Florence off the Beaten Path

Florence is one of the most popular destinations in Italy with an astonishing number of over two million arrivals per year. Because of this, it is considered too crowded, loud, and busy, factors that often overshadow the true beauty of the Tuscan capital in the eyes of its visitors. There is, however, an area that is less touristy, more vibrant and perfect for those waiting for a chance to get happily lost among the colorful buildings and narrow streets. It is called the Oltrarno district and here are five good reasons why you should check it out:

  • Accommodation is cheaper

When in search for hotels in Florence, one must think about the accommodation’s facilities, pricing and proximity to the major tourist attractions. The good news is, staying in the Oltrarno district is cheaper than accommodation sites on the Northern bank of the Arno River. By choosing a guesthouse you can enjoy all the services it has to offer along with a friendly host making you feel right at home. As an added bonus, all major attractions are within walking distance – you just have to cross the Ponte Vecchio.

Ponte Vecchio -image via Trover by Giuljana Umlauf

Ponte Vecchio -image via Trover by Giuljana Umlauf

  • The locals are more friendly

By crossing the bridge towards the Southern riverbank, first thing you’ll notice is that there’s less English and more Italian in conversation. You’ll encounter a lot of locals instead of tourists in the Oltrarno district, who are more than eager to talk about their beautiful city. You can even hire them for an in-depth tour of Florence, seeing the famous attractions combined with a taste of some off the beaten path sights.

  • There is plenty to see

Not all tourist attractions are on the Northern bank of the Arno – the Oltrarno quarter also has plenty to offer. You can visit the largest museum complex of Florence, the Pitti Palace. Boboli Gardens is also located in the Southern bank of the Arno, a beautiful green park decorated with Renaissance sculptures.  The Santo Spirito basilica, the Santa Maria della Carmine church, the Zoo, and the Porcelain Museum are also popular attractions of the area.

Boboli Gardens by Kaylee Spinhirn

Boboli Gardens – image via Trover by Kaylee Spinhirn

  • The view is better

Although the tower of the Dome is open for tourists offering a panoramic view of Florence, visitors can not truly appreciate the majesty of the edifice until they’ve seen it from a distance. One can admire the city from above from either Michelangelo Square or Belvedere Fortress by climbing a set of stairs.

Piazzale Michelangelo - image via Trover by Alessandro Ricciardi

Piazzale Michelangelo – image via Trover by Alessandro Ricciardi

View from Michelangelo Square - image via Trover by Miguel Vasquez

View from Michelangelo Square – image via Trover by Miguel Vasquez

  • Everything is more authentic

Oltrarno is known for its colorful and vibrant atmosphere, emphasized mostly by local culture. It has a different ambiance compared to the Northern part of the city and has a more genuine vibe to it. There are a number of local artisans and workshops, whose owners are more than happy to demonstrate how they make their leather goods, wood carvings or handmade books, the perfect place to buy local souvenirs. Since the whole area is less globalized and more focused on enhancing its authenticity, culinary experiences are more likely to have a more real, Italian feel than in the jam-packed touristy area of Florence.

authentic Italian market - image via Trover by Tonette Pineda

authentic Italian market – image via Trover by Tonette Pineda

If you’re aiming on visiting Florence anytime soon, check out Why Florence is the Perfect Destination For Every Type of Traveller, the 6 Tricks in Planning Your Budget Trip to Florence and the 6 Best Places to Stay in Florence. If you’re a budget traveler you might want to find out how to visit Florence on the Cheap.

Article part of the #HipmunkCityLove Campaign. Also, if you liked the post, don’t hesitate to Pin it to help spread the word. Thanks! 🙂 (Photo via Flickr by Roberto Faccenda)

Florence Off the Beaten Path

2 Responses to “Florence off the Beaten Path

  • I’d love to visit Florence, I think I would really enjoy it. Plus, I heard they have awesome pizza! 😀

    • It’s one of my favorite cities ever.. even if it’s crowded almost all the time.. The architecture is just amazing. You should put it on your bucket list! 😀 I am sure you’d love it.

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