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by Orient-Express
Villa San Michele

Walking Tours

See the sights of Florence on foot at your own pace with these two walking tours.  Both walks start where our courtesty shuttle bus drops you off.

Walking Tour A

Just a few minutes’ walk from Piazza della Repubblica, you arrive at Ponte Vecchio (the Old Bridge) with its magnificent jewellery shops.

Crossing over the bridge, you reach what is considered the “most typical” part of the city: the “Oltrarno”. Here, the artisans, antique dealers and shopkeepers still practice age-old traditions. For those who love silk and leather, we suggest a stop at Madova, famous for its gloves (which can be custom-made) since 1919.

Turning right onto Borgo San Jacopo, you will find the silversmith’s shop, Pagliai, founded in the 1930s.  At the end of Borgo San Jacopo, on the right, is Via Maggio, the antique dealers’ road par excellence. Discover Paderni, which sells beautiful antique fireplaces.

You then come upon the splendid church designed by Brunelleschi, Chiesa di Santo Spirito, with its stunning frescoes by Filippino Lippi.  Continuing down Via Santo Spirito, you reach Borgo San Frediano, with Bottega di Stefano Bemer, a shop specialising in stylish, custom-made shoes.

Further on is Antico Setificio Fiorentino, to the right on Via L. Bartolini. Florence became one of the leading producers of silk during the Renaissance and the tradition continues in this beautiful factory/showroom. Borgo San Frediano also leads to the Chiesa del Carmine church on the piazza of the same name, where dramatic frescoes by Masaccio can be admired in the Cappella Brancacci.

Continuing along Via S. Monica and Via S. Agostino, you arrive in Via Romana.  On the left-hand side of the street is the imposing former residence of the Medici family, Palazzo Pitti.

For those who have already visited Palazzo Pitti, we suggest a visit to the Grotta del Buontalenti and La Limonaia, both of which are located in the majestic Boboli gardens, behind Palazzo Pitti.

Suggested restaurants:
- Trattoria Pandemonio  (Via del Leone 50 r)
- Ristorante 4 Leoni  (Via Vellutini 1 r)

Walking Tour B

Starting in Piazza della Repubblica, you begin your walk by turning onto Via degli Speziali and from here continue along Via Calzaiouli, one of the city’s most important shopping streets.  On the right, you see the 14th-century church, Chiesa di Orsanmichele, adorned with important sculptures by artists such as Donatello and Ghiberti.

Continuing along Via Calzaiouli, you come to the breathtaking Piazza della Signoria, with the luxury stationery shop, Pineider. Just a few steps further is the historic Caffè Rivoire, which has long been a gathering place for artists and intellectuals.  The café’s home-made chocolate is not to be missed!

Continuing along Via de’ Gondi and Borgo de’ Greci, you arrive at Chiesa di Santa Croce, a Franciscan church and monastery of incomparable beauty.  In addition to housing frescoes by Giotto and memorials to some of Florence’s most illustrious figures, Santa Croce is also home to La Scuola del Cuoio, one of the first leather-goods workshops in the city.

If you’re starting to flag at this stage, we have the perfect solution: stock up on energy at the renowned Vivoli ice-cream parlour, just around the corner from Piazza Santa Croce, in Via Isola delle Stinche. The famed gelateria has been making its own delicious concoctions since 1930. By booking in advance, you can even take part in a traditional ice-cream making lesson, followed by a tasting.

At the end of Via Ghibellina, on the left, you reach the Museo Nazionale del Bargello, known for its magnificent sculptures.  You then come to Piazza San Firenze, location of L’Emporio San Firenze, a shop that has been crafting wrought-iron objects and lamps since 1939.  Continuing on Via della Condotta, you come across two long-established Florentine names:  Nencioni and Bizzarri.  The first specialises in picture frames and antique prints, while the second is one of the last remaining, old-fashioned apothecaries, selling all manner of lotions, potions, spices and herbs. An experience not to be missed.

Suggested restaurants:
 - Osteria del Caffè Italiano (Via Isola delle Stinche 11, 13 r) 

- Cantinetta dei Verrazzano (Via dei Tavolini 18, 20 r) 

If you’d prefer to be accompanied on these tours, we would be delighted to book a professional guide or a personal shopper for you.


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