Previous Post in this series: To Cappella Brancacci–Part I: Via Dante Alighieri
Starting from Piazza della Signoria, and after dodging crowds at Loggia dei Lanzi and maneuvering through the Piazzale dei Uffizi, turn left onto Lungarno Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici. The streets that front the Arno on either side of the river are named “Lungarno”; the street name is modified every so often as sections are named after famous Florentines. For example, Lungarno degli Acciaiuoli, the stretch of road from Ponte Vecchio to Ponte Santa Trinita, becomes Lungarno Corsini, then Lungarno Vespucci, and so on.
Many people here are likely pausing in front of the river for photos or heading for the Ponte Vecchio. It’s easier to move through if you stay on the pavement across from the riverbank.
The crowds do thin after crossing Via Por Santa Maria, so it’s easier to move at your own pace on the riverside pavement and admire the view of the Oltrarno. (aside: the space between Ponte Vecchio and Palazzo Spini features many contemporary buildings as the Nazis exploded mines here during the war).
Cross at Ponte Santa Trinita, and turn to the right on Lungarno Guicciardini. You’ll pass a number of opulent palazzi here, and there’s a magnificent view of the palazzi on the other side of the river.
Beginning with the elegant 16th century Palazzo Piccioli (across the street from Palazzo Spini), followed by the Palazzi Gianfigliazzi. Both buildings were constructed in the 13th century (and consistently renovated); if you have the funds or desire, you can stay in one of them now. Near the Ponte all Carreia, see the stunning Palazzo Corsini al Parione. built by the wealthy and powerful Corsini family in 17th and 18th centuries. People live here, but it’s available for event rentals.
At Ponte alla Carraia, have a view of the city behind you (as with Ponte Santa Trinita, the Nazis blew up the earlier bridge), and turn left onto Piazza Nazario Sauro.
Continue for just a block to Borgo San Frediano—turn left. You’ll amble between palazzi, including the 16th century Palazzo Soderini and Palazzo Magnani Feroni, which face each other, until you arrive at Piazza del Carmine.
Turn left onto Piazza del Carmine, and you will see the imposing, somber stone and brick Chiesa di Santa Maria del Carmine at the end of the way.
A row of homes hides a garden from which trees rise above roofs. These homes, the church, and the brick and terracotta Palazzo Rospigliosi Pallavicini border the square.
In the distance, sight the dome of Chiesa di San Frediano in Cestello, a 17th century Baroque church.
When I last visited, the square itself was bare pavement. There were no benches and no shade. Outside of the church steps, the only places to perch included few concrete planters. Since my experience, the city has added trees and benches at the far end of the piazza, so it’s likely a pleasanter experience waiting there. Because, if your goal is to view the frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel, you will have to wait. Entry is limited and timed, and for good reason.
Next: The chapel.