The best tennis clubs in Florence
Here are the fields you need to know to play and have fun
Did you know that the first time the word ‘tennis’ appears (albeit in its archaic form ‘tenes’) is in the Chronicle of Florence? It was in 1325, and Donato Velluti recounted a visit of some French knights to Florence, who, playing an evolved version of pallacorda, warned their opponent of the arrival of the ball by shouting ‘tenez’ (in French, ‘tenete!’). It is not surprising then, that Florence has a long tennis-related tradition and that one of the oldest tennis clubs was born right here, 125 years ago.
We will accompany you to this and other Florentine temples of tennis, through the words of their presidents and administrators, in order to bring you into what are not just sports centres, but meeting places rich in history and beauty.
Circolo del Tennis Firenze 1898
Via del Visarno 1
ph. +39 055 332651
Circolo Tennis Firenze was founded in 1898 on the initiative of 30 founding members, partly Florentine and partly English, and has remained in its original location to this day: the splendid Cascine park. Today it has ten clay courts plus two synthetic courts, one multi-purpose and the other dedicated to five-a-side football. A restaurant operates in the building in addition to large rooms for playing cards. Another restaurant is open in the swimming pool during the summer months. Large men's and women's changing rooms with a sauna and a gym on two floors, the ground floor of which is fully equipped, are available to members. Since 2004, Circolo Tennis Firenze has joined the Club dei Centenari, an association whose members include just over thirty of the most beautiful and important clubs in the world.
The president Carlo Pennisi - President told us: “The year 2023 marks an important anniversary for us; the club was founded 125 years ago by a group of Florentines and Englishmen. It was here that the FIT - Federazione Italiana Tennis, which is now FITP: the Italian Tennis and Padel Federation - was born in 1910, thanks to then-president Piero Antinori. Shortly after the founding we were the first tennis club in Italy to include women among its members. Among them was Rhoda de Bellegarde, a Red Cross nurse during World War I, who was awarded posthumously the Military Medal of Valor. Like her, there are many other important figures who have passed through our club, including such great champions as Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Martina Hingis and Dinara Safina, who were among some of the stars of our International Youth Tournament which opened in 1976. We added works by important designers to the already beautiful natural setting of the Cascine Park, such as the swimming pool designed by Gherardo Bosio and the trampoline designed by Pier Luigi Nervi, architect of the Artemio Franchi Stadium. We have ten tennis courts, two padel courts, a soccer field and a beautiful gymnasium. We boast excellent tennis instructors and have always been very active in terms of charitable initiatives, together with Tennis in Rosa, the AIRC Foundation and the Meyer Children’s Hospital, with whom we have been linked for many years now.”
Match Ball Firenze Country Club
Via della Massa, 40 (Bagno a Ripoli, Fi)
ph. +39 055 631572
Just a short distance from the centre of Florence, the Match Ball Country Club is a well-equipped park overlooking the Arno, a true green island dedicated to sport and leisure with sixteen tennis courts, a gym, swimming pool, restaurant, bar and other facilities, surrounded by lawns, olive trees, cypresses and tall trees. An extraordinary meeting place for people and culture, in the name of a cross passion for a sport that can be practised at any age, an ideal environment for many families in a comfortable, lively and interesting place.
President Roberto Casamonti told us: “It’s not easy to look back and retrace all the steps of our story, it’s full of memories and anecdotes, and began exactly 50 years ago, in the spring of 1973, when I decided to transform what was just a court on the banks of the Arno River, full of beautiful olive trees and with a run-down farmhouse, into one of the most beautiful places to play tennis, immersed in the Tuscan countryside. That’s how the tennis school was born in 1975, where so many champions were trained, like Filippo Volandri, former No. 25 in the world in the ATP rankings and captain of the Italian National Tennis Team in the final round of the 2023 Davis Cup. We won our first Italian team title back in 1978. So many victories have been collected since then, both in men’s and women’s divisions, and just this year our return to the men’s A1 Series. Match Ball is now a natural oasis enriched by beautiful trees and plants, with 16 tennis courts, a clubhouse with a bar and restaurant, a swimming pool and gym, and our ‘fitness cube’, completely made of glass where you can train while enjoying the club. 2023 has been a year of great satisfaction: in addition to our return to Series A, we brought great international tennis back to Florence by hosting a WTA 125 women’s tournament, while in May one of our players, Hungarian Fabian Marozsan, beat No. 1 in the world Carlos Alcaraz at the Italian Open in Roma. In addition to great sportsmen and women, the club, which over the years has also become increasingly popular as a place for families, is primarily frequented by people who truly love tennis and sports and appreciate an atmosphere of passion and friendship. Along with the sporting events - including the Campionati Toscani Assoluti Tournament, in its 45th edition, and the King of Clay Trophy, born 3 years ago - there are also our charitable activities, particularly with regard to the Tommasino Bacciotti Foundation and the ATT.”
Circolo Tennis Carraia
Via dell'Erta Canina, 28
ph. +39 335 1949502
Surrounded by greenery 5 minutes from the centre of Florence, for more than 50 years the Circolo Tennis Carraia has been one of the main venues for fans of the sport, who can train with federation instructors on one of the three clay courts. Inside the club there is also an excellent restaurant with a panoramic terrace.
The administrator and sports director Piermarco Billi told us: “The club was founded in 1967 and has been run by our Sports Society since 1992. In the same year I founded the tennis school, which in the course of its history has boasted three players who entered the world rankings and four who became federation instructors. Since 2001, I have been the owner. Our vocation is primarily sports-based. Those who attend the club do so mainly through educational activities led by our federation instructors, aimed both at adults attending classes and members of our sports teams and tennis school. We are fortunate to be located in a beautiful green piece of Florence, a five minute walk from the San Niccolò neighbourhood and ten minutes from Ponte Vecchio, in the valley between Via San Leonardo and Viale Galilei, with fields of olive trees and natural scenery all around. The access road ends at the clubhouse, so we are immersed in tranquility and silence, with only the sound of tennis balls hitting racquets and the ground. Our training team has four national masters, two coaches and a 2nd level physical trainer, and two coaches and a 1st level physical trainer. Every year we organise federation tournaments and tennis events, as well as charity initiatives for Tennis in Rosa and Dynamo Camp.”
Assi Giglio Rosso
Viale Michelangiolo, 64
ph. +39 055 6812686
ASSI, an acronym for Arno Società Sportiva Italiana, has been one of the regular venues for Florentine sport since 1922, from athletics to tennis, from five-a-side football to rugby. There are six clay tennis courts.
President Marcello Marchioni told us: “The history of ASSI, which is an acronym for Arno Società Sportiva Italiana, began in 1922, when some members of Rari Nantes Florentia, a historic swimming club, organised a small soccer field in this green corner of the Viale dei Colli. In the following years, the sports activities opened up to other disciplines and we soon became the most important athletic club in the area. From 1926 to 1944 it took the name Giglio Rosso, later becoming ASSI Giglio Rosso. Our competitive pride has always been athletics - our athletes have participated in 16 editions of the Olympic Games - but our first tennis courts made their appearance even before 1930. Today there are six - with two padel courts in the process of being built - and although tennis is experienced here primarily as a social and recreational activity, the club is recognised by the FITP and we carry out intensive training, ranging from seven to eight years of age up to adulthood, including courses for a maximum of four people, so as to keep the social aspect alive while ensuring careful and exclusive training. We are very proud of our learning centre and library, which specialises in the history of sports, and we are also committed to welcoming people with mental and physical disabilities by assisting them in specially designed sports activities. It’s a mutual exchange that enriches them, who are highly motivated by the dynamic and inclusive environment, and us.”
Le Terrazze Michelangelo
Viale Michelangiolo, 61
ph. +39 347 6590644
A few metres from Piazzale Michelangelo, in the quiet of the avenues designed by Poggi, Le Terrazze Michelangelo is a restaurant, pizzeria, meeting point for aperitifs and lounge bar, and tennis club. A historic Florentine venue with over 100 years of history behind it, known to many as the 'ex-Bologna' from the name of the previous owners with the skating rink that was a real meeting point for young people who made their first loves here. The tennis club has two clay courts, where tournaments and matches are held.
Club Sportivo Firenze
Viale del Visarno, 10
ph. + 39 055 332701
The history of the Florence Sports Club began on 25 January 1870 when the Veloce Club Firenze was founded by a group of cycling pioneers. Today, the tennis court area has two clay courts and one, smaller synthetic court. In the winter months, the two clay courts are covered with pressostatic balloons in order to allow continuity in the tennis activity. A clubhouse and an excellent restaurant are also available.
Tennis Club Timeout
Via Giovanni Paisiello, 131
ph. +39 055 350752
The Tennis Club Timeout is located a stone's throw from the Visarno racecourse in the centre of Florence. It has indoor clay and synthetic courts, a restaurant, club house, outdoor area and summer centres. It organises courses for all levels: Mini Tennis, Training, Agonistic and for Adults.