Previous posts in this series about a walk in Florence:
From the Duomo to the Isle of the Dead
At Cimitero degli Inglesi-Firenze
There aren’t so many photos in this leg; this section of the walk takes us through residential streets and past palazzos–some grand, some sedate, some squat–now occupied by hotels, B & Bs, and so on.
Leaving the English Cemetery, and not wanting to walk alongside the major roadway (exhaust fumes!), you might cross Piazzale Donatello over to Via Vittorio Alfieri. The street was relatively quiet, but it’s also relatively nondescript. There a few palazzos on the street (the door at #5 and eaves at # 7 are lovely), but, overall, it’s pretty contemporary. You’ll pass memorial plaques to writer Pellegrino Artusi and politician Piero Puccioni.
The street becomes Via Luigi Carlo Farini; look for the Sinagoga e Museo di Arte e Cultura Ebraica (Synagogue & Museum of Hebraic Art and Culture). Built in “the Moorish style” in the late 19th century, it’s a stunning pink and white, blue-domed structure.
Right onto Via dei Pilastri; immediately on the left is Palazzo Pozzolini, now converted into flats. Actually, this street is primarily residential and populated by formerly religious houses, including the Augustinian Monastery of Candeli; the order was suppressed under Napolean, and the building has been repurposed a number of times. It’s now Carabinieri headquarters. Adjacent, on the corner with Borga Pinti, is the monastery’s church, Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Candeli, which is not an active church.
Across the street, at the junction with Borgo Pinti, cross over to view not one but two tabernacles. One, the Tabernacolo di Montiloro a glass-covered fresco of Madonna and child (mid-14th century), the other—directly opposite—a wooden statue of Saint Sebastian (15th century). Both were damaged in the 1966 Arno flood, but both have been restored.
Turn right onto Borgo Pinti. It’s lined with palazzos. Outside of a few shops and hotels, the street seems largely residential (probably a number of Air BNBs here). The doors and archways on this street are interesting, but, for now, it’s just a quiet byway. The 15th century Palazzo Caccini stands on the corner with Via Nuova de ‘Caccini; it’s now apartments. Hotel Monna Lisa occupies the 14th century Palazzo Marzichi-Lenzi.
Just across from Hotel Monna Lisa is Palazzo Bellini delle Stelle AKA Palazzo del Giambologna as the great Renaissance sculptor Giambologna lived and worked in this place (see his Rape of the Sabine in Piazza della Signoria).
Palazzo Roffia, a remarkable 16th century building, stands where Borgo Pinti meets Via di Mezzo. It houses Palazzo Graziani, a bed and breakfast with outstanding views of the city. There’s a niche above the street sign on the corner of Borgo Pinti and Via di Mezzo where an object—probably a tabernacle—stood at one point. The street becomes so narrow, with the buildings so tall, that it’s a wonder any sunlight can creep in at all.
Borgo Pinti ends at a junction with via Sant’Egidio and Via dell’Oriuolo. Just to the right, where Via Sant’Egidio and Via dell’Oriuolo meet, there’s a slightly trapezoidal building, the Palazzo degli Sporti. Legend has is that Michelangelo had a hand in designing this building, but there’s no evidence supporting that claim. Pass under the arch—Arco di San Pierino—and into the piazza.
Next post: Lost Again
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