Project Description

FLORENCE OLTRARNO TOUR: TOWERS, SPIRITUALITY, CRAFTS AND GOOD WINE

The Florence Oltrarno Tour will introduce you to the left bank of the Arno river. It’s the most typical and genuine part of Florence. Many craftsmen still have their shops there 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 will arrive at Santa Felicita Church, one of the hidden treasures of Florence. Since we are in the Santo Spirito district (the Holy Spirit), we can’t miss the Augustinian Church of Santo Spirito, last creation by the Renaissance maestro Filippo Brunelleschi. To better appreciate the real essence of this “other Florence” we will see an artisan at work. Eventually, we will make a toast to the beautiful day we have spent together.

THE LEFT BANK OF THE ARNO RIVER

In the Middle Ages, especially during the wars between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines (Pope’s and Emperor’s parties), about a hundred towers were built by the richest families in the city as protection from their enemies. Many of the towers are still present today. Some of them are in Borgo San Iacopo. We will jump back in the past around 1300.
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 Felicity from Rome. Another church was built in the 11th century, whereas the existing one dates from 1736 to 1739. In the Capponi Chapel we will find Pontormo’s masterpiece The Deposition from the Cross.

SANTO SPIRITO CHURCH, THE HEART OF OLTRARNO

The Florence Oltrarno Tour continues with Santo Spirito Church was constructed over the ruins of an Augustinian convent from the 13th century and later destroyed by a fire. Filippo Brunelleschi designed the project for the new building around 1428. Construction was carried on by his colleagues after his death in 1446. The church has 38 magnificent side chapels, which contain a noteworthy amount of artworks (don’t worry, we will just see a couple of them!). When Michelangelo was seventeen years old, he could make anatomical studies on the corpses coming from the convent’s hospital in exchange for sculpting 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 (jewellery, paper, wooden inlay, depending on their availability) and we will make a toast with a deserved glass of wine at a local winery!

How long? 3 hours
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