Thomas Ridley is a British author who specializes in European travel. Having lived in London, Spain, and Italy, Thomas has a unique perspective on the continent's diverse attractions. His love for history and architecture shines through in his detailed guides.
Author: Ah, Florence! A city brimming with history, art, and culture. While the popular attractions like the Uffizi Gallery and the Duomo are undoubtedly worth a visit, let me take you off the beaten path and introduce you to some hidden gems in this enchanting city. Here are my top recommendations for the best non-tourist places to visit in Florence:
1. Boboli Gardens: Tucked away behind the Pitti Palace, the Boboli Gardens offer a serene escape from the bustling city. These stunning Renaissance gardens are adorned with sculptures, fountains, and beautifully manicured lawns. Take a leisurely stroll through the winding paths and discover hidden grottos and panoramic viewpoints.
2. San Miniato al Monte: Perched atop a hill overlooking Florence, the San Miniato al Monte is a lesser-known gem. This Romanesque church boasts breathtaking views of the city and houses magnificent frescoes and intricate mosaics. Don't miss the chance to attend the Gregorian chants performed by the resident monks.
3. Oltrarno: Cross the Ponte Vecchio and venture into the Oltrarno neighborhood, where you'll find a vibrant local atmosphere. Explore the narrow streets lined with artisan workshops, boutique shops, and traditional trattorias. Visit the Santo Spirito Church, known for its Renaissance architecture and the lively square in front of it, perfect for people-watching.
4. Palazzo Davanzati: Step back in time at Palazzo Davanzati, a medieval palace that offers a glimpse into the daily life of Florentine nobility. Wander through the lavishly decorated rooms, admire the original frescoes, and imagine what life was like during the Renaissance.
5. Galleria dell'Accademia: While not entirely off the tourist radar, the Galleria dell'Accademia is often overshadowed by the more famous Uffizi Gallery. Here, you can marvel at Michelangelo's iconic sculpture, David, without the crowds. Take your time to explore the other masterpieces housed in this lesser-known gallery.
6. San Lorenzo Market: For a taste of local life, head to the San Lorenzo Market. While the ground floor is filled with stalls selling leather goods and souvenirs, venture upstairs to the Mercato Centrale. Here, you'll find a bustling food market with a wide array of fresh produce, local delicacies, and authentic Tuscan flavors.
Remember, exploring the lesser-known corners of Florence allows you to experience the city like a true local. So, go ahead and wander off the tourist path to discover these hidden gems. Florence has so much more to offer beyond its famous landmarks, and I hope these recommendations help you create unforgettable memories in this captivating city.