This past weekend, Francesco and I decided to take advantage of the beautiful May weather and head out into the Mugello to Lago di Bilancino, a gorgeous lake set back into the countryside that’s only about 45 minutes away from Florence. A bunch of my American girlfriends used to celebrate 4th of July here every summer, and now I can see why–with the clear water and gorgeous surrounding valleys, it’s kind of hard not to love being at the lake on a hot summer day.
Now, I’m the first person to get annoyed when someone gives me a recommendation for something that requires using personal transportation. As an expat and foreigner, I don’t have a car in the city and most days I’m totally fine with that–less money spent on gas and parking. I always hate it whenever I see advertisements for things like sagras and really awesome festivals that aren’t easily accessible by public transport, mostly because while Italy does have a good basic urban network of trains, buses and trams, they’re about as reliable as a condom from the 99 cents store.
However, dating an Italian does have its perks, and I’m not above wheedling Francesco into borrowing his dad’s car to take a day trip from Florence to Barberino to go swimming (which is exactly how we got to Lago di Bilancino in the first place).
Getting to Lake Bilancino is easy–just find someone with a car and tell them to get on the A1 freeway north towards Bologna. Once you see signs for Barberino, follow them and you’ll exit the highway and immediately see the lake off to your righthand side. And also make sure to bring some good tunes for jammin’ in the car, some sunscreen and a camera!