How To Spend A Day In Oltrarno, Florence’s Coolest Neighborhood!

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In relation to exploring neighborhoods in Florence, you can be hard-pressed to search out yet another charismatic than the bohemian enclave of Oltrarno, nestled on the south financial institution of the Arno River.

caz and girls posing on stairs in oltrarno florence
Exploring the streets of Oltrarno

This neighborhood is a haven for artwork fanatics, historical past buffs, and seekers of genuine experiences while touring to Florence. Luckily, it doesn’t take lengthy to discover this bustling neighborhood, so on this information, we’ve shared the way to spend someday in Oltrarno, revealing its hidden gems and fascinating sights.

From exploring Renaissance masterpieces at Palazzo Pitti to strolling by way of the charming gardens, this itinerary will present you the way to take advantage of your day in Oltrarno. 

What’s Oltrarno recognized for?

view of florence duomo dome between the trees
Florence type Bandini Gardens

Oltrarno is an enthralling neighborhood situated on the south financial institution of the Arno River in Florence. It’s well-known for its wealthy historical past, artisan workshops, and genuine native expertise. 

It has a number of stunning monuments and landmarks, together with The Basilica di Santo Spirito, a good looking church designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, and is famend for its elegant Renaissance structure.

It’s additionally the place you’ll find the Palazzo Pitti, certainly one of Florence’s most spectacular palaces, and residential to the Palatine Gallery, the Gallery of Fashionable Artwork, and the Silver Museum. It’s additionally the place you’ll find Florence’s tranquil gardens and concrete areas.

bike on Santo Spirito
Piazza Santo Spirito

The Boboli Gardens, that are adjoining to Palazzo Pitti, are recognized for his or her lush greenery, ornate fountains, and breathtaking views of Florence. 

The Oltrarno neighborhood has all of it; tradition, serene nature, and spectacular historic monuments. It’s a should go to for anybody in search of issues to do in Florence.

One Day in Oltrarno Itinerary

narrow street with colorful buildings on either side in oltrarno

Whenever you’re able to embark on a fascinating journey by way of Oltrarno, the place artwork, historical past, and vibrant tradition intertwine, learn on to see our someday itinerary for vacationers in search of to search out the essence of Florence.

Cease 1: Have Espresso at Espresso: Ditta Artigianale Riva d’Arno

colorful mural on wall of cafe

Stand up early and begin your day with a espresso and a pastry from Espresso: Ditta Artigianale Riva d’Arno, situated on the banks of the Arno, overlooking the Ponte alla Carraia.Espresso: Ditta Artigianale takes satisfaction in sourcing high-quality espresso beans from native producers worldwide.

We additionally adore it as a result of it’s laptop computer pleasant, ideally suited for digital nomads and people needing a productive workspace.

It additionally has a vibrant ambiance, the place the colourful decor colours and welcoming employees create a energetic and fulfilling ambiance, making it the right place to start out your day.

cup of coffee with art on top
Now that’s a espresso

The espresso right here is as much as our snobby Australian requirements. Though Italy is called the house of espresso, and I discovered it to be means higher than the USA, I nonetheless didn’t discover it nearly as good as Australia…. by way of flat whites and cappuccinos. Their espressos are good.

However the espresso right here was the third wave craft espresso commonplace that I really like.

Cease 2: Eat Gelato at Gelateria La Carraia

savannah with gelato cone

Though gelato isn’t the healthiest breakfast meals, there’s a actually nice gelato place subsequent door to Espresso: Ditta Artigianale Riva d’Arno known as Galateria La Carraia which is likely one of the high rated gelato retailers in Florence.

This family-run gelato store has been operating since 1990 and is well-known to present beneficiant parts. They provide over 30 flavors, together with fruity favorites reminiscent of strawberry, black cherry and mango, however a well-liked favourite is the ricotta and pear taste!

We ate gelato practically day-after-day of our two weeks in Italy and La Carriaia was my absolute favourite. I had chocolate hazelnut and occasional. I didn’t know till biting into the ice cream that there have been Nutella bombs all through it. OMG. I can nonetheless style it! 

cup of hazelnut gelato

Do you know that gelato originated in Florence? One more reason to be sure to don’t skip this crucial expertise in Oltrarno. 

The gelato store opens at 11.00am and stays open till midnight, so you’ll be able to come again later if you wish to begin your day earlier.

Cease 3: Go to Piazza Santo Spirito

fountain in the middle of Piazza Santo Spirito
Piazza Santo Spirito

Nestled within the coronary heart of Oltrarno is Piazza Santo Spirito which is likely one of the most well-known websites within the neighborhood. It stands as a testomony to the wealthy historical past and cultural significance of Florence’s inventive district. 

Relationship again to the Center Ages, this enchanting sq. has been a vibrant gathering place for locals and guests alike. Its historic significance is deeply rooted within the Basilica di Santo Spirito, a Renaissance-style church that dominates the sq. with its majestic presence. 

dome and yellow exterior of church
Basilica di Santo Spirito

The church and its adjoining Augustinian monastery served as a gathering place for students throughout their early humanistic pursuits. 

As we speak, Piazza Santo Spirito continues to captivate with its timeless allure, providing a bustling ambiance, picturesque structure, and a glimpse into Florence’s storied previous. 

Cease 4: Loosen up within the Boboli Gardens

kalyra and savannah looking at statue of head
Boboli Gardens sculpture

Nestled behind the magnificent Pitti Palace is the Boboli Gardens, which gives a fascinating setting of pure magnificence and wealthy historical past. 

With its origins relationship again to 1418, when Luca Pitti acquired the land, these gardens have advanced over the centuries, formed by the fingers of the Medici household and subsequent modifications by the Savoys. They opened to the general public in 1766 and have enchanted guests ever since.

statue of creature
I really like this statue!

Masking roughly 111 acres, the meticulously landscaped Boboli Gardens provide a picturesque respite from the bustling metropolis. Make sure you spend an hour or so exploring the backyard’s manicured lawns, fountains, and labyrinths of hedges and tree-lined pathways. 

We walked in from the Piazzale di Porta Romana, the southernmost gate within the thirteenth century methods of the Oltrarno part, so we didn’t miss strolling up the Viottolone.

caz and savannah looking up at avenue of trees
Trying up at Viottolone

The well-known Viottolone is a steep sloping avenue with a collection of terraces and tunnels fashioned by the bushes and foliage providing shade and hidden corners to sit down down. This massive avenue is bordered by cypresses and statuettes.

Be warned it’s steep, but it surely’s a good looking highway to expertise. There are shady facet trails beside it in the event you don’t wish to stroll within the full solar. The views from the highest overlooking the again of Pitti Palace make it value it! There’s a beautiful grassy space right here to relaxation underneath the shady bushes or have a picnic. 

view of pitti palace and florence from boboli gardens
View over Pitti Palace
view over florence and lush gardens
fountain in an island
The Ocean Fountain

When you are available in one of many different entrances, you’ll arrive on the high of Viottolone so you’ll be able to stroll all the way down to the “Isolotto”, the massive pond begun in 1618 after which again up. In the midst of the pond on an island is Giambologna’s “Ocean” fountain. It’s surrounded by three sculptures representing the Nice rivers of the Nile, Gange and Euphrates.

Cease 5: Discover the Villa Bardini Gardens

caz and the girls looking at tunnel of vines

One other backyard you have to take a look at in Oltrarno is the Villa Bardini Gardens, which provide a fascinating mix of pure magnificence, cultural heritage, and inventive allure. 

I nearly skipped this as a result of I learn fairly a couple of unfavorable evaluations, saying it was a bit underwhelming. Because the ticket to Boboli Gardens consists of Bardini and it’s a simple stroll between the 2, I made a decision we’d as properly test it out. 

As quickly as I arrived, I mentioned, “Honest Dinkum, some individuals are exhausting to please.”

It ended up being certainly one of my favourite spots in Florence. We walked straight as much as the Kaffeehaus on the belvedere terrace for an Aperol Spritz break (sodas for the ladies) to loosen up and absorb the views. 

Have a look at them – aren’t they beautiful?

Mom and daughter overlooking the city of Florence
View from Bandini Gardens
woman looking at views of florence with aperol spritz in hand
view of florence
cypress tree off to the side of view of florence

How can anybody be underwhelmed by that???

Initially constructed within the seventeenth century, these gardens have undergone transformations over time. Within the late nineteenth century, famend artwork vendor and “prince of the antiquarians” Stefano Bardini rescued the backyard from neglect, including to its attract. 

It’s a lot smaller than the Boboli Gardens, at simply 10 acres, however you’ll have these picturesque views of Florence from many locations within the backyard. 

Wander by way of its enchanting woods, fruit orchards, and meticulously manicured landscapes, and immerse your self within the harmonious fusion of artwork, nature, and historical past that outline this backyard.

girls walking down tunnel of wisteria
Think about this coloured in purple flowers?

I wish to return right here on the finish of April when the wisteria is in full bloom. Think about strolling down this stunning floral tunnel of violets and pinks with a improbable panoramic view over town. It’s one of the vital photographed pergolas in Florence. 

Presently, it’s possible you’ll even get fortunate and see the baroque staircase bordered by massive and colourful irises, the image of Florence. 

Bandini Gardens are a serene escape from town’s hustle. 

Cease 6: Tour the Palazzo Pitti

woman and girl standing outside Pitti palace in Florence
Pitti Palace

Located on the left financial institution of the Arno River stands the Palazzo Pitti, one of many best examples of grandeur and opulence from Florence’s Renaissance period. 

Initially constructed within the fifteenth century for the influential Pitti household, it later turned the residence of the highly effective Medici household. 

We realized on our Better of Florence strolling tour that Eleonora di Toledo, the Spanish spouse of Cosimo I de Medici discovered Palazzo Vecchio fairly uninteresting, so she purchased the Pitti Palace with a small a part of her dowry. She wished these stunning gardens all to herself. 

There may be the non-public Vasari Hall, an elevated passageway of about 1 km lengthy that connects Palazzo Vecchio to Palazzo Pitti.

It was initially constructed to permit the Medici Household to maneuver between the residence safely and simply within the Pitti palace to the federal government places of work in Palazzo Vecchio. It’s set to reopen as a vacationer attraction in about 5 months. 

manicured gardens at the back of pitti palace
The again of Pitti Palace

As we speak, the palace homes a number of museums, together with the Palatine Gallery and the Museum of Costume and Trend. A go to to Palazzo Pitti gives a fascinating journey by way of centuries of artwork, beautiful structure, and splendid interiors.

We extremely suggest getting on a guided tour of the palace and Palatina Gallery so you’ll be able to find out about its historical past and have a educated information level out the most effective items of artwork. Here is also a private tour of the palace and gardens in the event you choose that. It’s additionally greatest to reserve your entry ticket in advance, if not doing a guided tour.

Cease 7: Take an Night Meals Tour

people walking streets of oltrarno
Meals strolling tour

In any case this exploring, your abdomen have to be rumbling, so why not immerse your self in a culinary journey like no different by venturing on a Tuscan meals tour of the Oltrarno neighborhood of Florence. 

Famend for its vibrant meals scene and conventional Tuscan flavors, this district is a paradise for meals fanatics. By taking a meals tour of Oltrarno, you’ll unveil an array of delectable dishes to savor. Indulge within the succulent bistecca alla fiorentina (florentine steak), or pattern the luscious lampredotto sandwich, a beloved avenue meals specialty. 

plate of Florentine steak and potatoes
The well-known Florentine Steak
tuscan fiasco with red wine
Tuscan Fiasco

We joined the three-hour Florence food and wine tour, which did contain sampling a whole lot of Chianti, which is what Tuscany is understood for. It additionally included a cease on the Babae Wine Window (with skip the lengthy line privileges!) 

The meals and wine tour was an effective way to spend the night with fellow vacationers studying about Tuscan meals and tradition. 

From contemporary produce at bustling native markets to cozy trattorias serving genuine Tuscan fare, Oltrarno gives a gastronomic exploration that can depart you yearning for extra.

You can see more about this food tour of Oltrano here and browse our full put up on the meals tour expertise.

Cease 8: Examine Out the Babae Wine Window

lady laughing at wine window
Babae Wine Window

When you take a meals tour of Oltrarno, then you definitely’re most certainly going to cease by this distinctive attraction. The Babe Wine Window holds vital historic worth because it revives an historical Florentine custom often called “buchette del vino.” 

These small home windows have been as soon as used throughout the Plague to securely promote wine whereas sustaining social distancing. 

Babae has embraced this custom by opening their wine window to the general public, creating a novel alternative to style native wines in an genuine setting. Sure, you guessed it, it was COVID that helped push it again into Florentine life. 

By visiting the Babae wine window, you’ll be able to immerse your self in Florence’s cultural heritage and partake in a centuries-old custom that brings town’s previous to life.

There will likely be lengthy traces right here so deliver your endurance. I noticed individuals lining up at lunch time, which can even be an possibility because the traces have been shorter. 

Cease 9: Have Dinner at Borgo San Frediano 

overlooking ponte vecchio and oltrarno neighborhood
Oltrarno and Ponte Vecchio Bridge

When you’re not full from the meals tour and also you’d prefer to get a correct dinner, then we extremely suggest Borgo San Frediano. Borgo San Frediano is a avenue that has gained recognition as one of many coolest gastronomic locations in Florence.

Steeped in historical past, Borgo San Frediano boasts slim streets, artisan retailers, and native bars that exude a novel allure. As you wander by way of its lanes, remember to indulge within the delectable culinary choices. 

If you want to attempt an excellent Florentine steak, an ideal restaurant for that is Trattoria BBQ.

Cease 10: One other Gelato at Gelateria Artigianale La Sorbettiera

hand holding cup of chocolate and original gelato

Gelateria Artigianale La Sorbettiera is one other gelato haven in Florence that shouldn’t be skipped! Until in fact you’ve already had two immediately from the meals tour and Gelateria La Carraia, in that case, we forgive you in the event you skip this one. 

It was based in 2007 and is understood for its dedication to the artwork of conventional gelato-making whereas infusing it with inventive twists. 

La Sorbettiera crafts creamy and easy gelato utilizing pure flavors and no synthetic colours. Its dedication to preserving the artisanal strategies of Italian gelato making units it aside. From traditional chocolate and pistachio to modern fruit flavors, every scoop guarantees a pleasant style to fulfill your candy tooth cravings.

We completed our meals tour at this Florence gelato spot, and sure, it was our second for the day! It’s Florence, the house of gelato, it’s important to! 

Right here you’ll discover the unique gelato taste, so get your self a scoop. It’s creamy and scrumptious, like vanilla with out the vanilla. You’ll completely perceive that description when you attempt it. 

Cease 11: Watch the sundown from Piazzale Michelangelo and Church of San Miniato al Monte

sunset in florence
sundown from Piazzale Michelangelo

Lastly, it’s time to observe the sundown from one of the vital spectacular views in Florence. Perched on a hill overlooking Florence’s Oltrarno district, Piazzale Michelangelo gives a fascinating vantage level to observe the sundown over town. 

This iconic sq. was designed by Giuseppe Poggi in 1869 throughout the city renewal of Florence. It was a present from the federal government to town, permitting locals and guests alike to marvel at the great thing about Florence. 

The panoramic view from Piazzale Michelangelo showcases town’s architectural wonders, together with the magnificence of the Duomo and the serenity of the Arno River. 

Watching the sundown from this spot is actually particular, because the sky is painted with vibrant hues, creating an ethereal ambiance that completely enhances the picturesque environment.

When you don’t wish to stroll up the hill, one other nice sundown spot is on the riverside overlooking the Ponte Vecchio, which comes alive because it’s awash in orange and crimson hues from the fading solar.

OR, Sundown from the Ponte Vecchio Bridge

orange sunset over arno river in florence

We have been too drained from our lengthy days of exploring Florence to stroll the 20 minutes as much as the point of view – subsequent Florence go to, I promise. 

As an alternative, we noticed a spectacular sundown from the Ponte Vecchio Bridge, which connects outdated Florence with Oltrarno throughout the Arno Rive, so it’s a simple addition to your day in Florence. 

This iconic bridge was constructed throughout Roman instances and has a novel design with overhanging buildings on each side, a convention that dates again to the medieval interval.

golden light on ponte vecchip bridge
Ponte Vecchio and Oltrarno

These retailers was occupied by butchers, however immediately they home quite a lot of retailers, together with jewelers, goldsmiths, artwork sellers, and memento distributors.

It was additionally one of many few bridges in Florence not bombed throughout World Conflict II. 

Remaining Ideas

looking over florence and arno river

Florence is certainly one of our favourite locations to go to in Tuscany, however the Oltrarno neighborhood is arguably the most effective neighborhood within the metropolis for its historical past, peaceable gardens and interesting monuments.

It will provide you with a extra native perspective to Florence, though it’s getting extra in style with vacationers – particularly those that search just a little extra journey than commonplace high vacationer sights. 

Whether or not you’re a foodie, tradition vulture or historical past buff, there’s something for everybody on this bustling neighborhood.

We hope this information helped you propose your day in Oltrarno and gave you some inspiration for what to see and do. Additionally see our put up on our Florence strolling tour, Oltrarno meals and wine tour, and these high issues to do in Florence.