Florence contains some of the most magnificent pieces of art and architecture. There is the Duomo, Santa Croce, Piazza della Signoria with the Palazzo Vecchio. So many works of art are located in the Uffizi Gallery and the Galleria dell’Accademia. I know that the main attractions bring millions of people every year to this Renaissance city but what about the secret streets that hide the most special of all the attractions. Shall we talk about those now?
These parts are never visited by the big tour groups, you must venture off the beaten path to find them. These are among the many hidden gems of Florence that are still hiding down a small alley.
Mercato di Sant’ Ambrogio is located in Piazza Ghiberti and is open from 7am-2pm every day except Sunday. I have had such a great experience in this mercato. The fresh flowers, Italian banter and all the delicious, glistening fruits and vegetables bathing in the sunshine. Walking into the market, which was built in 1860’s, you will find market explode with sounds of dishes clattering from one of the many restaurants. Meat, cheese, wine, fresh herbs, you name it, you can smell it. A smaller market can be easier to find things as well as more space for stands full of hand-me-down clothes, kitchen supplies and knick-knacks.
Santi Apostoli was first brought to my attention in 2002, when I was on a walking tour of Florence with my art and architecture teacher. She expressed how important this little church was to her and to Florence. I became intrigued with visiting it whenever I could. It seemed to have casted a spell on me. It was built in the 11th century and it is one of the oldest churches in Florence. There is a Latin expression on the left side of the church that reads the founder of Santi Apostoli was Charlemagne in the year 800, who knows for sure when this church first appeared. Santi Apostoli was severely damaged by the flood of 1966 being near the river Arno.
Casa di Dante is located between S. Martino and Piazza dei Donati which is where the Alighieri family resided. The original home of Dante was demolished in 1900 to make way for the museum that stands there today remembering one of the most famous Florentines. Casa di Dante was reopened to the public in June 1994 after renovation. The museum is arranged with three floors that represent poignant moments in his life.
Check out the Hidden Gems Guide on Nile Guide Florence Destination.