The Oltrarno

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The Oltrarno

Hello The Oltrarno

Uncluttered and utterly charming, The Oltrarno is where you can enjoy the very best of Florence away from the crowds. The neighborhood was for a time used mainly as a place for visitors to park their car on their way to the city center. Spend a few days in The Oltrarno and you'll quickly realize how much they were missing out on. Bought by the Medici family in the middle of the 16th-century, the magnificent Palazzo Pitti now exhibits works by the likes of Rubens, Raphael, and Titian. The Boboli Gardens next door are no less impressive, while the frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel are some of the very best examples of their kind.

Much of what makes the Oltrarno so great is far more understated, however. Wander down the winding side streets and across the pretty squares and you'll stumble across all manner of arts and crafts stores selling handmade jewelry and ceramics. Lively bars and traditional pizzerias are on every corner, while the city center is only ever a short walk across the Ponte Vecchio.

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Stories about Florence

Peek over the walls and you'll see the real Florence

Peek over the walls and you'll see the real Florence

“Rome is a whore,” says Giambaccio, a ploud Florence native. It has just gone midnight, and we have wandered through the moonstruck streets around Florence’s Piazza San Spirito for hours before winding up here: in a haphazardly cluttered art studio Giambaccio has modeled on a ship’s deck. “She opens her legs for everybody. But Florence...” He mimes chastity – the shutting of two knees – with his fingers. “We are a walled city. We are closed.”