(includes Bagno a Ripoli, Bargino, Bellosguardo, Forte dei Marmi, Galluzzo, Maiano & Poggio a Caiano)
BAKERIES, COFFEE, ICE CREAM & TEA
●Badiani – 20r Viale dei Mille; 011-39-055-57-8682; excellent ice-cream.
●Cafe Giacosa – 83r Via Tournboni, 011-39-055-239-6226; also known as Cavalli Café; for breakfast; makes best cappuccino in Florence; best spot to people-watch, as everyone is in Cavalli & men 3X girlfriends’ age; best plastic surgery in town, too.
●Carabe – 60r Via Ricasoli; 011-39-055-289-476; gelatocarabe.com; granita & ice cream.
●Carabe – 9r Piazza San Jacopino; gelatocarabe.com; granita & ice cream.
●Carabe – 23d Via P.I. da Carrara (Forte dei Marmi); 011-39-058-488-0215; gelatocarabe.com; granita & ice cream.
●Carapina – 2r Piazza Oberdon; 011-39-055-676-930; carapina.it; granita & ice cream.
●Carapina – 18r Via Lambertesca; 011-39-055-291-128; carapina.it; granita & ice cream.
●Dolcissimo – 61r Via Maggio; 011-39-055-239-6268; breakfast (coffee from thermos but excellent pastry).
●Il Gelato Vivoli – 7r Via Isole delle Stinche; 011-39-055-29-2334; among world’s most famous ice cream parlors.
●Libreria La Cite – 20r Borgo San Frediano; 011-39-055-21-0387; lacitelibreria.info; affordable books & coffee, live music & tango lessons.
●Pasticceria La Loggia – 39r Borgo degli Albizi, 1 Piazza Calamanderi; 011-39-055-247-9574; for great coffee, as well as pastries; great terrace.
●Rivoire – 5 Piazza della Signoria; 011-39-055-214-412; rivoire.it; visit if only for turn-of-century feel.
●La Sorbetteria – 11/r Piazza Torquato Tasso; 011-39-055-512-0336.
BARS & NIGHTCLUBS
●Capocaccia – 12-14r Lungarno Corsini; 011-39-055-210-751; most desirable night spot; terrace on river.
●Cavalli Club – 8r Piazza del Carmine; 011-39-055-211-650; floors covered in white glitter resin; bathrooms have gold sinks & gold-leaf resin walls; live, striped eel swirls in large aquarium; stage show; steel bar shaped like tree with leaves that rise to ceiling.
●Colle Bereto’s – 5 Piazza degli Strozzi (just above Louis Vuitton store in Piazza Strozzi); 011-39-055-283-156; “early” disco in upstairs lounge, Prive Attico; serves strong drinks & good music.
●Continentale – 6r Vicolo dell’Oro; 011-39-055-272-62 or 800-426-5445 -2663; rooftop terrace.
●Full Up Srl – 23r Via Della Vigna Vecchia; 011-39-055-292-527; fullupclub.com; definitely hot spot until 4am, but be prepared for average age of 24 or less.
●Fusion Bar – 5 Vicolo Dell ’Oro (in Gallery Hotel Art); 011-39-055-27263; lungarnocollection.com/en/the-collection/florence/gallery-hotel-art; for best Negroni.
●Hotel Lungarno – 14 Borgo San Jacopo; 011-39-055-27-261; lungarnohotels.com; steps from Ponte Vecchio; drinks by fireplaces or overlooking Arno River.
●Le Volpi e L’Uva – 1r Piazza dei Rossi; 011-39-055-239-8132; wine.
●Moyo – 23r Via dei Benci; 011-39-055-247-9783; night owl bar.
●Rime Rampanti – Rampe di San Niccolo; summer only; open air bar-restaurant above Piazza Poggi; terrace & river views; nightly live entertainment.
●Il Santino – 60 Via di Santo Spirito; 011-39-055-230-2820; facebook.com/pages/Il-Santino/119703434774053; wine bar.
●Be-One Art & Luxury Home – 1 Via dei Brunelleschi; 011-39-055-219-535; b1florence.com/index-eng.html; cheerful bolthole close to sites; 3rd & 4th floors of Risorgimento-era palace, just off Piazza della Repubblica; unpromising approach so be forewarned; ask for Sofia Loren Deluxe Double ($300); affordable & perfect.
●Four Seasons – 99 Borgo Pinti; 011-39-055-26-261 or 800-819-5053; renovated renaissance palazzo & convent (Giardino & Palazzo della Gherardesca) framing centuries old, 11 acre private park; only serious hotel spa in city.
●Gallery Hotel Art – 5 Vicolo Dell ’Oro; 011-39-055-27263; lungarnocollection.com/en/the-collection/florence/gallery-hotel-art.
●Grand Hotel Villa Cora – 18 Viale Niccolo Machiavelli; 011-39-055-228-790; villacora.it or jdbhotels.com; reopened in January 2011 after 4-year, top-to-bottom renovation; grande dame hotel; built in 1870; 46 rooms, 8 with balconies; elegant furnishings; located in peaceful setting on own grounds behind Boboli Gardens; complimentary on-demand transfers into town in hotel’s private vehicles; rooms overlook new, large, heated swimming pool or garden; fitness room & spa reached via tunnels connecting main with 2nd villa & poolside restaurant.
●J.K. Place – 7 Piazza Santa Maria Novella; 011-39-055-264-5181; jkplace.com; 20 rooms but try to get 1 of 3 Master Rooms; window views over Piazza Santa Maria Novella; not cheap.
●Hotel Lungarno – 14 Borgo San Jacopo; 011-39-055-27-261; lungarnohotels.com; steps from Ponte Vecchio; owned by Ferragamo family; contemporary chic, minimalist décor; feels like private home with all hotel luxuries; good alternative is Lungarno Suites.
●Marignolle Relais & Charme – 16 Via San Quirichino (outside of city, in hils); 011-39-055-228-6910; margnolle.com; spectacular city views; pool.
●Plaza Hotel Lucchesi – 38 Lungarno della Zecca Vecchia; 011-39-055-26-236; plazalucchesi.it; on Arno River banks; antiques & modern fixtures (flat screen televisions).
●Hotel Monna Lisa – 27 Borgo Pinti; 011-39-055-247-9751; hotelmonnalisaflroence.com; converted 14th Century palazzo, 5 minutes by foot from Duomo.
● Hotel NH Porta Rossa – 19 Via Porta Rossa; 011-39-055-271-0911; nh-hotels.it/nh/it/hotels/italia/firenze/nh-porta-rossa.html; historical landmark; built in 12th Century, among oldest hotels in Italy; located in pedestrian zone of historic city center; just off Piazza della Signoria square, close to Palazzo Vecchio, Fountain of Neptune, Duomo, 11th Century Baptistery, Uffizi Gallery & Ponte Vecchio; restored ceiling & wall frescoes; incorporates Monalda Tower, 12th Century tower housing Monalda Suite, which features private staircase that suite guests can take for spectacular cityscape view; car parking available near hotel.
●Portrait Firenze – 4 Lungarno Acciaiuoli; 011-39-055-2726-4000; portraitfirenze.com; 36 suites; 1940-1950s feel; some rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows.
●Hotel Regency – 3 Piazza M. D’Azeglio; 011-39-055-245-247; regency-hotel.com; 1800s Florentine villa; exquisite rooms & excellent restaurant.
●Relais Santa Croce – 87 Via Ghibellina; 011-39-055-234-2230; baglionihotels.com; popular with old Florentine hands; feels like nobleman’s townhouse; restored, 17th Century palazzo; #308 is best deal for money ($675), dainty junior suite with terrace that opens to views across rooftops to Basilica Santa Croce; 1st floor suites are frescoed but cost into 4 digits per night.
●Residenza d’Epoca Home in Palace – 26 Via Gino Capponi; 011-39-055-200-1039; homeinpalace.it; affordable; housed on Palazzo Capponi all’Annunziata’s top floor (among most renowned, historic buildings in Florence, 18th Century palazzo); surrounded by beautiful, landscaped gardens; elevated position provides magnificent city & surrounding environs’ views; sleekly elegant guest rooms are bright, comfortable & spacious; tastefully decorated with antique furnishings; designed following Feng Shui principles; private garden access; rich breakfast features items produced at residence’s Tuscan farm.
●Riva Lofts – 98 Via Baccio Bandinelli; 011-39-055-713-0272; rivalofts.com; striking, 9-room property in refurbished, 19th Century factory on Arno River’s south bank; loftlike rooms with in-suite kitchens; common room with honor bar & fireplace; operator/owner very knowledgeable about Florence; bicycles available; early April-May best; Suite 4 has incredible view of Arno River, Parco delle Cascine & Brunelleschi’s cupola from living room; bedroom has concealed peephole so you can see same view.
●Hotel St. Regis – 1 Piazza Ognissanti; 011-39-055-27161; stregis.com; housed in 15th Century building by Brunelleschi; formerly Grand Hotel, where everyone from Isadora Duncan to Queen Victoria to Theodor Herzl stayed; jewel-toned stained-glass ceilings & marble terraces; 81 rooms & 19 suites.
●Hotel Savoy – 7 Piazza della Repubblica; 011-39-055-27351; hotelsavoy.it; on Piazza della Repubblica; Andy Warhol prints & dark wood furniture; mosaic baths with fantastic views; try to get room #419 (view of Duomo for $450).
●Torre di Bellosguardo – 2 Via Roti Michelozzi; 011-39-055-229-8145; torrebellosguardo.com; villa with views of Florence. Unforgettable.
●Villa di Maiano – 11 Via Benedetto da Maiano and 1 Via del Salviatino (Maiano, Fiesole); 011-39-055-599-600; fattoriadimaiano.com/en; villa dates to 15th Century as Florentine Alessandri family property, then that of Pazzi & Tolomei families; most famous owner was Sir John Temple Leader, who bought entire property in 1850; Temple Leader restored villa, adding ballroom, large, Renaissance-style tower & large romantic park; great view over Florence; filming location for Room with View; today Corsini family property, museum & wedding location; Fattoria di Maiano is farmhouse, where famous extra virgin olive oil manufactured; apartments.
●Villa La Massa – 24 Via della Massa (Bagno a Ripoli, 5 miles from downtown Florence); 011-39-055-62611; villalamassa.com; 37 rooms occupying 16th Century villa on Arno River.
●Villa Le Piazzole Montartino – 28 Via Suor Maria Celeste; 011-39-055-223-520; stunning.
●Villa San Michele – 4 Via Doccia; 011-39-055-567-8200; outside city; tremendous outdoor views; can swim in pool after lunch.
●Westin Excelsior – 3 Piazza Ognissanti; 011-39-055-27151; westinflorence.com; snag top floor room with terrace over Arno River; spectacular views; magnificent lobby.
●Ristorante e Terrazza Bardini – 37a Costa San Giorgio; 011-39-055-200-8444; moba.fi.it; in 16th Century Bardini Villa; garden used to exhibit sculpture; 2 expansive terraces overlook Arno River & hills beyond Florence; live music; excellent seafood crudo appetizer.
●Beccofino – 1r Piazza Degli Scarlatti; 011-39-055-29-0076; underfloor lighting in restrooms.
●Birreria Centrale – 1r Piazza Cimatori; 011-39-055-21-1915; unusual snacks & wines.
●Borgo San Jacopo – 62r Borgo San Jacopo; 011-39-055-28-1661; riverside setting; reserve table on tiny terrace that looks onto Ponte Vecchio.
●Cammillo Trattoria – 57r Borgo San Jacopo; 011-39-055-21-2427; classic trattoria; book table in entrance room to watch cooks.
●Cantinetta Antinori – 3 Piazza Antinori; 011-39-055-29-2234; wine bar-restaurant.
●Cantinetta di Verrazzano – 18-20r Via dei Tavolini; 011-39-055-268-590; for cheese, focaccia & wine; great place to drink & sit for hours; best wine selection in town served with large variety choices cheese-focaccia combos, like pear & pecorino.
●Casa del Vino – 16r Via dell’Ariento; 011-39-055-21-5609; Florence’s best Panini.
●Il Cibreo – 8r Via del Verrocchio; 011-39-055-234-1100; edizioniteatrodelsalecibreofirenze.it; bream carpaccio w/celery.
●Cucina Torcicoda – 5r Via Torta; 011-39-055-265-4329; cucinatorcicoda.com.
●Da Ruggero – 89r Via Senese; 011-39-055-22-0542; 1 of few true trattorias left in city.
●Ristorante Enoteca Pinchioni – 87 Via Ghibellina; 011-39-055-242777; Firenzeenotecapinchiorri.it; 3 Michelin stars; for decades has represented luxury & haute cuisine at highest level; numerous dining rooms, including historic room, which has museum-like feell highly attentive service from legendary owners, Annie & Giorgio; menu features best of Tuscan, Italian & international cuisine; wine list renowned across globe.
●Eataly – 22r Via dei Martelli; 011-39-055-015-3601; firenze.eataly.it; perfect for lunch.
●In Fabbrica – 99 Via del Gelsomino; 011-39-347-514-5468.
●Del Fagioli – 47r Corso Tintori; 011-39-055-24-4285; relatively tourist free, few blocks from Santa Croce.
●Fattoria di Maiano – 11 Via Benedetto da Maiano and 1 Via del Salviatino (Maiano, Fiesole); 011-39-055-599-600; fattoriadimaiano.com/en; organic restaurant.
●Trattoria Garga – 48r Via del Moro; 011-39-055-239-8898; garga.it; atmospheric at night; funky; pricey; taglierini del Magnifico (pasta w/cognac, mint, orange & lemon sauce).
●Cafe Giacosa – 83r Via Tournboni, 011-39-055-239-6226; also known as Cavalli Café; for breakfast; makes best cappuccino in Florence; best spot to people-watch, as everyone is in Cavalli & men 3X girlfriends’ age; best plastic surgery in town, too.
●Harry’s Bar – 22r Lungarno Amerigo Vespucci; 011-39-055-239-6700; terrace on Arno; oven-baked tagliolini.
●IO Osteria Personale – 167r Borgo San Frediano (Oltrarno); 011-39-055-933-1341; io-osteriapersonale.it; Pisa-born, Spanish-trained chef.
●Hotel JK – 7 Piazza Santa Maria Novella; 011-39-055-264-5181; jkplace.com; good for weekend brunch and, also, cocktails (rooftop terrace); serve real American brunch to hip Florentine crowd;great when hungover.
●Il Latini – 6r Via de Palchetti; 011-39-055-21-0916; illatini.com; must for lunch.
●Hotel Lungarno – 14 Borgo San Jacopo; 011-39-055-27261; lungarnohotels.com; lobby tea; if Agatha Christie set novel in Florence today, everyone would have tea here; old-world chic, with average age 70.
●Omero – 11r Via Pian dei Giullari; 011-39-055-22-0053; ristoranteomero.it; traditional Tuscan food (chicken fried in olive oil) on Florence’s outskirts; also has food shop; on street where Galileo once lived; magnificent views.
●Ora di Aria – 11 Via dei Georgofili; 011-39-055-200-1699; oradariaristorante.com; name refers to hour prison inmates are allowed outside; 2 main dining rooms; try to get room underground; focuses not on molecular gastronomy but, rather, under-explored Italian ingredients; 5-course meal is fairly priced.
●Ossi di Seppia – 48 Via San Niccolo; 011-39-055-234-3336; ossidiseppia.eu.
●Osteria Santo Spirito – 16r Piazza Santo Spirito; 011-39-055-238-2383; great lunches.
●Ristorante Paoli – 12r Via dei Tavolini; 011-39-055-21-6215; good salads; in former church.
●Il Pizzaiuolo – 113r Via dei Macci; 011-39-055-24-1171; Neopolitan-style pizza & seafood pasta; reservations necessary.
●Da Pruto – 9r Piazza Torquato Tasso; 011-39-055-22-2219; best fish in town to in-know Florentines.
●Rivoire – 5r Piazza della Signoria; 011-39-055-21-4412; on terrace looking over Palazzo Vecchio; good for breakfast; open since 1872.
●Il Santino – 60 Via di Santo Spirito; 011-39-055-230-2820; facebook.com/pages/Il-Santino/119703434774053; wine bar that is excellent for lunch.
●Il Santo Bevitore – 64r Via di Santo Spirito; 011-39-055-21-1264; rustic antipasti.
●Sesto on Arno – 3 Piazza Ognissanti (at Westin Excelsior); 011-39-055-27151; sestoonarno.com; in glass-&-steel structure unlike anything in Florence; on roof with tremendous views over river.
●Sostanza – 25r Via del Porcellana; 011-39-055-212-691; since opening its doors in 1869, this trattoria has served top-notch, unpretentious food to Florentines who like their bistecca fiorentina very large & very rare; single room with white tiles on wall & paper mats on tables; along with fine Tuscan classics, 2 signature dishes: tortino di carciofi (artichoke tart) & pollo al burro (chicken with butter); leave room for dessert, as torta alla Meringa (semi-frozen dessert flecked with chocolate & topped with meringue).
●Tamero Pasta Bar – 11r Piazza Santo Spirito; 011-39-055-282-596; tamero.it; hip spot in Santo Spirito area; modern food in eclectically designed setting; affordable prices; handmade pasta changes daily.
●Teatro del Sale – 111r Via dei Macci; 011-39-055-200-1492; teatrodelsale.com; private supper club (have to join); theater & meal.
●Trattoria Pandemonio – 50r Via dei Leone; 011-39-055-22-4002; venerable; get pasta with Sugo della Mamma; order steak propped up by bread.
●Trattoria Mario – 2 Via Rosina; 011-39-055-218-550; trattoriamario.com; wonderful cubbyhole near San Lorenzo market; open since 1953; .
●La Trattoria dei Quattro Leoni – 1r Via dei Vellutini (on Piazza Quattro Leoni); 011-39-055-21-8562; 4leoni.com; dinner; fiocchetti pasta is amazing; building dates to 1550.
●Trattoria Sostanza – 25r Via della Porcellana; 011-39-055-21-2691; informal trattoria in Santa Maria Novella area dating from 1869.
●Villa San Michele – 4 Via Doccia; 011-39-055-567-8200; outside city; tremendous outdoor views; can swim in pool after lunch.
●Agenzia per il Turismo di Firenze/u> – 16 Via Manzoni; 011-39-055-28-8448; firenzeturismo.it/en; tours.
●Boutique Florence – boutiqueflorence.com; gourmet walking tours.
●Ciro – 5-6 Lungarno Acciaiuoli; hair & manicures; just down from Hotel Berchielli.
●Citta Nascosta – B Via Lungarno, 25 Cellini; 011-39-055-680-2590; customized tours including private art viewing.
●Context Travel – 011-39-6-9762-5204 or 215-240-4347 (US number that rings in Italy); contexttravel.com/city/Florence; scholar-specialist network (archaeology, art history, classics, cuisine, environmental science, history & urban planning); design & lead small groups (6 maximum) on walking tours.
●Firenze Card – firenzecard.it; 72€ for 72-hour card that gives free admission to all major Florence museums; gives access not only to permanent collections, but also to exhibitions & all other activities held in that museum without further cost.
●Florence by Bike – 120 Via San Zanobi; 011-39-055-48-8992; florencebybike.it.
●Gabrio Staff Olimpo – 5 Via de’ Tornabuoni; 011-39-055-21-4668; gabriostaff.it; manicure that lasts 3 weeks; serves “relax lunch” for 20 euro, which includes healthy lunch prepared by Hotel Bristol’s 4-star chef, along with massage or Turkish bath.
●Fiona San Jiuliano – 011-39-339-120-4793; firstname.lastname@example.org; former Pucci designer, water-colorist; organizes classes at different estates that her family owns.
●Firenze Musei – 011-39-055-294-883; museum reservations; obtain specified time slot & avoid lines in most major Florence museums.
●IC Bellagio – 35 Via Paolo Carcano (Bellagio); 011-39-031-952-059; icbellagio.com; tour-guides, in particular, & travel assistance, in general.
●Osservatorio dei Mestieri d’Arte – 6 Via Bufalini; 011-39-055-012-1534; osservatoriomestieridarte.it; organizes, develops & promotes cultural initiatives to encourage & awaken public interest in artistic crafts; assists tourists in this regard.
●Angela Caputi – 44-46 Borgo Santi Apostoli; 011-39-055-21-2972; bags, costume jewelry, hats, scarves.
●Antico Setificio Fiorentino – 4 Via Lorenzo Bartolini; 011-39-055-213-861; anticosetificiofiorentino.com; Florence’s last silk-making factory.
●Aprosio & Co. – 11 Santo Spirito; 011-39-055-265-4077; intricate glass bead jewelry.
●Area – 11 Via Santo Spirito; 011-39-055-277-6482; renaissance-style furniture.
●Arredamenti Castorina – 15r Santo Spirito; 011-39-055-21-2885; decorative wooden objects.
●Bartolozzi e Maioli – 13r Via dei Vellutini 5; 011-39-055-28-1723; bartolozziemaioli.it; woodcarving.
●Stefano Bemer Atelier – 2 Via San Niccolò; 011-39-055-046-0476; stefanobemersrl.com; handmade shoes for men.
●Il Bisonte – 31r Via dei Parione; 011-39-055-21-5722; ilbisonte.net; leather.
●Bizzarri – 32r Via della Condotta; 011-39-055-21-1580; magical odd mix of groceries, pigments.
●Bottega delle Antiche Terme di Simone Abarche – 16 Borgo Santissimi Apostoli; 011-39-055-21-0552; just opposite Piazzetta del Limb; ancient Roman bath site until 1862, when building became home to modern city’s public baths; custom-made men’s shirts using finest linens & Egyptian cottons (2K different fabrics); wide selection collars, cuffs and both classic & Australian mother-of-pearl buttons; monograms hand-embroidered.
●Brittain Bicicletta – 5r Lungarno Torrigiani; 011-39-055-246-6703; brittainbicicletta; handmade children’s clothing, especially infants’ layette.
●Cappelli Antonio Gatto – 5 Piazza Pitti; 011-39-055-294-725; Gatto creates, designs & manufactures handmade hats.
●Casa dei Tessuti – 20-24r Via de’Pecori; 011-39-055-21-5961; casadeitessuti.com; fabrics & tailor-made goods.
●Ceri Vintage – 26R Via dei Serragli; 011-39-055-21-7978; cerivintage.it; consignment, used & vintage goods.
●Dangerous Works – 17r Borgo San Frediano; 011-39-055-21-8026; street-art-inspired fashions.
●Farmacia al Ponte Vecchio – 4 Lungarno Acciaiuoli; 011-39-055-28-7797; historical pharmacy since 1783; seriously damaged by German mine explosion during WWII; doctors serve Florentines living in area, as well as tourists.
●Farmacia Santa Maria Novella – 16 Via della Scala; 011-39-055-21-6276; smnovella.it; monastery-turned-pharmacy where can get any herbal remedy, as well as soaps made by monks; in back room, great view of courtyard where Florence police exercise – hot hot hot.
●Elio Ferraro – 47r Via del Parione; 011-39-055-29-0425; best vintage in Florence; overpriced but tons Missoni & Pucci in one place.
●Fattoria di Maiano – 11 Via Benedetto da Maiano and 1 Via del Salviatino (Maiano, Fiesole); 011-39-055-599-600; fattoriadimaiano.com/en; where famous extra virgin olive oil manufactured.
●Flair – 2r Piazza degli Scarlatti, Lungarno Guicciardini; 011-39-055-28-0338; vintage furniture store with personal designs.
●FOR Gallery – 45r Via dei Fossi; 011-39-055-094-6444; forgallery.it; among 1st serious photography galleries in Florence;
●46 Santo Spirito – 46 Via Santo Spirito; 011-39-055-21-0659; boutique that sells of-moment, limited edition women’s accessories, clothing & shoes.
●Gerard – 34-36 Via de Pecori; 011-39-055-28-2491; good for edgier stuff; mixture of Colette & Supreme, keeping in mind this is Florence so not as cool as it sounds; Gerard T-shirt is must-have for anyone who wants to prove they know DJ (or at least DJ).
●Richard Ginori – 17 Via dei Rondinelli; 011-39-055-210-041; ricardginori1735.com; dinnerware.
●Instituto Artigianelli – 106 Via dei Serragli; 011-39-055-22-5044; workshop courtyard; in oratory of Sant Elisabetta delle Convertite monastery; maybe also pensione.
●Libreria La Cite – 20r Borgo San Frediano; 011-39-055-21-0387; lacitelibreria.info; affordable books & coffee, live music & tango lessons.
●Lorenzo Villoresi – 14 Via dei Bardi; 011-39-055-234-1187; lorenzovilloresi.it; handmade perfumes; notable creations include: (1) Piper Nigrum (spice route-African markets); (2) Dilmun (Mesopotamian sun-citrus fruits; (3) Teinte de Neige (Belle Epoque scent of perfumed powders, like talc); (4) Yerbamate (grass-wild flowers, tea-mate); & (5) Alamut (oriental-style perfume characterized by warm notes-precious flowers, on rich base exotic woods).
●Luisa Via Roma – 24 Via Roma; 011-39-055-21-7826; luisaviaroma.com; Florence’s version of Jeffrey, but with fewer shoes & more leopard prints; coolest multi-designer shop in Florence.
●Mall – about 30 minutes south of Florence, off A1 (autostrada), headed to Rome; exit is Incisa & signs from there; outlets include Gucci, Loro Piana, McQueen, Pucci, Tod’s, Valentino, etc.
●Moleria Locchi – 10 Via Burchiello Domenico; 011-39-055-229-8371; cut glass & antiques.
●Gianfranco Pampaloni – 99 Via Porta Rossa; 011-39-055-289-094; pampaloni.com; fussy, modern silverware.
●Parenti – 93 Via Tornabuoni; 011-39-055-21-4438; 19th Century silver jewelry store.
●Il Parione Cartoleria – 10 Via delle Parione; 011-39-055-21-5684; parione.it; Florentine stationery, particularly diaries, notebooks & photo albums; almost artworks.
●Pineider – 13/14r Piazza della Signoria; 011-39-055-284-655; pineider.com; hidden in plain sight on piazza’s edge; specializes in handmade Florentine paper & fine leather goods; in business since 1774.
●Ricardo Barthel – 234r Via dei Serragli; 011-39-055-22-1118; riccardobarthel.it; home furnishings.
●Lo Spillo – 72r Borgo San Jacopo; 011-39-055-29-3126; so small can only hold 1 customer at time; most precious antique jewelry shop in Florence.
●Il Torchio – 17 Via dei Bardi; 011-39-055-234-2862; books & gifts made of handmade paper.
SIGHTS & SITES
●Marchesi Antinori Chianti Classico Cellar – 133 Via Cassia (Bargino, San Casciano Val di Pesa); 011-39-055-235-9700; antinorichianticlassico.it; vineyard-winery featuring Michelin-starred chef & also bookstore, museum & tasting room; amazing architecture (modern) worth specialtrip alone.
●Baptistry of San Giovanni – Piazza del Duomo; 011-39-055-230-2885; operaduomo.firenze.it; has minor basilica status; octagonal baptistery standing in both Piazza del Duomo & Piazza di San Giovanni, across from Florence Cathedral & Campanile di Giotto; among oldest buildings in city, constructed 1059-1128; Florentine Romanesque style; renowned for 3 sets artistically important bronze doors with relief sculptures; south doors by Andrea Pisano & north & east doors by Lorenzo Ghiberti.
●Bargello Museum – 4 Via del Proconsolo; 011-39-055-238-8606; polomuseale.firenze.it; also known as Bargello Palace, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, or Palazzo del Popolo; former barracks & prison; during Italian Middle Ages, name given to military captain in charge of keeping justice & peace during riots & uproars; in Florence, usually hired from foreign city to prevent favoritism by Captain; construction began in 1255; oldest public building in Florence; executions took place in yard until abolished in 1786; Florentine police headquarters until 1859; then became national museum; displays largest Italian collection of gothic-Renaissance sculptures (14-17th Centuries); houses masterpieces by Michelangelo (e.g., Bacchus, Pitti Tondo (Madonna & Child), Brutus & David-Apollo; also includes Donatello’s David & St. George Tabernacle, Vincenzo Gemito’s Pescatore, Jacopo Sansovino’s Bacco, Giambologna’s L’Architettura & Mercurio, as well as many works from Della Robbia family; Benvenuto Cellini’s bronze bust of Cosimo I; ceramics (maiolica), textile, tapestries, ivory, silver, armor & old coins; also competing designs for Isaac’s Sacrifice (Sacrificio di Isacco) for Florentine Baptistry’s 2nd doors (1401).
●Basilica di San Miniato al Monte – 34 Via del Monte alle Croci (at Viale Galileo Galilei Piazzale Michelangelo); 011-39-055-234-2731; elaborate mosaic facade best seen at sunset, with spectacular city views.
●Basilica di Santa Croce – 16 Piazza Santa Croce; 011-39-055-24-4619; vast church; 16 chapels, many decorated with frescoes by Giotto & pupils & its funerary monuments.
●Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo) – Piazza del Duomo; 011-39-055-230-2885; duomofirenze.it/index-eng.htm; UNESCO World Heritage Site component; built from September 1296 & consecrated by Pope Eugenius IV in 1436; 4th largest church in Europe; dome designed by architect Filippo Brunelleschi; climb its 463 steps for incredible views; inside dome decorated with fresco (Last Judgement), initially painted by Vasari & later finished by Zuccari; adjoining is octagonal Baptistry, among city’s oldest structures & possibly dating back as far as 4th Century, famous for bronze doors by Ghiberti; Campanile di Giotto.
●Basilica di Santa Maria Novella – Piazza Santa Maria Novella; 011-39-055-28-2187; chiesasantamarianovella.it; 1st great basilica in Florence; principal Dominican church in city; church, adjoining cloister & chapter-house contain art treasures & funerary monuments; especially famous are frescoes by Gothic & early Renaissance masters.
●Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana – 9 Piazza San Lorenzo; 011-39-055-21-0760; bml.firenze.sbn.it; beautiful building near cloister of San Lorenzo.
●Boboli Gardens & Museum – 1 Piazza Pitti; 011-39-055-265-1838; museumsinflorence.com/musei/boboli_garden.html.
●Brancacci Capella – 14 Piazza del Carmine (Santa Maria del Carmine church); 011-39-055-238-2195; frescoes by Masaccio & Masolino.
●Cantieri Goldonetta Firenze (Cango) – 23-25 Via Santa Maria; 011-39-055-228-0525; cango.fi.it; modern dance space; some art exhibitions.
●Casa Buonarroti – 70 Via Ghibellina; 011-39-055-241-752; casabuonarroti.it; museum in property once owned by (but never occupied by) sculptor Michelangelo, which he left to his nephew, Lionardo Buonarroti; house converted into museum dedicated to artist by his great nephew, Michelangelo Buonarroti (Younger); collections include 2 early sculptures, Madonna of Steps & Battle of Centaurs; 10K volume library has accumulated over centuries.
●Castello di Nipozzano – Pelago; 011-39-055-27141 (appointments); frescobaldi.it; vineyard in hills east of Florence; wine tasting; beautiful & romantic.
●Cenacolo Andrea del Sarto – 16 Via di San Salvi; 011-39-055-238-8603; uffizi.firenze.it; occupies ancient Vallombrosani convent entitled to San Salvi; name derives from large fresco representing Ultima Cena, situated in refectory; considered among most important Rinascimento paintings; in large rooms are important paintings by Pontormo, Andrea del Sarto, Giuliano Bugiardini, Raffaellino del Garbo, Franciabigio & Bachiacca.
●Cenacolo del Fuligno – 42 Via Faenza; 011-39-055-286-982; polomuseale.firenze.it; in 1845 workers in ex-convent uncovered huge, intact Last Supper fresco; generally believed to be work of Perugino, though completed largely by his students; dining apostles are set against sylvan country scene.
●Cenacolo di Sant’Apollonia – 1 Via 27 Aprile; 011-39-055-238-8607; museumsinflorence.com/musei/santa_apollonia_.html; 1st Renaissance refectory in Florence; created around 1445; entire wall covered with Castagno cenacolo.
●Certosa di Galluzzo – 1 Via della Buca di Certosa (Galluzzo); 011-39-055-204-9226; cistercensi.info/certosadifirenze; charterhouse, or Carthusian monastery; walled complex located on Monte Acuto, where Ema & Greve Rivers meet; founded in 1341 by Florentine noble Niccolò Acciaioli, Grand Seneschal of Naples; holds lunettes from cloister, frescoed by Pontormo, damaged by exposure.
●Chiesa & Museo di Ognissanti – 42 Borgo Ognissanti; 011-39-055-239-6802 or 011-39-055-239-8700; chiesaognissanti.it; Ghirlandaio’s cenacolo, Last Supper; also, newly-restored Giotto crucifix.
●Chiesa San Lorenzo – Piazza di San Lorenzo; 011-39-055-210-760; originally consecrated in 393; in 1419, Medicis commissioned Filippo Brunelleschi to rebuild it; vast ornate structure lined with chapels; inside, brimming with architectural features, such as Biblioteca Staircase (Michelangelo) & sculptures (Donatello); most famous aspect is Cappelle Medicee, containing Cappella del Principi, family’s mausoleum.
●Chiesa di Santa Felicita – 3 Piazza Santa Felicita; 011-39-055-21-3018; moving painting by Pontormo, Christ’s Deposition.
●Chiesa di Piazza Santo Spirito – 29 Piazza Santo Spirito; 011-39-055-23330; Brunelleschi church.
●Chiostro dello Scalzo – 69 Via Cavour; 011-39-055-238-8604; polomuseale.firenze.it/musei/?m=chiostroscalzo; in quiet, undiscovered corner; tiny, luminous space, steps away from Piazza San Marco, contains one of Mannerist period masterpiece, grisaille (greyscale) fresco series (1509-26) by Andrea del Sarto & Franciabigio, representing life of Saint John.
●Cinema Odeon Cinehall – 1 Via Sassetti; 011-39-055-21-4068; English language films.
●Collezione Contini Bonacossi – 6 Via Lambertesca; 011-39-055-294-883; polomuseale.firenze.it/en/musei/?m=continibonacossi; donated by Count Alessandro Contini Bonacossi in 1969, 144-piece collection contains seminal paintings, sculptures & ceramics from medieval-Renaissance periods; scandalously, since 1998 in usually closed Uffizi section; pieces include marble sculpture of San Lorenzo by Bernini & paintings by Paolo Veronese, Tintoretto, Goya, Velázquez & El Greco; outstanding picture by Il Sassetta depicts rare August snowfall in 1352 in Rome; hire private English-speaking guide from Città Nascosta.
●Complesso di San Firenze – 5 Piazza San Firenze; access with Firenze Card; difficult to visit because, as it is Florence judicial center, now full of law offices; fine example Baroque architecture; if you can get into church (San Filippo Neri), beautiful Baroque interior with some of best artwork from Florence from 18-19th Centuries.
●Convento di San Marco – 56 Via Cavour Camillo Benso; 011-39-055-267-6949; cells have paintings by Fra Angelico.
●Fattoria & Villa di Maiano – 11 Via Benedetto da Maiano and 1 Via del Salviatino (Maiano, Fiesole); 011-39-055-599-600; fattoriadimaiano.com/en; villa dates to 15th Century as Florentine Alessandri family property, then that of Pazzi & Tolomei families; most famous owner was Sir John Temple Leader, who bought entire property in 1850; Temple Leader restored villa, adding ballroom, large, Renaissance-style tower & large romantic park; great view over Florence; filming location for Room with View; today Corsini family property, museum & wedding location; Fattoria di Maiano is farmhouse, where famous extra virgin olive oil manufactured.
●Forte dei Marmi – like Hamptons but with more flash; see more jewels on that beach than you see on Oscars red carpet; everyone has Lamborghinis.
●Florence Archaeological Museum – 36 Via della Colonna; 011-39-055-23575; firenzemusei.it; diverse antiquities collection; comprehensive Etruscan collection, including Chimera of Arezzo statue dating back to 400 BC.
●Fondazione Roberto Longhi – 30 Via Benedetto Fortini; 011-39-055-658-0794; fondazionelonghi.it/fondazione/index.php?lang=eng; note, see Caravaggio’s Boy Peeling Fruit (1592, earliest known work) & Boy Bitten by Lizard (1600).
●Fondazione Salvatore Romano – 29 Piazza di Santo Spirito; 011-39-055-287-043; museicivicifiorentini.it/romano; donated by collector-antiquarian Salvatore Romano.
●Fondazione Scienza & Tecnica – 29 Via Giuseppe Giusti; 011-39-055-234-1157; fstfirenze.it; established in 1987 from Istituto Tecnico Toscano collection; scientific & technical instruments & machinery, relics from 19th Century.
●Frescobaldi Palazzo Gardens – email@example.com; privately owned & available by reserved tour only; in Santo Spirito district.
●Galleria dell’Accademia – 58-60 Via Ricasoli; 011-39-055-238-8609; polomuseale.firenze.it/musei/?m=accademia; Michelangelo’s David (and 4 unfinished “slave statues”).
●Galleria del Costume – 1 Piazza Pitti (at Palazzo Pitti); 011-39-055-238-8801; polomuseale.firenze.it/english/musei/palazzopitti; incredible collection of fashion pieces & designer gifts; also, historical exhibits.
●Giardino dei Semplici – 3 Via Pier Micheli; 011-39-055-275-7402; unifi.it; also known as Orto Botanico di Firenze; world’s 3rd oldest medicinal garden.
●Giardino Torrigiani – 146 Via de Serragli; 011-39-05-522-5115; private garden available by appointment.
●Giardino della Villa Medicea di Castello – 47 Via di Castello; 011-39-055-452-691; polomuseale.firenze.it/en/musei/?m=villacastello; among 1st villas outside Florence owned by Medici, dating back to 1477; among favorite residences of Cosimo I, who took special interest in garden; in 1538, garden planned according to complex symbolic design; villa itself not open to public, but visitors may enjoy splendid garden; particularly fascinating is Grotto, with animals carved in different types of stone.
●Lucca – best non-touristy town in Tuscany; free summer concerts where can see big names like Buena Vista Social Club in piazza under stars with 200 people while having pre-dinner cocktails.
●Medici Chapels – 6 Piazza di Madonna degli Aldobrandini; 011-39-055-238-8602; cappellemedicee.it; 2 structures at Basilica of San Lorenzo, dating from 16-17th Centuries; built as extensions to Brunelleschi’s 15th Century church; Sagrestia Nuova (“New Sacristy”) designed by Michelangelo; larger, Cappella dei Principi (“Chapel of Princes”), though proposed in 16th Century, not begun until early 17th Century.
●Mercato Centrale di San Lorenzo – Piazzale del Mercato Centrale; 011-39-055-210-214; comune.fi.it; public market.
●Museo Stefano Bardini – 37 Via dei Renai; 011-39-055-234-2427; museicivicifiorentini.comune.fi.it; creator, Stefano Bardini (1854-1922), was most authoritative Italian antiquarian, who, after years of intense business activity, transformed collection into museum & donated to Florence; palazzo where museum housed bought & renovated by Bardini himself in 1881 so he could carry out his antique business.
●Museo del Bigallo – Piazza del Duomo (opposite Baptistry); 011-39-055-215-440; earliest depiction 14th Century Florence is fresco housed here; fresco in question is La Madonna della Misericordia by Bernardo Daddi (1342).
●Museo del Calcio – 20 Viale Aldo Palazzeschi; 011-39-055-600-526; museodelcalcio.it; museum, open since 2000, dedicated to soccer; 3 floors memorabilia of national soccer team, dating back to 1904; worth special trip just to see fascist memorabilia.
●Museo Casa di Dante – 1 Via Santa Margherita; 011-39-055-218-402; museocasadidante.it; tiny & dedicated to Dante.
●Museo di Casa Martelli – 8 Via Ferdinando Zannetti; 011-39-055-216-725; uffizi.firenze.it; wealthy Martelli family, long associated with Medici, lived, from 16th Century, on this quiet street near Basilica of San Lorenzo; last Martelli died in 1986 & in October 2009 casa-museo opened to public; only non-reconstructed example of such house in all Florence & for that reason alone worth visit; works by Beccafumi, Salvatore Rosa & Piero di Cosimo adorn walls; reservations essential & can arrange well-informed, English-speaking guides.
●Museo Dell’Opera del di Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo) – 9 Piazza del Duomo; 011-39-055-230-2885; operaduomo.firenze.it; Michelangelo’s Pieta Bandini & Donatello’s Penitent Magdalene; make sure to see Campanile di Giotto.
●Museo Galileo – 1 Piazza dei Giudici; 011-39-055-265-311; museogalileo.it; beautifully engraved, intricate mechanical instruments from original Medici collections (begun by Cosimo I); mechanical calculator from 1664; compass & plumb disguised as dagger, complete with sheath; lens with which Galileo discovered 4 Jupiter moons (which he prudently named after his Medici patrons).
●Museo Gucci – 10 Piazza della Signoria; 011-39-055-759-233-027 or 011-39-055-7592-3300; gucci.com/us/worldofgucci/mosaic/the_house_of_gucci/gucci_museo.
●Museo Horne – 6 Via dè Benci; 011-39-055-244-661; museohorne.it; Englishman Herbert Percy Horne collection; paintings by marquee artists, including Pietro Lorenzetti, Simone Martini & Filippino Lippi; in 15th Century palazzo designed by Cronaca; collections are left, unlabeled, as Horne arranged them; idea was to re-create as faithfully as possible wealthy Renaissance home atmosphere & layout; best works are St. Stephen by Giotto & Holy Family tondo by Sienese Mannerist Domenico Beccafumi.
●Museo Marino Marini – Piazza San Pancrazio; 011-39-055-219-432; museomarinomarini.it; deconsecrated in 19th Century, Chiesa di San Pancrazio is home to this small art museum displaying sculptures, portraits & drawings by Pistoia-born sculptor Marino Marini (1901-1980); what really stuns is superbly restored Cappella Rucellai & tiny scale copy of Christo’s Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem (Renaissance gem by Leon Battista Alberti); chapel built between 1458-1467 for wealthy Florentine banker & wool merchant, Giovanni Ruccellai; restored & unveiled with much pomp & ceremony in 2013.
●Museo dell’Opificio delle Pietre Dure – 78 Via degli Alfani; 011-39-055-265-1357; opificiodellepietredure.it; adjacent to this fascinating small museum is opificio or workshop Ferdinand I established in 1588 to train craftsmen in precious & semiprecious stonework (pietre dure means “hard stones”); includes some magnificent late Renaissance examples of this highly specialized & beautiful craft.
●Museo di Palazzo Davanzati – 13 Via Porta Rossa; 011-39-055-238-8610; polomuseale.firenze.it/musei/?m=davanzati; among most beautiful & best conserved of 14th Century; built halfway though 14th Century by Davizzi family & passed over to Davanzati at beginning of 16th Century, where remained until 1838; temporarily closed for renovation, but it is possible for groups to access 2nd floor upon request.
●Museo Stibbert – 26 Via Federico Stibbert; 011-39-055-486-049; museostibbert.it; located on Montughi hill; contains over 36K artifacts, including vast armor collection from Eastern & Western civilizations.
●Museum of Natural History (Anthropology & Ethnology Sections) – 12 Via del Proconsolo; 011-39-055-239-6449; .msn.unifi.it/mdswitch.html.
●Museum of Natural History (Botany, Geology, Mineralogy & Paleontology Sections) – 4 Via Giorgio la Pira; 011-39-055-275-7537; msn.unifi.it/mdswitch.html.
●Museo Zoologico La Specola – 17 Via Romana; 011-39-055-22-88251; msn.unifi.it; huge taxidermy collection.
●Museo & Istituto Fiorentino di Preistoria Paolo Graziosi – 21 Via Sant’Egidio; 011-39-055-295-159; museofiorentinopreistoria.it; history of human race from Stone Age through to Metal Age.
●Oltrarno – “beyond Arno”; neighborhood known for artisan shops.
●Oricellari Gardens – 9 Via Orti Oricellari; 011-39-055-23-9807 or 011-39-055-211-638; by appointment only, after written request to Cassa di Risparmio di Pisa, Via della Scala, 85, 50123 Florence (att’n: Director); villa erected in late 15th Century on Nannina de’ Medici’s (Lorenzo il Magnifico’s sister) & her husband, Bernardo Rucellai’s, property; set amid Giardino degli Orti Oricellari (or Rucellai Gardens), hosted Plato Academy & attracted such personalities as Niccolo Machiavelli, Jacopo Nardi & Pope Leo X; layout enhanced by highly theatrical effect culminating in huge Polyphemus figure drinking from wineskin, sculpted by Antonio Novelli; Garden Grotto, also by Novelli, is cave decorated with sponges & statues in dynamic poses & representing winds; grotto consists of 2 communicating chambers, 1st elliptical in shape, 2nd regularly shaped with nymph frescoes.
●Orsanmichele Museum – Via dell’Arte della Lana; 011-39-055-284-944; orsanmichele.net; looks more like Gothic warehouse than church (which is exactly what it was, built as granary/grain market in 1337); after miraculous Madonna image appeared on column inside, lower level turned into chapel); city’s merchant guilds each undertook decorating one outside nichelike Gothic tabernacle with their patron saint’s statue; masters such as Donatello, Ghiberti, Giambologna & Verrocchio all carved-cast masterpieces here; across Via dell’Arte della Lana from Orsanmichele’s main entrance is 1308 Palazzo dell’Arte della Lana; this Gothic palace was home to wool merchants’ guild, which employed about 1/3 13th-14th Century Florence; 8 original guild sculptures here, including Donatello’s marble St. Mark (1411-13), Ghiberti’s bronze St. John Baptist (1413-16, 1st life-size Renaissance bronze) & Verrocchio’s Incredulity of St. Thomas (1473-83).
●Palazzo Corsini Suarez – 42r Via Maggio; 011-39-055-29-0131 or 529-0132; frescoes.
●Palazzo Medici-Riccardi – 1 Via Cavour; 011-39-055-276-0340; palazzo-medici.it; see Gozzoli’s Cavalcade of the Magi in tiny chapel.
●Palazzo Pitti – 1 Piazza Pitti; 011-39-055-23-885 or 011-39-055-238-8709 (Museo degli Argenti); polomuseale.firenze.it/english/musei/palazzopitti; numerous museums, including Museum of Modern Art, Porcelain Museum, Silver Museum & ornately frescoed 17th Century Royal Apartments; main feature, however, is Palatine Gallery, which contains works by artists such as Caravaggio (Portrait of Fra Antionio Martelli (1608), Sleeping Cupid (1608) & Tooth Puller (1609, attributed)) & Raphael; also important are Museo degli Argenti (located in Summer Apartments on Pitti Palace ground & mezzanine floors, housing important Medici Treasures) & Museo delle Porcellane.
●Palazzo Strozzi – Piazza degli Strozzi; 011-39-055-277-6406; palazzostrozzi.org; home to Center for Contemporary Culture Strozzina.
●Palazzo Vecchio – Piazza della Signoria; 011-39-055-276-8325; UNESCO World Heritage Site component; iconic 14th Century palace; since completed in 1322, has served as city’s governing body’s seat; renovated in 1540, under Duke Cosimo I’s authority, with frescoes by Vasari; also contains Michelangelo statue, Victory; artwork & sculptures by artists such as Bronzino, Donatello & Michelangelo; make sure to visit Maps Room; location (Piazza della Signoria) interesting, not only because of fountains & statues (such as 16th Century Fontana do Nettuno, but also because Girolamo Savonarola’s execution site; has “secret rooms” to explore, although must be booked in advance.
●Parco delle Cascine – Piazzale delle Cascine (Viale degli Olmi); 011-29-055-055-055 (general municipal information); parcodellecascine.comune.fi.it; Florence’s largest park; dotted with playgrounds; in summer, can use Le Pavoniere swimming pool; Medici dukes made this private hunting reserve, but Peter Leopold opened it to public in 1776, with boulevards, fountains & bird sanctuaries (now swimming pool); in late 19th Century, horse racing began here; Queen Victoria would toddle along to Cascine during her stays; at extreme west end is monument to Rajaram Cuttiputti, Indian maharajah who, while holidaying in Florence in 1870, came down with gastro-enteritis & died; his retinue was surprisingly granted permission to cremate him by river & 4 years later memorial & statue designed by British artisans in his honor.
●Parco di Villa Demidoff – Via Bolognese; 011-39-055-40-9427; gorgeous; now belongs to Florence Province; venue for cultural shows & exhibitions; open March-October; fine sculptures; book free guided tour through Centro Guido Tourismo (above); make sure to see Apennine Colossus, among most impressive statuary pieces in Florence.
●San Gimignano – beautiful feudal city with Gallery Continua, among best contemporary-art galleries in Europe; strange location for modern art; worth visit.
●San Niccolo Tower – 1 Piazza Piave; 011-39-055-234-5287; sanniccolo.it; recently reopened; has among best city panorama views.
●Scuola di Guerra Aerea-Scuola di Applicazione A.M. – 14 Viale Dell’Aeronautica (Le Cascine); 011-39-055-27041; aeronautica.difesa.it/douhet/Pagine/default.aspx; inside is arboretum.
●Spazi Urbani Contemporanei (Le Murate) – Piazza Madonna delle Neve; 011-39-055-287360; lemurate.comune.fi.it; for emerging Italian artists’ work.
●Spazio Arti e Mestieri (SAM) – 20 Via Giano della Bella; 011-39-055-232-2269; spaziosam.it; avant garde art space.
●Spedale degli Innocenti – 12 Piazza Santissima Annunziata; 011-055-203-711; istitutodeglinnocenti.it; “Hospital of Innocents,” orphanage; Filippo Brunelleschi designed in 1419; notable example early Italian Renaissance architecture with 9-bay loggia facing Piazza Santissima Annunziata; built & managed by Florence Silk Guild (city’s wealthiest); re bays, 9 semicircular arches spring from Composite order columns; these semicircular windows bring building down, earthbound in classical style revival (no longer pointed arch); above each semicircular arch, tabernacle window (triangular pediment atop rectangular window); columns’ height is same as intercolumniation width; arcade width equals column height, making each bay cube; also half column height is entablature height; this simple proportionate design reflects new age (secular education imposing great clarity & order); in arches’ spandrels, glazed blue terracotta roundels (tondi) with baby reliefs by Andrea della Robbia; children sometimes abandoned in basin located at front portico; in 1660, basin removed & replaced by wheel for secret refuge (door with special rotating horizontal wheel that brought baby into building without parent being seen), which system in operation until hospital’s closure in 1875; now, small Renaissance art museum.
●Tempio Maggiore – 4-6 Via Luigi Carlo Farini; 011-39-055-234-6654; synagogue built between 1874-1882; reflects both Italian & Moorish architectural traditions; both museum & synagogue.
●Torrigiani Gardens – 144 Via de’Serragli; 011-39-055-22-4527; largest private garden in Florence; contains portions of original Medici walls; by appointment only.
●Uffizi Gallery – Piazzale degli Uffizi; 011-39-055-238-8651; uffizi.com; artworks, such as those by Michelangelo, Caravaggio (Bacchus (1596), Medusa (1597) & Sacrifice of Isaac (1602)), Da Vinci, Giotto & Titian.
●Vasari Corridor (Corridoio Vasariano) – PIazzale degli Uffizi; museumsinflorence.com/musei/corridoio_vasariano.html; can arrange tours of portions; elevated enclosed passageway connecting Palazzos Pitti & Vecchio; begins on Palazzo Vecchio’s south side, then joins Uffizi Gallery, leaves on its south side, crosses Lungarno dei Archibusieri, then follows Arno River’s north bank until crosses Ponte Vecchio; during original construction, Torre dei Mannelli had to be built around using brackets because owners refused to alter; corridor covers up Chiesa di Santa Felicità facade portion; then snakes over house rows in Oltrarno district, becoming narrower, to finally join Palazzo Pitti; mostly closed to visitors; make sure to see Torre di Arnolfo (Firenze Card gains access).
●Villa Corsini a Castello – 38 Via della Petraia; 011-390055-450-752; polomuseale.firenze.it/en/musei/?m=villacorsini; purchased in 1697 by Counsellor to Grand Duke Cosimo III de’ Medici, Filippo Corsini, on account of its closeness to Medici villa of La Petraia; Corsini entrusted renovation to Giovan Battista Foggini (1652-1725); in 1968 donated to Italian State by Galliano Boldrini; since late 1980s has housed archaeological exhibits belonging to Tuscan Archaeological Superintendency; particularly striking are Emperor Hadrian porphyry statue (unique of its kind) & that of Peplophoros from Palazzo Cepparello, splendid Roman replica of Greek original from 5th Century BCE; set along courtyard walls are numerous Etruscan sarcophagi in nenfro (volcanic rock) from Tuscania.
●Villa Medicea di Cerreto Guidi e Museo Storico della Caccia e del Territorio – 12 Via Ponti Medicei; 011-39-057-155-707; uffizi.firenze.it/musei/?m=cerretoguidi; constructed on orders of Cosimo I between 1565-67; part of project that also involved Buontalenti, who constructed massive staircases that rise to villa top, giving it almost fortified appearance; tempestuous history; Isabella de’ Medici killed here by her husband, who suspected her of infidelity; during WWII used for military purposes; furnished with period furniture & decorated with Medici portraits.
●Villa Medicea della Petraia – 40 Via della Petraia; 011-39-055-452-691; firenzemusei.it; among most attractive Medici villas, both on account of position in Tuscan landscape & for its fine pictorial decoration, including garden & park; on city outskirts; originally ancient fortified residence, which preserves its great tower.
●Villa Medicea di Poggio a Caiano – 14 Piazza dei Medici (Poggio a Caiano); 011-39-055-877-012; museumsinflorence.com/musei/villa-poggio-a-caiano.html; among most interesting building projects of early Renaissance; begun in 1485 by Lorenzo Magnificent who chose Giuliano da Sangallo (1445-1516) to carry out plan; of particular interest is small entrance pronaos on 1st floor, with its pillars with wide intercolumniations & glazed terracotta frieze; adheres to tuscanicae dispositiones ideas, as set forth by Vitruvius in 1st Century BCE; other noteworthy features are found in large central hall (recalling oecus of Roman villas) & in open loggia on ground floor (running along all 4 sides of building); when Lorenzo died (1492), villa incomplete; wasn’t until 1512 that construction began again, this time according to Pope Leo X’s orders; central hall is decorated with frescos carried out between 1519-21, according to Pope Leo X’s (Lorenzo Magnificent son) wishes; executed by Pontormo (1494-1556), Andrea del Sarto (1486-1531) & Franciabigio.
●Villa dell’Ombrellino – 11 Piazza di Bellosguardo (Bellosguardo); 011-39-055-233-5492 or 011-39-055-233-5453; villadellombrellino.it; villa, origins date to 1372; has hosted numerous illustrious personalities, including Galileo Galilei & Ugo Foscolo; in 1815 Contessa Spinelli embellished garden with metal ombrellino (“parasol”), from which villa takes name; passed into Edward VII’s mistress, Alice Keppel’s hands in early 20th Century; architect Cecil Pinsent redesigned garden portion as giardino all’italiana in 1926; houses a conference center.
●Villa I Tatti – 26 Via di Vincigliata; 011-39-055-60-3251; formerly, Bernard Berenson’s residence, now Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies; located in Settignano Hills.
●Villa La Pietra – 120 Via Bolognese; 011-39-055-500-7210 or 800-361-1108; nyu.edu/lapietra; formerly, Harold Acton’s home, now New York University property.