building is located in the Piazza Santa Croce area, the beautiful
square of the city center, where every year is played the "Calcio
storico fiorentino, one of the oldest football game in the world!
to all main cultural sites in Florence, it is also important
part of the city night life (check below for suggested restaurants
Still great area to live into, because of its closeness
to residential amenities like the STANDA supermarket, shops,
post office, restaurants, and bars.
its markets, small secluded gardens, artisan craft shops, and
some of the best restaurants in town, Santa Croce is a quarter
for connoisseurs. Still authentic, and just enough remote from
the incessant flow of tourists, this quarter is well equipped
to ensure a pleasant stay.
It's the best choice for the most attentive and curious travel.
Part of Santa Croce's convent has been set up as a museum,
mainly to harbour artistic victims of the 1966 Arno flood, which
buried the church under tons of mud and water. You enter through
a door to the right of the church facade, which spills into
an open-air courtyard planted with cypress and filled with birdsong.
At the end of the path is the Cappella de' Pazzi, one of Filippo
Brunelleschi's architectural masterpieces (faithfully finished
after his death in 1446). Giuliano da Maiano probably designed
the porch that now precedes the chapel, set with glazed terra
cottas by Luca della Robbia. The rectangular chapel is one of
Brunelleschi's signature pieces and a defining example of (and
model for) early Renaissance architecture. Light gray pietra
serena is used to accent the architectural lines against smooth
white plaster walls, and the only decorations are della Robbia
roundels of the Apostles (1442-52). The chapel was barely finished
by 1478, when the infamous Pazzi Conspiracy got the bulk of
the family, who were funding this project, either killed or
exiled. From back in the first cloister you can enter the museum
proper via the long hall of the refectory. On your right as
you enter is the painting that became emblematic of all the
artworks damaged during the 1966 flood, Cimabue's Crucifix,
one of the masterpieces of the artist who began bridging the
gap between Byzantine tradition and Renaissance innovation,
not the least by teaching Giotto to paint.
Small quiet gardens where you can seek silent spaces
for reading, are at the back of the Church of Santa Croce and
in Borgo Allegri number 18.
to drive in the centro storico is a frustrating, useless
exercise. Florence is a maze of one-way streets and pedestrian
zones, and it takes an old hand to know which laws to break in
order to get where you need to go -- plus you need a permit to
drive into the city centre if you are not a resident, and every
access is controlled through video cameras..
- The bus stop which takes you to the train station (Bus n.14),
is in Via dell'Agnolo.
- Taxi number: 055 4242
fashion addicts and fashion victims who are already familiar with
the city and who are planning another stay in Florence, here is
a made-to-measure itinerary...
Home to the historical names of Made in Italy fashion such as
Gucci, Emilio Pucci and Salvatore Ferragamo,
Florence is an excellent opportunity to satisfy a few whims. So,
go on, put your hand in your pocket and get ready to take some
vintage souvenirs home to furnish your apartment with or some
food delicacies to please your taste buds and those of your friends
and some accessories and famous-label clothes to show off and
wear on special evenings.
The morning is the best time to wander round the markets and flea
markets looking for those unique items and best bargains. In Florence
there are many markets to look round: the one in San Lorenzo
is famous for its food delicatessens, then there is the Mercato
delle Pulci, that is held every day in Piazza dei Ciompi with
its antique stalls and the Cascine market in viale Lincoln.
Take a quick look at the Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa
Maria Novella, the old pharmacy where you can be essences
and beauty products and at Bojola in via dei Rondinelli n°
25r, an old crafts shop opened in 1892 you can buy leather goods
such as bags, suitcases and wallets.
Your afternoon will be dedicated to a trip outside the city, for
shopping, Around Florence there are many famous-label outlets.
The most important is The Mall (Via Artina n° 63, tel.
055 8657775), that can easily be reached by car, train or by Shuttle
Bus from Florence,there is a wide choice here of clothes and accessories
from past seasons by Armani, Gucci, Sergio Rossi, Bottega Veneta,
Prada, Ferragamo, Roberto Cavalli and many other labels, at reduced
antiques business is clustered where the artisans have always
lived and worked: the Oltrarno.
Dealers' shops line Via Maggio, but the entire district is packed
with venerable chunks of the past.
On "this side" of the river, Borgo Ognissanti has the
highest concentration of aging furniture and art collectibles.
- Is just around the corner from the Cathedral Santa Croce, in
the heart of Florence. The open space restaurant spreads out over
500m2 of floor space over several floors, with a wonderful Mediterranean
patio, terrace and bar, all oozing Moroccan feel! The cuisine
is shaped by the new concept of Mediterranean fusion with strong
Address: Via delle Conce, 20/r # 055.2001381
Ciompi - It serves typical Tuscany dishes in a warm
and friendly atmosphere., is in front of a tiny market suddenly
adds an extra hundred exhibitors. The stalls are scattered even
in the adjacent streets making the occasion even more interesting,
multiplying the possibilities of finding something missing in
your collection and perhaps giving you an opportunity to buy
an origninal souvenir of your stay in Italy.
Address: Via Pietrapiana 36/38r # 055 2344100
dei Benci - A few minutes from Santa Croce, this
charming osteria serves some of the most eclectic food in Florence.
Try the spaghetti degli eretici (in tomato sauce with fresh
herbs). The grilled meats are justifiably famous; the carbonata
is a succulent piece of grilled beef served rare. When it's
warm, you can dine outside with a view of the 13th-century tower
belonging to the prestigious Alberti family. Right next door
is Osteria de'Benci Caffè (¢-$), serving selections
from the menu from 8 AM to midnight.
Address: Via dei Benci 11-13/r # 055 2344923
Giostra - The clubby La Giostra, which means "carousel"
in Italian, is owned and run by Prince Dimitri Kunz d'Asburgo
Lorena, and his way with mushrooms is as remarkable as his charm.
The unusually good pastas may require explanation from Soldano,
one of the prince's good-looking twin sons. In perfect English
he'll describe a favorite dish, taglierini con tartufo bianco,
a decadently rich pasta with white truffles. Leave room for
dessert: this might be the only show in town with a sublime
tiramisu and a wonderfully gooey Sacher torte.
Address: Borgo Pinti 12/r # 055 241341
- The food at this upscale trattoria is fantastic, from the
creamy crostini di fegatini (a savory chicken-liver spread)
to the melt-in-your-mouth desserts. If you thought you'd never
try tripe -- let alone like it -- this is the place to lay any
doubts to rest: the trippa in insalata (cold tripe salad) with
parsley and garlic is an epiphany. Construe chef Fabio Picchi's
unsolicited advice as a sign of his enthusiasm for cooking;
it's warranted, as the food is among the best and most creative
in town. Around the corner is Cibreino, Cibrèo's budget
version, with a shorter menu and a no-reservations policy.
Address: Via A. del Verrocchio, 8/r # 055 2341100
Secret of Pinzochere street: The pastry shop on number
12r starts serving cakes already at 02:30 am (just in case you
have sudden hunger pains in the night).
Red & the Black
address system has a split personality. Private homes, some offices,
and hotels are numbered in black (or blue), while businesses,
shops, and restaurants are numbered independently in red. This
means that 1, 2, 3 (black) addresses march up the block numerically
oblivious to their 1r, 2r, 3r (red) neighbours. You might find
the doorways on one side of a street numbered: 1r, 2r, 3r, 1,
4r, 2, 3, 5r . . .
Florence keeps proclaiming that it's busily renumbering the whole
city without the colour system -- plain 1, 3, 5 on one side, 2,
4, 6 on the other -- and will release the new standard soon, but
no one is quite sure when. Conservative Florentines who don't
want their addresses to change have been helping to hold up the
process. This is all compounded by the fact that the color codes
occur only in the centro storico and other older sections
of town; outlying districts didn't bother with the codes and use
the international standard system .