I am having some serious bouts of cabin fever. With spring on the way, I’m day-dreaming about long walks through Florence. Now, I know this is hard to believe, but there will be some nay-sayers out there who think they’ve already seen it all and aren’t particularly jazzed to stroll through Piazza della Signoria again (don’t ask who they might be, they know better than to make themselves known around here).
Nevertheless, in celebration of spring, I thought it might be fun to explore some of Florence’s outdoor spaces that don’t get the same spotlight as the usual heavy hitters. Below, we suggest five underrated piazze to visit based on your current favorite hangout spots.
If you like Parco delle Cascine, try…
The Cascine is deservedly Florence’s beloved backyard, but if you find yourself on the east side of the city instead of the west, consider checking out Piazza d’Azeglio. This nice plot of green space is the size of a full city block and just steps from the Synagogue. Tree-lined boulevards, a fountain, carousel and playground all make for a dynamic space that feels like an oasis in the midst of its stone surroundings.
If you like Piazza Santo Spirito, try…
Many venture across the Arno to find “authentic” Florence and never make it past Piazza Santo Spirito. Not that we blame them–the piazza-turned-hip-hangout is one of our favorite spots as well. If you’re looking for something even more “local,” however, head further to San Frediano. There you’ll find Piazza Tasso, a welcoming place that’s the heart of its community. The piazza is lined by shops and vendors, boasts a playground and tennis courts, and is framed on one side by the old city walls. Looking for more info on this neighborhood? Start here.
If you like Piazza Pitti, try…
What do piazze Pitti and Demidoff have in common? Not much, except that hanging in either Oltrarno spot puts you squarely in the former front yard of a prominent Florentine figure. In fact, the centerpiece of Piazza Demidoff is a monument honoring its famous namesake, Count Nicholas Demidoff, a Russian ambassador who lived in a palace bordering the piazza during the early 19th century. Today, the lush, small space manages to remain exquisitely charming and relatively overlooked despite its prominent location along the Arno. Grab a seat on a bench to enjoy river views and prime people watching.
If you like Piazza della Repubblica, try…
Piazza della Libertà
Piazza della Repubblica is known for its famous Arcone, but did you know Florence boasts another triumphal arch over in Piazza della Libertà? It was erected opposite the Porta San Gallo, the northern entrance to the city’s old walls, in 1737 to welcome to Hapsburg-Lorraines to Florence after the end of the Medici. Granted, it’s not the city’s favorite monument, but it’s surrounded by greenery and fountains and worth a visit. So we say brave the traffic circle that surrounds it (careful, it can get treacherous!) and take a stroll through Florence’s other arch.
If you like Mercato Nuovo, try…
Piazza dei Ciompi
One of the touted tourist must-dos is a visit to Florence’s historic markets. San Lorenzo and Mercato Nuovo see lots of foot traffic, but fewer visitors seek out the vendor stalls in Piazza dei Ciompi. It’s a shame, because it’s here where guests can find truly one-of-a-kind items to remind them of their travels. The spot is brimming with vintage treasures and boasts a larger flea market on the last Sunday of every month. Plus, it’s home to Vasari’s Loggia del Pesce.
NB: There’s always debate as to whether or not the stalls here should be moved for restoration purposes, but as of now, you’ll find the market up and running.
So which new square are you headed to first? Once these are checked off your list, here are few more of our favorites to explore: Piazza del Limbo, Piazza della Passera, Piazza Savonarola. Happy piazza hunting!