Pitti Palace0.1 km
Ponte Vecchio0.3 km
Uffizi Gallery0.5 km
Palazzo Vecchio0.6 km
The Florence Cathedral0.9 km
Basilica of San Lorenzo1.0 km
Santa Maria Novella Train Station1.1 km
Piazzale Michelangelo1.3 km
San Miniato al Monte1.4 km
Peretola Florence Airport6.0 km.
In brief: residential, peaceful, green area, lots of shops.
Highlights: Basilica Santo Spirito, Giardino Biboli, Cappella Branacci.
Getting there: tram T1 and electric bus line D to Santa Maria Novella station.
Why stay: good transport links with the city centre and lots of shopping options.
This district is located to the south-east of the River Arno, with the Santo Spirito square and its beautiful church as the centre. The square was originally used by the Augustinian monks to give their sermons, to celebrate festivals and for all kinds of demonstrations. Nowadays it is home to the local market which is held every morning and with additional stalls for natural products and antiques on Sundays. In the summer months it also hosts a number of concerts and shows and is one of the liveliest squares in the district, with a very unique atmosphere of restaurants, different bars and a variety of night life. The square is also home to the Basilica of the same name, the work of Brunelleschi. Nearby is the Palazzo Guadagni (1505) which houses the Florence library on its ground floor. Further areas of interest include the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens. The Palazzo Pitti is a remarkable renaissance building that was built by the Pitti family to rival the Medici family structure. Its interior is well worth a visit with some beautiful paintings including the works of Raffaello, Tiziano, Correggio, Rubens and Pietro da Cortona. Close at hand visitors can take a stroll through the Boboli gardens that were created as a park for the Pitti Palace, and are one of the greatest examples of Italian-style gardens, considered by many as an open-air museum. It is also an opportunity to visit one of the most surprising and strangest examples of Florentine architecture the Grotta Grande. To the west of the city, the Torquato Tasso square and the Carmine Church, is the famous location of one of the most famous renaissance works of art, the Capilla Brancacci, that was decorated by Masaccio and Masolino. Today the district of Isolotto is one of the greenest areas in Florence. It is a particularly young part of the city, especially in the west where its rural centre later grew into an industrial then a residential area. It boasts more modern architecture than the rest of the city and includes the new Florentine tram that leads directly to the city centre. A number of shopping centres are located in the area that is served by a very good public transport communication to the rest of the city.
The district of Santo Spirito is located in the south-west part of the historical city of Florence, the focal point being the beautiful Basilica of Santo Spirito and large Medici residence of Palazzo Pitti. Often referred to as the ‘Oltrarno’ (or the 'other side of the Arno River') this quarter is a part of Florence that still belongs to the Florentines. It’s an area much beloved area by locals and foreigners alike, who appreciate the close community feel in a district that hosts a variety of seasonal event throughout the year.
A compact corner
The Santo Spirito square, with the Church of Santo Spirito as its centerpiece, is full of character and characters. The oldest building on the square is the 4th-century refectory of Santo Spirito monastery, located on the north-west corner, a square building with Gothic windows now converted into a museum.
Known as an alternative hangout for locals, this square is often filled with markets, concerts, live music with a general buzz at any time of the day. The surrounding area leading to Palazzo Pitti, not far from the Ponte Vecchio, contains a myriad of tiny streets with hidden finds at every corner. The small winding streets reflect the personality of the neighborhood, perfect for snapping moments of true Florentine life.
Know your neighbors
Restorers, artists, craftsmen and antique dealers all still inhabit this area of Florence and it is known as ‘the place’ to be for artistic and bohemian types. You will likely see every type of person pass through this piazza. Though not to be considered a cheap area to live, its proximity to many great bars, caf��s and restaurants helps to keep the locals around.
Piazza Santo Spirito is filled nightly with people congregating for an aperitivo (happy hour) drink or dinner and you might find this area quite noisy after dark. While it used to get a bad rap as a slightly dangerous area of town, it has arguably improved over recent years, and has undergone a revival due to improvements and increased controls in the square.