Overview : This walking itinerary will take you through one of Florence's most beautiful gardens, the newly renovated Renaissance Bardini gardens... more »
This walking itinerary will take you through one of Florence's most beautiful gardens, the newly renovated Renaissance Bardini gardens... more », to the picturesque walled and cobble-stoned street of Via San Leonardo to the tree-lined panoramas to reach the church of San Miniato.
Breathtaking views and tree-lined paths will make you feel as though you're in the countryside even though this walk finishes in the heart of Florence's characteristic San Niccolo neighborhood, the perfect place for a meal or a drink. less «
Consider the weather and time of year with this walk. In the summer, this is a great walk to do first thing in the morning, perhaps... more » ending for lunch in San Niccolo. Try to avoid midday, when it is very hot indeed in the summer time, as there is a bit of uphill walking to do on this itinerary (through the garden mostly).
If you want to make the itinerary shorter, after Porta San Giorgio (POI 2), you can turn left and follow the ancient walls down to Porta San Miniato (POI 5) and then go up the stairs to the church of San Miniato al Monte (POI 4), which is not to be missed! less «
These restored gardens boast possibly the best position in Florence, with stunning views over the city.
They have been in the hands of private families that can be traced back to the Middle Ages, but were bought by the antiquarian, Stefano Bardini (whose villa and museum are adjacent), in 1913. He lovingly repaired and added to the gardens, but ... Moreafter his death they were left overgrown and unmaintained. Recently restored privately for many years, the gardens were finally opened to the public.
Aside from enjoying the paths that meander through the lush garden, there is also a lovely cafe situated under a Renaissance loggia that looks out towards the city. With the entry ticket to the Bardini Gardens, you can also access the Pitti Palace's Boboli Gardens and the Belvedere Fortress.
The gardens open at 8:15am daily and according to the month of the year, close at various times in the afternoon (see photo for details). Roughly speaking, in the summer they close at 7:30pm, the spring and autumn at 6:30pm and the winter at 4:30pm.
Note: The Bardini Gardens can be accessed by Via dei Bardi no. 1r or by the very steep Costa San Giorgio no. 2. This itinerary works best if you begin at Via dei Bardi and work your way up through the gardens themselves and exit at the other entrance at Costa San Giorgio no.2.Less
After exiting the Bardini Gardens at Costa San Giorgio No.2, head towards the Porta San Giorgio, the "St. George Gateway," which was once part of the city's ancient walls.
Built back in 1324 and attributed to Andrea Orcagna, you'll notice the inside is decorated with a medieval fresco of the Madonna and child (by Bicci di Lorenzo).
On ... Moreone side of the gateway you have the immense Forte Belvedere, the Medici treasury and fortress which guards one of the entrances into the Boboli Gardens. On the other side of the gateway the 16th century city walls extend down a steep but picturesque street to the neighbourhood of San Niccolò.Less
With the Porta San Giorgio to your back, head straight on, for a beautiful walk through the cobblestoned Via San Leonardo. The street meanders through the olive grove-tinged hills and villas of Florence, offering glimpses to the nearby countryside.
You'll pass by the quaint little church of San Leonardo in Arcetri, which dates back to the year... More 1000. Surrounded by a little garden and olive trees, it's as picturesque as they come. They say that Dante and Boccaccio have both spoken from the pulpit in this church.
Further along as you near Viale Galielo, at no.64 you'll also come by the house where the Russian composer Tchaikovsky lived when he stayed in Florence in 1878. He came to Florence (the "city of his dreams" he called it) to compose in his quiet villa - it was here he wrote his opera, Queen of Spades. Look up on the wall of the yellow-ochre house and you'll see an inscription in Italian of the composer's stay.Less
The 11th century church of San Miniato al Monte is one of the oldest churches in Florence, it is the only functioning monastery that remains in the city and it is one of the finest Romanesque churches in Tuscany. What more reason do you need to visit? Oh, the views! It also has some of the most spectacular panoramic views over Florence.
The walk ... Morealong Viale Galileo to San Miniato church is one of the loveliest walks you can do in the city. The tree-lined street has wide sidewalks offering one of the best panoramas across the entire valley of Florence.
When you reach the church, a series of zig zag stairs will take you up to the first terrace of the monumental cemetery, a beautiful sculptural cemetery which continues around the back of the monastery.
The interior of the church is perhaps what is most special about this unusual church. The nave splits into a crypt and a raised choir, giving the interior three different levels. the crypt is the oldest part of the church, with frescoes by Taddeo Gaddi. Supposedly the bones of St Miniato himself are located in the high altar. The choir above holds a huge, domed mosaic of the namesake of the church, St. Miniato, dating to 1260.
Also unusual is the freestanding "Chapel of the Crucifix" in the centre of the nave, with decorations by Luca della Robbia. It once held the crucifix which is now in the church of Santa Trinita.
The floor of the nave is decorated with beautiful, organic patterns made from white and dark green marble, dating to 1207. Find the central decorations depicting the astrological signs of the zodiac.Less
After leaving the church, continue along Viale Galielo towards Piazzale Michelangelo and take the long staircase that is Via di San Salvatore al Monte. The tree-lined stairs take you down to the Porta San Miniato, which is the gateway that connect the 16th century city walls to Porta San Giorgio.
Porta San Miniato - in other words, the "... More;gateway to San Miniato" is the gateway into the lovely residential neighbourhood of San Niccolò, known for its cute bars, cafes and restaurants and buzzing local atmosphere. The gateway was built in 1320 and is unusual for the fact that it is not accompanied by towers. As you follow the gateway into Via San Niccolò, look to the right and at the end of the street you'll see the tower of San Niccolò which perfectly illustrates what a gateway with tower means!Less
On the corner of Via San Niccolò you'll find the bar/cafe of Rifrullo. In the summer, sit outside on the street or on one of the tables that opens onto the street. There's even a garden out the back, open for an aperitivo in the evening. In the winter, head inside to warm up around the fireplace.
This corner of San Niccolò is a... More great spot for bar or cafe or restaurant hopping as you don't have to go further than a few yards to reach any number of great places. You can bounce from Rifrullo to the wine bar in front, Bevo Vino, or if you get a little hungry, sit down for a meal at Osteria Antica Mescita (also in this intersection) or at ZEB, just a couple doors down from Bevo Vino. A few doors down from Rifrullo towards the Tower of San Niccolò is also a great bakery.Less