Mercato Sant’ Ambrogio—
Why is it awesome? Well, this market is not near the Duomo, this is why no one knows exactly where it is. It is located in Piazza Ghiberti. This mercato(market) has much more to offer than the Mercato Centrale. Tourist flock to this market since it is located in San Lorenzo, very central. Sant’ Ambrogio is more open and along the outside lies fruit and vegetable vendors, cheese and prosciutto sellers and the man that sells homemade soap and eggs from his own chickens.
Why is it unknown? It isn’t as unknown but it is just not mentioned a lot in the typical guides. Which is great since it is kept a secret.
Who wouldn’t like it? No one, there is a little bit of everything for everybody.
Why is it awesome? It surprises you since it is hidden right down from Ponte Vecchio. This church has survived a terrible flood, numerous fires, was several times restored and has still remained through all these years. Said to be founded in 805 by Charlemagne, in this exact area beside the Arno, outside the Roman city of Florentia along the Via Cassia, was a church already dedicated to the holy apostles mentioned in documents from the 11th century. SS. Apostoli has suffered in many ways to remain one of the most delicate pieces of Florence’s history.
Why is it unknown? This church is located on Borgo SS. Apostoli, you would think it would be easy to find. There isn’t a big fanfare for this church and also it really isn’t mentioned in many guidebooks(which is a plus).
Who wouldn’t like it? Unless you particular don’t like silence, you will love it.
Le Volpe e l’Uva—
Why is it awesome? This is an enoteca(wine bar) that is settled in a little crevice on the Oltrarno, near Piazza Pitti. They have a little menu of crostini, crostone, vegetable, cheese and meat plates as well. Their wine list is small but full of flavor authenticity.
Why is it unknown? It is so small to be seen from the street. I never even seen this place publicized, only by word of mouth. Your welcome!
Who wouldn’t like it? If you don’t like wine, cheese, crostini, then this isn’t the place for you. But why wouldn’t you?
Why is it awesome? This is the residence of one of the famous families of Florence that still run a successful business of wine producing. This palace with 50 rooms is just a short walk from the Arno River. Located on Via Tornabuoni, this building was bought by Niccolo` Antinori for 4,000 florins(currency of gold coin struck in 1253). It has been the home and offices of the Marchesi Antinori since 1506. Cantinetta Antinori opened on the ground floor of the Palazzo in 1957. It is a wine bar which is inspired by the medieval cellars where the noble Florentine families sell their wines and the products of their estates. You are welcome to visit this traditional wine bar and experience the specialities of Tuscan cuisine and wine.
Why is it unknown? Cantinetta Antinori is not for the frugal traveler. Their prices are quite high since they are of noble blood.
Who wouldn’t like it? Again if you don’t like wine and you are a stickler, you probably wouldn’t like it. You are more than welcome to walk into the courtyard of the Palazzo and look at the models of each of the Antinori properties in Tuscany and Umbria.
Why is it awesome? This garden is located off the beaten path near Piazza Liberta and off of Via Bolognese. There are many exhibitions here throughout the year but my favorite is the Mostra-Mercato Piante e Fiori(Plant and Flower Market) which occurs from the end of April to the beginning of May. There is a playground to keep the kids running free and there are sights you are your significant other can admire. There is an entrance on Via Bolognese and with a panaramic view from Via Trento.
Why is it unknown? This garden is far off from the city center. No tourist really wants to walk this far. But if you want a day away from hustle and bustle, it is perfect for romantic afternoon lying under a tree.
Who wouldn’t like it? People who don’t like to relax on vacation or equally don’t like to walk. From San Marco number 25 bus will get you there very easily. The first stop at the bottom of Via Bolognese is your stop.
Check out the full Hidden Gems Guide.