Landmarks in the Oltrarno District of Florence
Above Photo Collage: Santo Spirito and Santa Maria del Carmine facades; interior of the Capella Brancacci.
In crowded Florence we suggest you explore across the Arno River to discover the architectural treasures of the Oltrarno neighborhood. Plan your walk around seeing two famous churches whose simple facades belie the gorgeous art and interiors waiting for you inside. Then head over to Via Maggio, a street filled with the palazzos of rich Florentine merchants. Lastly, and not to be missed, is a required visit to the venerable Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens.
Popular Attractions in the Oltrarno Neighborhood
Basilica di Santo Spirito
A visit to the Basilica of Santo Spirito allows you to see the work of old masters such as Filippino Lippi, Ghirlandaio, Sansovino and Rosselli - but without the crowds of a museum. The church dates from the 15th century and was designed by the great Italian architect Brunelleschi, who also designed the Duomo. Santo Spirito is notable for the simplicity and elegance of its austere facade.
Chiesa di Santa Maria del Carmine
The current building is a combination of Baroque and Rococo from the 16th and 18th centuries. Inside Santa Maria del Carmine is the Capella Brancacci, which contains spectacular colorful frescos by the master artist Masaccio. You'll need to make a reservation to see them directly, otherwise you can see a portion of them from the nave of the church.
Via Maggio is a street in the Oltrarno area that is lined with 15th and 16th century palazzos built by Florence's rich merchants. No queuing here, just enjoy a stroll along this street to appreciate the beautiful facades of these elegant palaces.
Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens
The Pitti Palace is a vast former Medici residence, which today is home to one of the world's great art collections. The walls of every room in the palace are filled with old masters' paintings, and the ornamentation of the Palatine Gallery reception rooms is memorable - then, as now, design equaled power, and the Medici had power.
Behind the palace are the famous tiered 16th century Boboli Gardens. Leave yourself time to explore the different experiences designed into the hillside, from the Boboli's amphitheatre, grotto, the upper botanical gardens to its famous paths of branched-archways called, Cerchiate.
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