THE OLTRARNO TOUR: TOWERS, SPIRITUALITY, CRAFTS AND GOOD WINE
The Oltrarno Tour will let you know, the left bank of the Arno river, which is the most typical and genuine part of Florence, where many craftsmen still have their shops today. We will walk along the narrow streets near Ponte Vecchio and look up at the medieval towers that once crowded the city. A short walk and we arrive at Santa Felicita Church, one of the hidden treasures of Florence. Since we are in the district on the Holy Spirit (Santo Spirito) we can’t miss the Agostinian Church of Santo Spirito, last creation of the Renaissance Maestro Filippo Brunelleschi. To appreciate better the real essence of this “other Florence” we will see an artisan at work and we will drink a toast to the beautiful day we have spent together.
WHAT WE SEE TOGETHER:
- BORGO SAN IACOPO. In the Middle Ages, especially during the wars between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines (Pope’s party and Emperor’s party), about a hundred towers were built by the richest families in the city as a protection from their enemies. Many of the towers are still present today and will help us to jump back in the past around 1300.
- SANTA FELICITA CHURCH. In the 2nd century, the Greek Syrian merchants settled south of the Arno and brought with them their Christian religion. The first church in this area was built around the 4th century and dedicated to Saint Felicita from Rome. Another church was built in the 11th century, whereas the existing one dates back to the years 1736 and 1739. In the Capponi Chapel we found The Deposition from the Cross, the masterpiece by Pontormo.
- SANTO SPIRITO CHURCH. The church was constructed over the ruins of an Augustinian convent from the 13th century, destroyed by a fire. Filippo Brunelleschi designed the project for the new building around 1428. After his death in 1446, the works were carried on by his fellows. The church has 38 magnificent side chapels, which contain a noteworthy amount of artworks (don’t be afraid: we will just see a couple of them!). Michelangelo, when he was seventeen years old, could make anatomical studies on the corpses coming from the convent’s hospital; in exchange, he sculpted a wooden crucifix which was placed over the main altar. Today the crucifix is still here, in the octagonal sacristy. In this district we will also visit the workshop of an Oltrarno artisan, today unfortunately a dying out job, and we will toast a diserved glass of wine!