Who really wants to know Florence should get out of the city center’s most famous streets and, crossed the Arno river, shoul reach the more authentic heart of the city: the Oltrarno.
Here you can breath the true atmosphere of Florence, made of small shops, artisans and artists (goldsmiths, painters, printers, restorers, shoemakers …), trattorias and cafes.
In the evening you can see plenty of tables in the small alleys filled of the voices of many Florentines who live in the old houses of the Oltrarno neighborhoods: San Niccolò, Santo Spirito, San Frediano.
The most beautiful gardens and breathtaking views of the city are from here. It is here that you discover from Piazzale Michelangelo the skyline of Florence, here you walk in the romantic Roses Garden and you can admire the nearby church of San Miniato al Monte, with its old beautiful façade of white and green marble.
Our guided tour starts from Piazzale Michelangelo where the eye is free to overlook the whole city and the green hills all around it: from the green dome of the Jewish Synagogue to the Cathedral Bell Tower, from the Medici Chapels to the church of Santa Croce, from Ponte Vecchio to the ancient ramparts of the medieval walls, climbing up the hill, reaching the imposing Forte Belvedere.
The series of breathtaking views does not end here but continues along the path that leads to Monte alle Croci, the hill overlooked by the beautiful and ancient Basilica di San Miniato al Monte, the most beautiful – we believe – among all the churches of Florence, a shrine of green and white marble that encloses true masterpieces.
Before leaving San Miniato we recommend a stop in the monumental cemetery surrounding the church, built in the mid-nineteenth century: here are buried, even today, members of the leading families of Florence. Not many people know that here is the grave of the “father” of Pinocchio: the Florentine writer Carlo Lorenzini, better known as Carlo Collodi (1826-1890).
It’s time to get down to the picturesque neighborhood of San Niccolo.
In going back to Piazzale Michelangelo you should take the entrance to the Roses Garden, here you can see 1000 botanical species including 350 species of antique roses, an harmonious sequence of flower beds and gravel paths, an amazing frame of one of the most beautiful views of the city.