniture, and is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Tuesday.
For a quick escape from the bustle of big-city life, ride the tram to the residential area of Scandicci. The Resistenza stop drops passengers off in the city’s center among piazzas and family-owned shops, and the next stop reaches Piazza Togliatti, home of Scandicci’s Saturday market, which operates from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Future tram lines 2 and 3 are expected to stop at major tourist sites, including the Duomo. — Elaine Murphy