Free Florence World Heritage Site Guided Tours
There are two free city guided tours offered on April 18 to celebrate the anniversary of Florence as a World Heritage site. It has been 40 years since Florence’s Centro Storico—the historical city center—was given the recognition, back in 1982. By 2021, areas in Oltrarno, such as San Miniato, were added as part of the ‘Historic Center’ of Florence, to be part of the UNESCO list.
Visitors and residents of the city can participate in two walks, both offered at 10 am and 3 pm and free of charge, only on Monday, April 18. There are limited spots available for each tour and reservations are required; they can be made via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Both itineraries visit the same landmarks and gardens, however, there is a distinction between the topics covered by the guide. The first option is a cultural and historical focused tour of the landmarks and gardens to which visitors will go. The second option tour revolves around green spaces; while taking the same route in reverse, the guide will go more in-depth on environmental and nature details.
Guests will meet at the San Niccolò Gate, and walk to the Iris Garden, then to San Salvatore al Monte, the Memorial Park (Parco della Rimembranza), the abbey of San Miniato al Monte, followed by a descent to the Rose Garden, with the final stop at the Porta San Miniato. The nature and environmental guide will include Poggi’s Ramps (Le Rampe). The cultural and historical tour will be guided by Florinda Nesticò from MUS.E, while Grazia Minutella is the guide for the nature and environmental tour.
The San Niccolò gate was built in 1324 and served as the easternmost gate of the city. Through wars and many conflicts, the gate remained standing, protected and hidden behind the hill of San Miniato. The structure is composed of pietra forte, a local sandstone that represents both fortitude and beauty.
San Miniato is a church located high up the hills near Piazzale Michelangelo. The basilica di San Miniato takes its name from the martyr St. Minias buried beneath it, a 3rd century Armenian who lived as a hermit near Florence. Works by some of the most famous Florentine artists of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance can be found in the church, and geometric designs of the Romanesque period adorn the facade.
The 19th century Le Rampe, designed by the architect Giuseppe Poggi, provides a walkway framed by enchanting stonework, fountains and greenery, up towards the breath-taking views found at Piazzale Michelangelo.
The tours are designed for adults and will take around two hours. Participants are advised to wear comfortable footwear and to bring water along. The walk includes both ascending and descending paths. (ted de veer)