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Top Areas to Travel to in Florence
Florence, the capital city of Tuscany, is home to some of Italy's most significant works of art and architecture. There's no shortage of itineraries that could take you weeks to fully explore the city's aesthetic highlights. However, if you are short on time, here are some of the top areas to travel to in Florence.
The Centro Storico, Florence's historic center, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the city's beating heart. It's located on the south bank of the Arno River and boasts most of the essential historic, artistic, and architectural attractions, including the Duomo or Florence Cathedral, the Uffizi Gallery, the Palazzo Vecchio, the Ponte Vecchio, and the Basilica of Santa Croce.
Oltrarno is Florence's left bank, located on the opposite side of the Arno River, and is known for its quiet, residential streets, fantastic restaurants, and artisan shops. This neighborhood is where you'll find some of the city's best bars, including the famous Negroni cocktail. Visit Oltrarno for its authentic feel and fewer crowds, and make sure to stop by the Boboli Gardens and Palazzo Pitti.
Santo Spirito is a lively neighborhood of artisans, small shops, and artists' workshops. The neighborhood's centerpiece is the Basilica di Santo Spirito, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, the same architect who designed the Duomo. Head to Piazza Santo Spirito, where people meet to drink, chat, and dine in the outdoor cafes.
San Lorenzo is an exciting market district in Florence that houses the Basilica di San Lorenzo, a church that Michelangelo redesigned late in his life. Visitors can tour the library of San Lorenzo, which is home to over 10,000 ancient texts, including Leonardo da Vinci's manuscripts. This neighborhood is where you'll find the bustling Mercato Centrale, an indoor food market, and plenty of other shops selling leather goods.
Santa Maria Novella
The Santa Maria Novella neighborhood, located between the train station and the historic center, is home to Florence's most famous church, the Santa Maria Novella Basilica. You'll encounter artists, street entertainers and stumble upon plenty of bars and restaurants in this quarter. Don't forget to venture over to nearby Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, an ancient pharmacy.
Florence's reputation as the Italian Renaissance's mecca is well-deserved. Every street corner and building reveals a piece of history, art, or architecture that will take your breath away. The city's neighborhoods each have a distinct charm that will make returning every day to explore them an absolute delight.