Oltrarno is the side of Florence on the South side of the Arno river which divides the city. 90% of the major tourist attractions are on the North side, on the oltrarno side I'm struggling to think of much beyond the Palazzo dei Pitti, the Giardino di Boboli and the Piazzale Michaelangelo. We might briefly visit the piazzale. Maybe. Still, there's a lot to see. The oltrarno is less a renaissance theme park and more an actual city.
We'll start at the Porta Romana which is the Southern entrance to the walled portion of oltrarno.
Really big door.
And move on to the Piazza del Carmine which fronts Santa Maria del Carmine.
Inside the church.
Nearby in the Piazza Santo Spirito they're having a market mostly frequented by locals.
There's a little park nearby called the Piazza Tasso with a memorial to the victims of a massacre of fascist resisters killed here. I'd passed by this before but had never read it.
There's much to see in the area if one goes looking.
I never went through your great big door or gate as when I was visiting friends in Florence - indeed most were Oltrarno - I arrived by train or coach from Perugia.
Indeed, there are those lovely everyday areas - I did visit the Palazzo Pitti but despite my fine arts background, would never spend my time in museums.
This has me thinking of a friend who lived in the kind of neighbourhoods you are showing, who died not long ago - and I don't mean a resistance fighter who died at 85 or 90. He wasn't "young", but not so much older than we are; early 60s if I recall. Wonderful man.
The Western gate- it's actually two- of oltrarno is called Porta San Frediano.
This is a nearby girls' school housed in an ex-convent.
And of course doors!
Torre San Niccolò, dressed for the Notte Bianca.
I stopped for lunch at a little enoteca called Fuori Le Mura (outside the walls) for a bite and had a insalata caprese at an outside table. Just as I was finishing a hailstorm hit. Didn't deter this guy from helping me clean my plate though.
Porta San Niccolò, the Eastern gate to oltrarno.
Oh well, the rain makes for atmospheric photos.
The next day was drier, so I decided to hike up the hill overlooking town.
This is as close as I'll take you to the Boboli Gardens, a peek over the wall from the grounds of il Instituto dell"Arte.
Oltrarno quickly becomes very rural feeling once one gets up the hill a bit.
Getting well up the hill now.
Next installment we'll head down the hill again by a different path.
Oh, these photos are even more remarkable. I am particularly impressed by the paving stones in the rainy photos. Are there a lot of paving stones like this or was it in a very limited area?
It's maybe half paving stones and half asphalt. The old narrow streets tend to be stone and the newer wider streets or ones out of the center that tend to be asphalted. The stone paved streets are generally much nicer than the cobbles you frequently see in many old city centers in Europe.
Let's stroll back down the hill. The first place we come to is the grounds of the Basilica di San Mineato al Monte.
And coming around from the back side the first thing I see is a cemetery, Il Cimitero delle Porte Sante specifically.
As I'm leaving the cemetery I notice a sign saying the taking photos inside the cemetery is forbidden. You think I should delete the ones I already took? Yeah, me either obviously. It's our duty as free men and women to ignore silly rules.
Next we go around to the Basilica which has a piazza fronting it with a pretty impressive view of the city below.
I'd show you pictures of the pretty amazing interior but there's a sign near the door... and feeling fortunate to have flaunted- albeit inadvertently- the law once I'm not eager to press my luck.
Just down the hill from the basilica is the Piazzale Michaelangelo which is pretty much a tourist trap but with more impressive views across the Arno towards the duomo and the city center.
This is the third David I've seen in Florence. The "real" one is across the river.
I am always fascinated how the kingdom of the dead mirrors the kingdom of the living, with its ritzy neighborhoods, its middle class areas and its poortown. You would think that death is not the great equalizer after all -- and a lot of the rich people are probably also expecting a high class afterlife, far from the deceased poor.
When you see those pictures of Florence, you understand that the city is such a huge draw for tourists. Unfortunately, it's permanently jammed, so it's nice to see the place from further away.
Actually the jammage isn't permanent and some commonsense will help here. These photos of the duomo, which is the tourist epicenter of Florence, were taken in late April which isn't high tourist season but hardly Mid-winter either. It had rained pretty good an hour or two earlier but it was still a beautiful afternoon.
I wouldn't even think of visiting any heavily touristed place in mid-season, that'd be daft. Plus the weather in Italy in the shoulder seasons is much nicer than in Mid-summer heat. My father was in Florence last Winter when they had an unusual heavy snowfall and he said it was really beautiful walking around the deserted city.
Hey, Fumobici (& your delinquent alter-ego ;D) ~~ I haven't commented on this wonderful thread because I can't see most of the photos on this very quirky computer I've been using. What I can see may be even more interesting and beautiful than your many excellent previous threads, although I doubt that's possible.
Of the few I can see, the shot of the door wth protrusions shot from that extreme angle below is just out of this world. I also love the stone pot of irises perfectly framed against the dark tree beyond.
As always, thanks for the beautiful report. Anyone who wants to share this easily can go to Anyport's FB Page.
Fumobici, every single one of these photos is a jewel -- no way to pick a favorite. However, I must say that the first long shot of the river in #7, the one with the bridges, just about brought tears to my eyes with its beauty.
Post by frenchmystiquetour on Aug 19, 2011 21:58:59 GMT
Hey Fumo, sorry I'm just getting around to commenting on this thread. At the time you posted I was busy for two weeks biking with a prince and temporarily living next door to a princess. Nothing out of the ordinary but it did keep me from being on-line too much so I didn't catch this thread until now. I have fond memories of living for a short time in Italy and I still go back to see my sister who lives there. Been to Florence a few times and your photos really capture the image I have in my head of what it was like. Not that I don't find a lot of beauty around where I am but now I'm really craving a trip to Italy.
Those cemetery photos sort of make Père Lachaise look a bit run down. I never made it up the hill to where you went so it's nice to see the non-touristy side of Florence. I thought your photos over Florence from way up high were more scenic than the ones you said were from the touristy piazza. Funny that both times I've been to Florence were in April so I got to see it at its non-touristy best, like you. The rain storm made Florence look like the deserted villages I visit. Thanks for taking me down memory lane Fumo. Awesome photos.
The piazza fronting San Mineato al Monte is a nice place to see the city from, not nearly as touristy as the piazzale Michaelangelo. The piazzale is kind of like viewing Paris from in front of Sacré-Cœur, nice view but kind of spoilt by tourist hell; San Mineato is closer to the view from Parc de Belleville in terms of touristiness except instead of cheesy apartments behind you you have a stunning medieval church.