Four days in Florence is not much, there are so many things to see and do, so just relax and have a great time !
Here’s what we managed to do :
Thursday 11:00 am : Arriving at the airport there’s a shuttle bus to the city center every half an hour or so. It takes you to the Santa Maria Novella train station. Since we only had a light hand luggage we took a nice stroll through Via Tornabuoni to our hotel at the Arno banks.
Our hotel, La Tana dei Leoni was a great find. We had a big beautiful room with two big windows facing the river and the Ponte Vecchio which was a few steps away ! Just perfect !
We were greeted by Francesco, our host, a very nice and smart person who made a lot of useful suggestions about where to go and what to do. After settling in our room we got ready to immerse ourselves in the city’s charms.
14:00 o’clock and time to cross the Ponte Vecchio to the Oltrarno and Palazzo Pitti, our goal was not to visit the Palazzo ( mile long queues, better get a reservation online ), so we headed towards the Santo Spirito area and the nearby Capella Brancacci. There are far less crowds here and at the Piazza del Carmine you’ll find the Santa Maria Del Carmine church, part of which is the Capella Brancacci with the famous frescoes by Masolino and Masaccio.
17:00 o’clock and back to Santo Spirito to visit the beautiful church which is designed by Brunelleschi and full of precious works of art, and best of all there’s no entrance fee to this jewel !
After the visit it was time to relax for a while at this beautiful and vibrant square .
20:00 o’clock Back to our hotel to freshen up and it’s time for dinner; following our host’s suggestion we visited the Osteria da Ganino close to the Piazza Della Signoria, which we liked so much that we didn’t go to any other place for dinner during our stay ( lunch is another story ).
Friday morning : Santa Croce is called not only one of the most important churches in Florence but also the historic working class neighborhood around it. It’s worth walking around before or after visiting the church as its a really attractive place. Santa Croce hosts masterpieces by Giotto, Cimabue, Brunelleschi and so many other great artists, it also hosts the burial monuments of many famous personalities like Machiavelli, Galileo, Michelangelo to name just a few …
Very close to Santa Croce on Via Ghibellina there’s another very important place to visit : Michelangelo’ s house with a few of the early works of the grand master.
Friday noon- afternoon : Time for some shopping and a little snack and the San Lorenzo market is a great place for both.
Friday evening so many little wine bars and so little time !
Saturday morning : time for a little more shopping , where to start ? First we check the Sant Ambrogio market and the area around it. Lots of food, cheap clothes and more. Then back towards the center; in Borgo degli Albizi there’s a great shop : Maestri di Fabrica , for some gifts by Italian artisans or even for a good buffet lunch. Another special shop to visit is the Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella.
Saturday afternoon: time for a daily dose of art, and since the old masters are here to stay, let’s visit Palazzo Strozzi and get to know the work of a great artists of our times : Bill Viola will be in dialogue with the masterpieces of the Renaissance until July .
The last of our four days in Florence was Sunday and Sunday in Florence can be a little tricky , specially if you’re on a strict schedule , some museums are closed , most of the churches are helding a holy mess , so they are not available for a visit, so be prepared !
Mid-morning we are heading to San Lorenzo but it was only open for the prayers until noon, so we left and went in via Calzaiuolli where we combined some last minute shopping and a visit at Orsanmichele.
We can’t leave Florence without visiting the Duomo with the famous cupola by Brunelleschi.
After that we wanted to pay our respects to Dante by visiting a very special little church, Santa Margheritta dei Cerchi, where he was supposed to have been married to his wife Gema but most importantly to have met the love of his life the famous Beatrice. Unfortunately the little church was closed too.
So since there was not much time left we just had a farewell lunch at the Gatto e la Volpe close-by
Our visit in Florence was very short but we’ve been here before and we certainly will be back …
The great Dante could never return to his hometown, he died in exile and is buried in Ravenna, he lost forever his beloved Beatrice, who died very young at the age of 24 . But found them both again in his poetry, another great way to travel ! Always.
Ma gia volgeva il mio disio e il veile ,
Si come rota ch ugualmente e mossa
L’ amor che muove il sole e l ‘altre stelle .
( Dante , LA DIVINA COMEDIA )