The BBC Travel Show in Florence!

Hi, I’m Keith Wallace with the BBC. I’m going to be in your city for a few days working on a piece for The Travel Show in Florence. How about taking me around the city?
I thought about it for a second, then….Yes, sure!
The starting point for The Travel Show’s piece on Florence was the Uffizi Gallery entrance fee hike. It’s one of the most important museums in Italy. Keith wanted to show that Florence has a lot more to offer than the Uffizi. You can visit other places that are just as beautiful without paying to get in. After all…Florence is an open-air museum! He asked me to take him to a couple of lesser-known places in town that are free. I immediately proposed the Oratory of Buonomini di San Martino and Cimitero delle Porte Sante, or The Sacred Doors Cemetery.

The Oratory of Buonomini di San Martino

The Travel Show in Florence: Buonomini OratoryThe Confraternity of the Buonomini di San Martino was founded in 1441. It aimed to rescue “I poveri verghognosi”. They were the wealthy fallen in disgrace because of political conflict, economic upset, or other misfortunes. These people never asked publicly for charity because they were ashamed (vergognosi in italian). The twelve brothers (the so-called Buonomini, “good men”) still help these kinds of people today. At that time they wore a black cape and red hat, as they are easily recognizable in the oratory’s frescoes. These frescoes were painted in the XIV century by Ghirlandaio, a great Renaissance painter and Michelangelo’s teacher, and his workshop.

The Sacred Doors Cemetery

The idea of a burial place near San Miniato came around 1837, even though the cemetery was inaugurated eleven years later in 1848. The project was initially given to the architect Niccolò Matas (the creator of the Santa Croce façade). Simultaneously, the architect Giuseppe Poggi, creator of Viale dei Colli and Piazzale Michelangelo, was developing the new road network. In addition to many tombs in the neo-gothic, renaissance, and oriental styles, the cemetery houses the remains of many illustrious personalities, such as Carlo Collodi, the inventor of the famous puppet Pinocchio.

Florence off the beaten path

It was a lot of fun shooting The Travel Show in Florence! Keith Wallace and his troupe are really great people! I confess that I was a little nervous because I had spent the last few months being a full-time mom, far away from my job as a tourist guide, but it was a fantastic experience! I hope I contributed to introducing two fairly unknown places in Florence because there’s more than the Uffizi, the Accademia, and the Duomo – the best sellers. There are many squares, markets, neighborhoods, and museums that are waiting to be seen! And with a tourist guide taking care of you….it’s a different story!