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10 NONBANAL ATTRACTIONS OF FLORENCE

Bargello Palace
In the Middle Ages, the Bargello Palace was the residence of the city administration, then the prison and barracks. In 1865, the building was turned into the National Museum and now it hides the treasures of Italian sculpture, the work of Benvenuto Cellini, Sansovino, four sculptures by Michelangelo and the whole hall dedicated to the sculptures of Donatello.

Instead of crowding in Santa Maria del Fiore, head to the Duomo Museum, where all his masterpieces are collected. The building itself Donatello and Brunelleschi used as a workshop during the construction of the cathedral. Now, here assembled: the silver altar of the Baptistery, created by Pollaiolo, Michelozzo, Kennin and Verrocchio, sculptural decoration Giotto’s bell tower work of Andrea Pisano, Luca della Robbia, and other statues by Donatello and Andrea Pisano with the third bell tower level, unfinished sculpture of Michelangelo’s “Pieta” and others relics.

If you look closely, then on the facades of many palazzo you can notice small openings, usually covered with a wooden door. They are called buche da vino, which literally translates as “wine holes.” They appeared in the 15th century – in a rather difficult period for Florentine merchants, so the Medici family allowed them to sell wine directly from the cellars of their own palaces. It cost this wine much cheaper than in taverns, so innovation turned out to be beneficial not only for winemakers, but also for buyers. One of these holes can be seen next to the Palace of Strozzi.

Having moved to live in sunny Florence, English collector, designer, poet and scholar Herbert Horn began to restore one of the Renaissance palaces. During his lifetime, he turned his home into a real museum with an impressive collection of Italian sculpture, painting and ceramics. The main thing is that all the interiors are preserved in their original form. Walking through the rooms, do not miss the main masterpiece – Santo Stefano brush Giotto.

A secret corridor connects Palazzo Vecchio in Piazza Signoria and Palazzo Pitti. It was built by Giorgio Vasari in 1565 in five months by order of Duke Cosimo I and consists of several sections. One of them runs wall to wall with the Church of Santa Felicita. Especially for Cosimo I, I made a balcony window so that the duke was present at the service, but remained hidden from the eyes of the parishioners. The most famous section of the corridor passes right on the Ponte Vecchio bridge. About 700 XVI-XVII centuries paintings by Roman and Neapolitan masters and about 1500 self-portraits of painters from Italy and other countries, including Raphael Santi, Peter Paul Rubens, Diego Velasquez, Orest Kiprensky, Boris Kustodiev, Marc Chagall and many others are kept here. You can see the exposure only with a guide.

Florence is the birthplace of the best tanners. Shops with leather goods are found on every corner. Unusual products are presented in the boutique of Dimitri Villoresi. The designer creates limited bags and wallets of fancy shapes. Bags are made for each customer. The work process can take up to a month. But first, the designer communicates with the client in order to understand what he needs. It is almost impossible to buy something right away only if you convince the master that you came quite a while and return to Florence not soon. You can enter the boutique simply out of curiosity: all visitors are allowed to observe the work process.

The palace was built in the XIV century for the merchant family Davizzi. Throughout its history, the palazzo has been in the possession of the Bartolini dynasty, then the scholar and historian Bernardo Davanti, whose name is now, and then the antiquarian Elia Volpi. Antique furniture, frescoes on the walls, carved chests, beautiful utensils, sculptures and paintings, a collection of lace from the 16th – 20th centuries – here you truly immerse yourself in the atmosphere and life of the noble Florentines.

Few people know, but on the other bank of the Arno River, near the church of San Miniato, on the stairs of Monte alle Croci there is a garden of roses. On the territory of one hectare, 150 years have grown the most beautiful varieties of roses, irises (the symbol of Florence) and lemons. The garden, designed in 1865 by Giuseppe Poggi, recalls that the capital of Italy was once wanted to be transferred to Florence. This did not happen, but in 1895 the garden of roses was opened to all comers. You can get there from May to July for free.

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