A night tour to discover a new image of Florence
Thanks to a Florence by night tour you have the unmissable opportunity to discover the city in an alternative way and in all its beauty, a city full of stories to discover and unpublished images to see. It’s all that you can enjoy staying away from the confusion of the daytime hours, when Florence is assaulted by crowds of tourists.
When the air coming from the Arno river refreshes the atmosphere it will be the time we can begin this journey discovering the monuments of the historic centre, admirable under another light and from another perspective. At sunset, we can go through the medieval alleys of Florence and observe, with the appropriate calm that this requires, what can be deciphered from the building’s façades, from the inscriptions on the walls and from the signs on the floor. The spaces of the Florentine streets are silent custodians of the important events of men and women who lived here; therefore it is only by a tour by night that you can have a vision of the historic centre of Florence as you cannot have during the day, when tourists’ queues hamper you from admiring the outside of the monuments in all their splendour.
The charm of Piazza della Signoria
We start the tour of Florence by night from Piazza della Signoria, the core of the historic centre, where the monuments and works of famous artists such as Michelangelo, Cellini, Giambologna or even Palazzo Vecchio – suggestively illuminated – will reveal a different ‘story of Florence’, a different story from the one that tourists hastily claim to discover during the day; there are many events and secrets that need to be revealed about what you see – and what you don’t see – inside this square.
We will then move to one of the medieval quarters of Florence, in the area between Palazzo Vecchio and the Duomo.
The Florentine night in the “Oltrarno”
In the area between via del Corso and Piazza de’ Cerchi we will discover the events of some of the well-known families involved in quarrels in Middle Ages, in many cases mentioned by Dante Alghieri in the Divine Comedy; they wrote one of the most dramatic – though engrossing – pages of the medieval history of Florence.
After seeing the reasons that turned the Florentine families against each other, we approach the Arno river passing through Via Por Santa Maria; stopping at the Mercato del Porcellino (the market colonnade), we will see a detail of the loggia you cannot notice during the day because it is hidden from the sellers’ stands: the white marble disk in the centre of the floor was used in the past on very special occasions by merchants… we will discover together which one it was.
We will cross the Arno via Ponte Vecchio, one of the symbols of Florence which, being the oldest bridge in the city, is the repository of secrets that escape to the most of visitors frequenting it during the day. A visit to the Oltrarno area – or di là d’Arno (beyond the Arno), as it is called by the Florentines – will finally give you the image of a less touristy and more ‘popular’ Florence. The whole area of the left bank of the river is, in fact, the most frequented by the locals: in the hours after work, the Florentines love to spend time chatting in a pleasant place where they can find their usual company, sipping a glass of good wine taken from a Vinaio, the typical Florentine tavern.
The streets with particular names …
You can savour the pleasant atmosphere of the Florentine night when we pass through Piazza Santo Spirito, the best-known place in the Florentine nightlife, where many restaurants have excellent food deals accompanied by a good drink; there are many particularly suggestive places in this area of Florence. From Piazza Santo Spirito we move around to discover the lesser-known things of the town, such as the curious names given to some streets in the neighbourhood: in fact, there are here toponyms such as Via Toscanella or, some fairly ambiguous, Piazza della Passera, referring to important personalities, or to ‘very old jobs’ having taken place here for some time …
Ponte Santa Trinita and the panoramic view of the Lungarno
The visit of the Oltrarno is in short one of the most salient stages of the Florence by night tour, this precisely because in this area you have the opportunity to get to know another face of the city and, above all, you can meet the locals. We will head back to the Arno to return to the river right bank; we do this by passing through Ponte Santa Trinita, another Florentine place rich in history which is where important events toke place – some of these are even related to the name of the street that is walked to reach the bridge: Via Maggio. On Santa Trinita bridge is where the meeting between Dante Alghieri and a very special character took place; he – or she – was so special that the ‘supreme poet’ mentioned him/her in the Divine Comedy…
Ponte Santa Trinita is also a place from which you can enjoy a picturesque view of the Lungarno (that is, the public walk on the river), but also of some beautiful buildings in Florence, such as Palazzo Spini Feroni, or the monumental Palazzo Corsini, visible on the right bank of the river. In the end, looking towards the east, you cannot fail to be enchanted facing the view of Ponte Vecchio – spectacularly illuminated.
The hour is late, the silence has fallen. Now Florence is showing itself in all its magic …