Today I thought I would do something a little different and take you on a walking tour of Italy. The last week of my stay, I was on my own. Being me, that meant finding reasons to walk as far as I could. On this particular day I actually got out a tour book and selected a walking tour that would take me to some sites I already knew and a few that I didn’t.
On the way to the starting location, I took this photo. This church/public building is on the way to the train station and I love the look of it. I don’t remember the name of it, but Florence is filled with beautiful buildings like this.
This tour started at Santa Maria Novella, a beautiful church near the Florence train station that we enjoyed last year and had walked by a couple times this year. It made for a nice and easy starting location.
From there I needed the tour book and map to find the next location.
It was a small cross in the middle of an intersection that marked the location of a 13th century fight.
After that it was searching for another random piazza. I say random only because Florence is filled with this plazas. I was never quite certain I found the Piazza Antinori, but I did find the Piazza Strozzi and its castle. In fact this was a castle I cut through on multiple occasions. When you cease feeling like a tourist, you take every shortcut you can find to skirt around them!
After that it was a short walk to the Piazza Santa Trinta. We walked through this multiple times a day because it is at the Santa Trinta bridge, one over from the Ponte Vecchio, so a nice shortcut if you didn’t want to deal with the hordes on the other more famous bridge. Fun fact, this church is popular for weddings. One day we were at the church as a bride was preparing to walk in for the ceremony. And then a couple times after that we saw bridal couples having their photos taken there.
It’s a short walk across the Arno on the Santa Trinta bridge and then you walk a couple blocks to Piazza Santo Spirito. This is the piazza where I taught. There are great restaurants and amazing gelato on this square as well as a church and the Accent offices. It was also a quick five minute walk from Via Romana and my apartment to the Accent offices.
From here you head a block over to Via Roma but stop on the way for the place where Elizabeth Browning lived for 11 years.
And another small church right across the narrow road.
Then it’s on to the Piazza dei Pitti, or the Pitti Palace. We did not go in the palace this year, deciding to leave it for a future visit while we spent a day in the Boboli Gardens. However, this was a very short walk from my apartment and visible from our terrace.
At this point the guide book asks if you have stamina for a few more sites. That’s like waving a red flag in front of a bull. Of course, I do! So it was back to the Ponte Vecchio bridge and then along the water to the St. John the Baptist statute. Unfortunately, there is a ton of road work right there, so I had to take the photo standing in the street through the orange plastic fence. Needless to say it was a quick photo, and not an exceptionally good one!
St. John the Baptist is the patron saint of Florence, so we saw many statute of him. However, this one is unique because it was crafted in the 20th century, about 6 centuries after many of the statutes and art Florence is filled with.
Finally there is the arduous climb to the rose garden (and the Michaelangelo Piazza and another beautiful church). If you have a fitbit and need stairs, this is the way to get it. Florence city center is flat. The rest of Florence is in hills. Here’s the view from the top of the rose garden/foot of the Michaelangelo piazza.
I hope you enjoyed this walking tour of Florence!