The stunning capital of Italy’s Tuscany region is known for its art history and Renaissance architecture. But there is so much more to discover…
We’ve uncovered some of Florence’s lesser-known attractions, so you can give the crowds a miss and get to know the hidden gems around the city.
The Giardino Bardini is a secret Renaissance garden in Costa San Giorgio. Spread across four hectares of landscaped gardens, you can roam through beautiful flower beds and lawns with access to Villa Bardini. There’s Wi-Fi available, a bookshop, restrooms and food facilities. Entry costs €5 – €10 but opening days and times vary seasonally, so it’s worth checking before you visit.
San Marco Museum
This complex consists of the former Dominican convent and church. Now a museum, it’s comprised of work from Italian architect and sculptor Michelozzo and paintings from artist Fra’ Angelico, among others. It has undergone several modifications throughout the 14th – 16th centuries, but still retains much of its original charm and beauty.
Just a stone’s throw from Piazza San Marco, this impressive 18th century reading room and public library is home to over 40, 000 volumes, 2, 000 manuscripts and 10, 000 historical documents. The original nucleus of the collection is made up of the library of the abbot Francesco, whose dying wish was to have a bookstore built in the city. You’ll find students enjoying the peace and quiet.
Traffic Signs by Clet Abraham
French artist Clet Abraham has injected fun and satire into traffic signs around the world. Having lived in Italy for over 20 years, look out for his work in Florence on no entry signs.
Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio market
15 minutes’ walk from the Duomo, Sant’Ambrogio is one of the oldest districts of Florence and is popular with students and young people. The local market here off the beaten track and much lesser-known that Central Market. Both relaxed and crowd-free, it has a vast indoor selection of fresh produce including fruit and veg, cured meats and specialty cheeses. Opening hours are usually Monday to Saturday, 7am – 2pm.
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