Florence: Top 5 Things To Do Across The Arno River

Florence has been a capital of culture, history, art, and architecture since the Renaissance. Millions of people travel every year to visit this treasure of a city, one of the most beautiful places in Europe - but not many make it to the neighborhood of Oltrarno. You might have bought your ticket to climb to the top of Il Duomo at Cattedrale di Santa Maria, you might also have seen that there is amazing sandwich place nearby called All’Antico Vinaio. If you haven’t seen those yet, you might want to add those the your itinerary while you’re there. While you have to see the statue of David at Galleria Dell’Accademia, know that Florence is a sprawling city, with much more that you might have not heard of across the Ponte Vecchio.

As its name suggests, the quiet, charming neighborhood of Oltrarno is just beyond the Arno River. This neighborhood is known for housing many craft studios and bars that produce local goods. A trip to Oltrarno will allow you to see the beautiful life that many local Florentines enjoy.

Piazzale Michelangiolo

Catch a bus or make the steep climb up to one of the most spectacular views of Florence, the Piazzale Michelangiolo. As an ode to the eminent Michelangiolo, this piazza houses bronze replicas of his marble work - including his famous Statue of David.  In addition to this, the piazza overlooks a panoramic view of Il Duomo, Il Ponte Vecchio, and the natural landscape. Many have come to love enjoying gelato or a cup of coffee while taking in the picturesque view.

Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Garden

Palazzo Pitti, right across Ponte Vecchio, is the former residence of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany that houses many museums and galleries that hold different collections, including porcelain and modern art. While there is no shortage of art and galleries, the next stop you might want to see is the Boboli Garden right behind Palazzo Pitti. While also being the largest park in Florence, it holds beautiful sculptures from the 16th to the 18th centuries and makes for a beautiful break from running around the city.

Shopping on Via Romana

Walk along Via Romana, a street full of artisan shops. Via Romana is the heart of Oltrarno, being the longest street packed with artisans and shops. Here is a place where you will be able to find one of a kind gifts and experience the process of Florentine, hand-crafted goods.  

Via Romana extends from Piazza Felice and ends at the Porta Romana, a historic trading gateway, making this street also filled with butcher shops, cafes, restaurants, and bakeries.

Basilica di Santo Spirito

This blank facade may look unappealing, but inside is a beautiful interior designed by Brunelleschi. The interior is spacious and harmonious, with creamy walls decorated with dark stone - pietra serena stonework. This basilica also houses pre-Renaissance architecture and frescoes by Filippino Lippi as well as an altarpiece carved by Sansovino.

Where to eat - Piazza di Santo Spirito

You can end your night with some authentic dinner and drinks at Piazza Santo Spirito. Trattoria La Casalinga is popular with the locals for their food. Since the menu is not offered in English, it is also the perfect opportunity to get more insight with what the locals eat and to try some delicious food.

After dinnertime, this square is filled with music and Volume is the place to go to grab a well-made drink. It’s a comfortable place to grab a drink away from Il Duomo and also catch some live music.

When you’re looking to travel, do you always go off the beaten path? Leave us a comment to let us know which of these places you’ll be adding on to your trip to Florence!


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