South of the Arno, Florence
San Miniato al Monte reflects a Romanesque Tuscan style of architecture reminiscent of the late 11th century. The Church is dedicated to a St Minias who died as a martyr in 250 AD.
A Renaissance church on the interior, Santo Spirito has an unusually bare fascade. Building of the church was left incomplete when it's original architect (Brunelleschi) died.
The classical Boboli Gardens offer splendid walking areas and beautiful views. They were begun in the mid 1500s.
The former Galluzzo Carthusian Monaster was passed to the Cistercians in the 1950s. The monastery was built in 1341 and contains fine works of art.
Florence's finest viewpoint, 104 m/341ft above sea level, is named after Michelangelo, an artist who did not always get the best of treatment from the people of Florence. It was designed by Giuseppe Poggi and laid out between 1865 and 1870. The statues in the center of the square are bronze copies of Michelangelo's famous "David" and the four "Times of the Day" for the Medici tombs in the New Sacristy of San Lorenzo.Florence's most important sights can easily be picked out and identified from the Piazzale Michelangelo. The Palazzo Vecchio, the city's tallest building, can be recognized by its tower topped by a belfry. Close by is the battlemented, smaller tower of the Bargello. Nearby is the more slender spire of the Badia Fiorentina. By the river can be seen the Franciscan church of Santa Croce, overlooking the Arno. In the opposite direction, well in the background near the station, the church tower and spire of Santa Maria Novella are visible. But the massive building that dominates the cityscape is the Cathedral, the Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore, with its imposing dome and richly decorated belfry. To the left of the Cathedral the smaller white roof is the Baptistery and the red dome is the New Sacristy of San Lorenzo.
Bardini Museum (Closed Temporarily)
The Bardini Museum contains works of art, furniture, ceramics, tapestries, arms, etc. from the Classical, Renaissance and Baroque periods. The collection was bequeathed to the city of Florence in 1923 by the art dealer Stefano Bardini. It is now on show to the public in the 19th century palace where he lived. Among the interesting works are a Caritas, an allegory of Love by Tino di Camaino and three pictures by Donatello; also a small plaster "Deposition" by Michelangelo.On the upper floor is the Galleria Corsi, an art collection bequeathed to Florence by Fortunata Carobbi in 1937. It consists of paintings in different styles and from various epochs.
Address: Piazza de'Mozzi 1, I-50100 Florence, Italy
Opening hours: 9am-2pm; Sun: 8am-1pm; Closed: Wed
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), May Day / Labor Day (May 1), Assumption Day - Christian (Aug 15), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Easter - Christian
Entrance fee: FREE
Useful tips: Photography prohibited.
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
Transit: Bus: 3, 13, 15, 23, 31, 32.
In the Piazza Frescobaldi, on the left bank of the Arno at the end of the Ponte Santa Trinità in Florence, stands the palace of the Frescobaldi family. Built in the 13th century, it was used by Charles de Valois, the brother of the French king, as his residence when his peace mission on behalf of Pope Boniface VIII brought him to Florence in 1301 (one of the consequences of his mediation was Dante's being sent into exile). The palace was remodeled in the 17th century. The Frescobaldis are today one of Italy's most prosperous landowners.
San Jacopo sopr'Arno
From the Ponte Trinità there is a splendid view of the little Romanesque church of San Jacopo "on the Arno" (12th century but much altered subsequently) with its beautiful Campanile (1660, by Gherardo Silvani). The church has a porch dating from about 1000, the only one of this period in Florence.The interior, nowadays used for exhibitions, has frescoes and altarpieces by 18th century Florentine artists.
San Salvatore al Monte (San Francesco al Monte)
The church of San Salvatore al Monte (or San Francesco al Monte) tends to get overlooked because of the nearby church of San Miniato but the church that Michelangelo called "la bella villanella" ("the beautiful country lass") is worth visiting for its outstanding clearcut architecture both inside and out. This is mainly the work of Cronaca (from 1499), who had considerable difficulties to overcome since the steepness of the site meant that building could only proceed only if use was made of retaining walls.
Piazza di Bellosguardo
As the name suggests, there is a splendid view of Florence from the Piazza di Bellosguardo, southwest of the center, with the Villa di Bellosguardo and its beautiful garden.To the right of the Piazza stands the Villa Belvedere al Saracino (built by Baccio d'Agnolo in 1502 for Francesco Borgherini) and to the left is the Villa dell'Ombrellino. A bust of Galileo commemorates the fact that he lived here from 1617 to 1631.
The history of the church, which stands opposite the Palazzo Pitti, extends far back into the Middle Ages (1066). The facade, a classic example of simple yet effective Renaissance architecture, was built about 1450.The church contains works by the Giotto school ("Christ Crucified"), by the schools of Filippino Lippi (triptych), Ridolfo Ghirlandaio ("Madonna and Child"), and of Neri di Bicci (triptych) and a terracotta group from the school of Giovanni della Robbia.
San Niccolò sopr'Arno
An aedicula (built-up altar) in the style of Michelozzo and a lively fresco by Piero del Pollaiolo, "Madonna della Cintola" (1450), in the sacristy are the principal art treasures of the church of San Niccolò sopr'Arno which was built in the 12th century, reconstructed in the 14th century and restored in the 16th century.After Florence was occupied by the troops of the Emperor and the Pope Michelangelo is supposed to have hidden in the belfry in 1530 to avoid possible arrest.
Porta San Frediano (Porta Pisana)
From the Arno a section of the old city wall leads to the Porta San Frediano. This gate is also known as Porta Pisana because it was from here that the road to Pisa left the city. This massive structure was built between 1332 and 1334, probably to designs by Andrea Pisano. The formidable doors are 13.2m/43.3ft high and 25cm/10 inches thick.
Porta San Giorgio
The Porta San Giorgio, just below the Forte di Belvedere, was completed in 1260, and is part of the second circle of walls on the left bank of the Arno, the course of which can still be traced from the positions of the city gates of San Niccolò, San Miniato, San Giorgio and Porta Romana and San Frediano. The interior fresco of the Madonna is by Bicci di Lorenzo; on the outside is a relief of St George.
San Frediano in Cestello
This Carmelite church and convent, formerly known as Santa Maria degli Angeli, then became a parish church dedicated to St Frediano. The church was transformed in the 17th century when it became Baroque in character, as is evidenced by its distinctive little cupola and graceful campanile.Inside can be seen the famous "Smiling Madonna", a 13th/14th century Tuscan painted wooden statue.
Santa Lucia dei Magnoli
The little church of Santa Lucia dei Magnoli is nicknamed "fra le rovinate" (among the ruins) because of the danger to the surrounding houses from the hillside boulders. The majolica version of St Lucia over the portal dates from 1520.Inside can be seen a beautiful panel of "Santa Lucia", by Lorenzetti, painted on a gold ground.
The Porta alla Croce, the Cross Gate, on the Piazza Beccaria and built in 1284, is all that is left of the city wall fortifications. Inside is a badly damaged fresco by Michele di Rodolfo, "Madonna and Child with St John the Baptist and St Ambrose".
This Palazzo in Piazza di Santo Spirito has a classical austerity and beauty. Simone del Pollaiolo, known as Cronaca, built it (probably 1503-1506) for Riniero Dei. The three storeys, in different styles, are topped by an open loggia. In 1684 it was acquired by the Marchese Guadagni and later by the Dufour-Berte family.
The Via Cassia, the road to Rome, passes through the Porta Romana, the Roman Gate, the mightiest and best-preserved of Florence's city gates.Above the arch inside the gatehouse, which was built in 1326, is a fresco of the 14th century Florentine school, "Madonna and Child and Four Saints" (Franciabigio).
Porta San Niccolò
The Porta San Niccolò was equally suited for defense by land and, in conjunction with the Zecca tower on the opposite bank of the Arno, for sealing off the river. The tower of the bastion, built in 1324, forms the beginning of the city wall in the east on the left bank of the Arno.
The Villa Romana stands on the south side of the Arno, outside the medieval town walls, and was acquired in 1905 by Max Klinger with the aid of the German Artists' Federation to serve as artists' studios and living quarters, as well as a venue for temporary exhibitions.
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