‘Oltrarno su Misura,’ Florence Neighorhood Guide

Santo Spirito

‘Oltrarno Su Misura,’ a newly published guide and App available on Apple and Android has just landed in Florence. The guide written in Italian and translated into English will take tourists as well as Florentines through the area known as the Oltrarno, located just beyond Ponte Vecchio.

The neighbourhood, deemed by Lonely Planet (travel guide publisher) as one of the coolest in the world, will encompass the districts of San Frediano, Porta Romana, Santo Spirito and San Niccolò.

The City of Florence, the Oltrarno Promuove 2.0 committee and the Chamber of Commerce have worked together on what has been a two-year project to promote and preserve this modern and ‘hip’ area also home to the many of the city’s craftsmen.

With the aim of uncovering a new side of Florence, the organisers have restructured, many important buildings and squares, (one of which is the Piazza del Carmine), preserved green areas and repaired 650 square metres (700 square ft.) of the city wall.

For Leonardo Bassilichi, president of the Chamber of Commerce, it has been vital to ‘decongest’ the city centre, by encouraging tourists to visit places such as Oltrarno, away from the well-known tourist ‘hotspots’ such as the Uffizi gallery and Ponte Vecchio.

For those looking to discover Florence in a new way to the millions of tourists that come every year, this guide will certainly reveal some hidden gems.

Made up of 280 pages, the guide includes some of the best restaurants, bars, clubs, gardens and parks, churches, museums, artisan’s workshops, theatres and small, independent shops. Photographs by Dario Garofalo and extensive information describe many of the must-see places.

The App acts more as an interactive map and a virtual route that pinpoints suggested places to visit, including the trendiest bars and clubs.

Oltrarno is known among the young people, for its great nightlife and trendy bars. It is also where many student accommodations are located. Their lifestyle has livened the streets, particularly those of Santo Spirito, offering many events such as live music playing during the evenings.

Although this area is buzzing with life and activity, for those looking for a more relaxing afternoon, one area highlighted in the guide is the Boboli Gardens. These grounds extend over 45,000 square metres (490,000 square ft.), to create one of the greatest examples of Italian gardens, with grottos, flowerbeds, fountains and regal buildings.

The park is home to ‘the pond with an island’ known as the Neptune Fountain and Buontalenti’s grotto, an imitation of a cave built between 1583 and 1593 and designed in the Mannerist style for the Medici family. Inside the grotto, two rooms are adorned with faux stalactites and sculpted forms of animals, gods and peasants. Another room holds replicas of Michelangelo’s original, unfinished Slaves.

Piazzale Michelangelo, is just one of the squares mentioned in the guide. This square, dedicated to Michelangelo Buonarroti, hosts copies of some of his most famous works: David as well as four Allegories of the Medici Chapels in San Lorenzo. Located at the top of a hill, it provides a captivating panoramic view of the entire city centre.

Also included in ‘Oltrarno Su Misura’ are, the Torrigiani Gardens, the Pitti Palace, the San Niccolò Tower, the Bardini Villa and the Goldoni Theatre.

The organisers are currently working on opening an ‘Oltrarno Point’ which will be located in the former church of San Carlo dei Barnabiti on Via Sant’Agostino 23/n, where the public will be able to get a copy of ‘Oltrarno Su Misura.’

The App can be downloaded on both the Apple Store and Android Google Play Store. (karen gee)