Florence districts


There is no mistaking Florence, with the enormous imposing structure of the Duomo marking its skyline as the centre of the city. The beautifully preserved network of streets scattered with geometric Renaissance palaces such as Palazzo Strozzi and Palazzo Medici-Riccardi also make this city special. Furthermore, Florence is divided into five districts and the centre is divided into four sections (San Giovanni, Santa Croce, Santa Maria Novella and Santo Spirito Oltrano). Below you will find a breif insight into Florence and each of its districts.

San Giovanni takes its name from St John the Baptist, Patron of Florence, in whose honour the Baptistery was built. This area covers most of the historic city centre and is now full of exclusive boutiques that are concentrated in a few of the most well known streets. The university and the Tribunale di Firenze are also located in this district.

Santa Maria Novella is named after the Santa Maria Novella church – a Dominican basilica and important cultural centre during the Middle Ages. The train station of the same name is also situated nearby. Not far from the station is the Basso Fortress. The district is also home to the Parco delle Cascine, one of the city’s green oases. In this area lies Via Tornabuoni, a street which is famous for being home to some of Italy’s most prestigious designer boutiques.

Santa Croce is named after Santa Croce church, a medieval Franciscan basilica. The National Central Library (built in the tenth century) is also located here.

At the heart of the Santo Spirito Oltrano is the Piazza Santo Spirito, which has retained much of its historic charm and is filled with artist’s workshops. The famous Piazzale Michelangelo (with its incredible view) is also in this district. From here, it is possible to see one of the few remaining stretches of medieval wall around the Belvedere Fort that was spared from demolition in the nineteenth century.

Campo di Marte is home to many historical buildings dating back to the turn of the century, as well as to many modern stone and cement apartment blocks which were built from the fifties onwards. There are also numerous sports venues, including the Franchi Stadium. Fiesole, and the Bellariva zone are close by; these are swathes of Piagentina countryside that always induced feelings of nostalgia in Tuscan painters.

Gavinana is south of the Arno and leads to the well-known Chianti wine region.

Isolotto e Legnaia combine areas of the city that were developed during the sixties and seventies and are still expanding to this day.

Rifredi is in the northwestern part of the city and is a place of contrasts; home to many beautiful country villas as well as industrialized residential areas and host to many Chinese and African immigrants.

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