The other side of Florence

The other side of Florence

Musement takes a look at what to do and see in Florence so you can get to know another side of the city that goes beyond the well-trodden tourist itineraries.

Every day, the city rightfully called the “Cradle of the Renaissance” endures an onslaught of visitors. Florence houses precious treasures of Italian culture, art, history, literature, and even fashion–many designer and leather brands were created there. When you’re visiting, it is simply a must to visit the Uffizi, to cross the Ponte Vecchio, and admire churches such as Santa Maria Novella and the Duomo. But if you have quite a bit of time and would like to complement your tour of these classics with some less famous attractions—or if it’s not your first time visiting Florence—we have created a list (obviously, non-exhaustive) with some ideas for discovering a side of Florence that will never stop surprising you.

1. The English Cemetery

This cemetery was placed outside the city walls when it was built in 1820 because it wasn’t Catholic. Besides the marvelous statues you can admire (and even sketch, if you found some inspiration from the Florentine masters in the museums), you can pay your respects at the tombs of famous personages from the past. A number of renowned figures are buried here, among whom you will find the legendary Fyodor Dostoyevsky as well as the last descendants of Shakespeare.

2. Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica

Smell is perhaps the most fascinating of the five senses, and our most cherished memories are often connected to a particular and distinct scent. The art of making perfumes is just as fascinating, and you can discover it right in the heart of Florence. Pay a visit to the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, founded by Dominican friars who began producing fragrances in 1381. In fact, in 1533 they created a special scent for none other than Catherine de Medici. This historical establishment is an incredibly artistic and historic landmark, worth a visit just to admire the ancient halls of the store—not to mention the fact that you can take a bottle of Florentine perfume history home with you.

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3. Evangelical Lutheran Church of Florence

After visiting the many wonderful Catholic churches in Florence, the Evangelical Lutheran Church on Lungarno Torrigiani offers something a little different. It’s interesting to compare its neo-medieval façade and the simplicity of its interior with the lavish decorations of the churches you’ve seen everywhere else in the city.

4. Bardini Museum

A house-turned-museum shaped by the eclectic tastes of its founder, the Bardini Museum features ultramarine blue walls, fine coffered ceilings, and a collection that includes more than 3,600 objects that span various centuries ranging from paintings, sculptures, armor, and musical instruments to pottery, coins, medals, and antique furniture. Even more, the museum often hosts interesting photography and contemporary art exhibitions.

5. The antique dealers of Santo Spirito

On the topic of antique furniture, the Santo Spirito district—one of the most bohemian neighborhoods of the city, and at the same time one of the most authentic—is dotted with small antique shops where you can find unusual highly valuable treasures to take home with you.

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6. Horticulture Garden

If the amazing Boboli Gardens left you yearning to get lost between rows of lush plants on other marvelous grounds, you must see the Horticulture Garden. An experimental vegetable garden during the mid-19th century, the Horticulture Garden later became the backdrop for prestigious exhibitions and international fairs. Its must-see attractions include a colorful dragon reminiscent of the Gaudi-designed Park Güell in Barcelona; the Giardino dei Giusti, a mirror image of the Garden of the Righteous in Jerusalem; and a stunning giant steel-and-glass greenhouse where you can admire exotic plants while traveling a few centuries back in time.

7. The restaurants

No trip is complete without a generous helping of the local cuisine. Here are our favorite restaurants in Florence, a thorough selection that suits all tastes and preferences.

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