Florence Hotel La Gioconda Route
THE SIGNS OF THE HISTORY IN THE FLORENTINE QUARTERS
This route winds through two of the Florentine historical quarters: S. Giovanni quarter, where the religious and political heart of the Medicean Florence with the Cathedral, the Baptistery and the residences of the Florentine aristocratic families was situated, and Santa Croce quarter, which developed thanks to the Franciscans in an island formed by the Arno river. The origin and the use of the town areas difference has always influenced the economic life of these two urban areas, but both appear full of the whole rich art and history, which make Florence unique.
Route length: about 2.70 km
Time needed: about 3 hours, museum visits and bar and/or restaurant rests not included.
From Panzani Street turn right, along Cerretani Street, as far as San Giovanni Square. You are in the place which took the prestigious role of the town religious pole.
The Baptistery is the most ancient building of the square; it was dedicated to San Giovanni, the Florentine patron saint.
Built in the V or VI century over the foundations of a Roman domus, during the XII century it was covered with white Carrara marbles and green Prato marbles. In 1174 it was raised and the pyramidal ceiling was added to it.
The three doors are Andrea Pisano’s and Lorenzo Ghiberti’s work; the eastern Ghiberti’s one, as well, is the most famous and it was called the Paradise Door thanks to its beauty. Going straight on you will arrive in Cathedral Square; so set out for the church parvis and stop for a moment to admire Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral planned by Arnolfo from Cambio as replacement of the ancient Santa Reparata church. The works went on for a long time; Andrea Pisano and Francesco Talenti as well took part in the works and introduced some changes to the original plan. The big dome, planned by Brunelleschi, ends with a lantern, that Vernocchio finished with a ball surmounted by a cross (1468).
In 1502 at the bottom of the dome Baccio from Agnolo inserted a gallery which was never finished because you seem that it was criticized by Michelangelo and ironically called “the crickets’ cage”.
The Bell Tower, stands ; it was started by Giotto in 1334 and only got ahead up to the inferior order with the hexagonal tiles. At the artist’s death, Andrea Pisano continued the work. He modified the original plan adding the niches with the statues between the other elements. Afterwords Francesco Talenti planned some combined double lancet windows and one triple lancet window in order to give the building impetus and lightness. Still in the square, on the corner of Calzaiuoli Street, notice the fourteenth-century loggia, founded by the “Bigallo Company” together with the “Misericordia Company” in 1244 in order to take in orphans or abandoned children.
Go on to walking along the basilica on its right side and arrive as far as the crossroad of Proconsolo Street which you will take on the right.
The street is lined with several building; among these at number 10 there is Pazzi’s Palace,then Quarantesi’s, attributed to Giuliano from Sangallo who probably built it between 1458 and 1469, maybe whit Brunelleschi or Michelozzo’s partecipation.
The building is also named “Congiura Palace” because the family living there was responsible for the plot which caused Giuliano de’ Medici’s murder, during the mass in “Santa Maria del Fiore Basilica”, and his brother Lorenzo The Magnificent’s injuring. The incident perpetrators were soon choked by the Florentine enraged crowd; the whole Pazzi’s family was exiled and their goods were confiscated.Going straight on Proconsolo Street, you will pass by two outstanding buildings, the Florentine Badia church and the Bargello Palace on the opposite side.
The church belonged to a Benedictine monastery that the marquess Ugo from Toscana’s mother ordered to be built in 978. He was remembered in times for his generosity so much so that it is still celebrated a mass in memory of this noble benefactor every year on the 21st of December.
Thanks to the other considerable donations, the abbey bought or inherited different surrounding properties; so that various activities flourished: i. e. stationer’s and miniaturist’s activity, the bookbindings and booksellers which nowadays characterize the area. We can infer, from the name of a neighbouring street, “Vigna Vecchia Street”, that wine-growing as well was one of the abbey activities. Opposite the church there is Bargello Palace, the second Florentine public building for his expanse and importance; it was built about 1255 around a pre-existent tower, called the “Volognana”. This palace lodged the People Captain, the super partes guarantor between the old Florentine aristocracy and the new Guelph middle class. Then, the building became the residence of the Podestà, a position held by a foreigner with the task to arbitrate between parties in struggle.
In 1574, in conseguence of the advent of the rule, the Justice Captain, exactly called “The Bargello”, resided in it. The building took as well the function of a prison.
Still it is possible to visit the torture and the capital sentence places. Today the Bargello Museum, which gets together several Michelangelo’s and Donatello’s and other important sculptores’ works resides here.
At the end of the Proconsolo Street and before arriving in San Florence Square, turn left into Anguillara Street. Walk along it for a long stretch and turn first right into Bentaccordi Street and then left into Torta Street. Considered the curved line of this street, it is possible to infer that the Roman Amphitheatre, built in the II century among Peruzzi’s Square, Bentaccordi’s Street and Torta Street, lied here. At first out of the walls of the town, it drew the point of the top expansion reached east by the “Florentia Romana”.
In the XI century the amphitheatre was incorporated in the new walls because of the town expansion; Peruzzi’s family built their own building over it.
From Torta Street you arrive in Santa Croce Square, a marshy and unhealthy place in the Middle Ages; the Franciscans established here in 1228 and built a small oratory. Then a square rose later used as a place of festivals, reunions, markets and celebrations and still today they play the Historical Footbal match in it. The small oratory, after the area drainage, enlarged Santa Croce church works overseen by Arnolfo from Cambio ended in 1385; instead the facade, remained in the raw, was realized by Niccolò Matas in the Neogothic style in 1865.
In the past Dante’s statue, which now is on the left side of the church, was placed in the middle of the square. The church inside, modified since 1560, contains the still intact fourteenth-century frescos of the transept chapels and the funeral monuments of the important figures such as Michelangelo, Niccolò Machiavelli, Vittorio Alfieri, Gioacchino Rossini, Ugo Foscolo, Galileo Galilei and Dante’s cenotaph.
The poet, exiled from Florence for political reasons, never saw his town again and his tomb lies in Ravenna town, which never wanted to give back the Florentine people his corpse.
After visiting the wonderful church, return at the end of the square and go first towards Greci small village and then San Firenze Square, which is dominated by two buildings: the Renaissance Gondi Palace and the Baroque building where today the Tribunal is.
This big conventual Oratorian complex, an order founded by St. Filippo Neri, was executed in different times. In fact the building left aisle was built by Pier Francesco Silvani in 1645, its core was edificated between 1745 and 1749; the ancient San Florence Church on the side of the Greci small village was brought down in 1772 and substituted with a building, in symmetry of Silvani’s church.
Going on into Gondi Street, you will arrive in the Signoria Square. It is dominated by Palazzo Vecchio, residence of the Art Priors and the Justice Gonfalonier, the top position of the urban Government in the Middle Ages.
The building, planned by Arnolfo from Cambio, was built pulling down the several houses and towers, Uberti’s property. The coats of arms of the town, the Florentine people’s, the Church’s, the Guelph and the Angevins protector of the town (all repeated for three times) were painted under the gallery on the two sides of the building.
The Signoria Loggia, situated on the side of the square facing south, was assigned to meetings and public ceremonies. It is formed by three wide arcades in the middle of which there are some sculpted tiles, designed by Agnolo Gaddi, representing the theological and cardinal virtues. Then the building was used as a stopping for the guard of the duke Alessandro, constituted by the lansquenet mercenaries; hence it follows the name “Lanzi’s Loggia”. The building became a sculpture laboratory during Cosimo’s I rule. Nowadays it is a true outdoor museum; Benvenuto Cellini’s bronze statue stands out among the several and famous ones which lie in its inside. It represents Perseo on showing Medusa’s head just cut.
On the corner with Palazzo Vecchio there is Nettuno’s Fountain, or Biancone’s one Bartolomeo Ammannati’s work. It represents the sea-god on a carriage drawn by four marble horses. The bronze statues decorating the fountain (Satyrs, Tritons and Nereids) are Giambologna’s work. At the end of the square on the corner with Gondi Street there is Mercatanzia Palace, the place where the homonymous tribunal lied with the task to judge the controversies among Art; in fact on the top of the façade it is still possible to see the 21 art coats of arms. Before leaving the square have a look at the magnificent perspective of the building which contains the Uffizi Museum and arrives until the Arno bank. n the second half of the fifteen hundreds the building was commissioned to Vasari from the gran duke Cosimo I who wanted to reunite the government offices and so to redevelop rough area called “the Baldracca” which was situated exactly near the Medicean dynasty residence.
The statues, executed by Tuscan sculptors and placed in the niches of the pillars that form the arcade instead date back to the eighteen hundreds. So start Calzaiuoli Street passing by Orsanmichele church .
Halfway between Saint Maria del Fiore Cathedral and Palazzo Vecchio a nunnary existed including wide kitchen garden grounds. Here it was built an oratory, substituted around the half of the VIII century for a small church, dedicated to Saint Michele Arcangelo, which took the name of Saint Michele in Orto (from which the name “Orsanmichele” derives). The church was removed in 1240 and a first loggia, destined to the grain market, was built probably by Arnolfo from Cambio. Destroyed by a fire, it was rebuilt larger and on a rectangular shape by Francesco Talenti, Neri from Fioravanti and Benci from Cione. Then the Art guilds ordered 14 tabernacles to be erected on the outside pillars with the saint patron statues.
In 1380 the building was raised by two storeys in order to contain the wheat supplies and the inferior floor arcades were closed in order to lodge a worship building, again dedicated to Saint Michele.
Still continue on Calzaiuoli Street and on your left you will see Adimari’s Tower, one of the oldest Florentine families which had their properties most of all here in Calzaiuoli Street that then was called Adimari’s Corso in the road stretch nearest the Cathedral.
When the street was widened between 1842 and 1844 several Adimari’s houses and especially the left side ones were demolished.
Now turning left into Tosinghi Street and then still left into Roma Street you will arrive in Republic Square where the town centre Forum rose in the Roman age.
The triumphal arch which dominates the square, was built between 1885 and 1895 within the town planning interventions, on the occasion of Florence as the capital of Italy.
The arcades, where every Thursday morning house the typical flower market, were built on the side of the square facing west. Turning into Brunelleschi Street you will arrive in Pecori Street and turning right you will again lead to Saint Giovanni Square. On the corner with the square, in front of the baptistery apse, there is the big Arcivescovado Palace, the archiepiscopale residence which was fully restored between 1893 and 1895 when Saint Giovanni Square was enlarged.
In 1895 also the coat of arms belonging to the archbishop Agostino Bausa, who oversaw the works, was placed in the southern building corner. Continue walking on the square pavement and turning left you will be in Cerretani Street; now walk it as far as the beginning Panzani Street where you hotel lies.
During the route
S. Maria del Fiore Cathedral:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 10.00 - 17.00
Thursday: 10.00 - 15.30
Saturday: 10.00 - 16.45
Sunday and holy days: 13.30 - 16.45
1st Saturday of the month: 10.00 - 15.30
1st January, Easter and Christmas: 15.30 - 16.45
Ash Wednesday: 10.00 - 16.30
Holy Thursday: 12.30 - 16.30
Holy Friday: 10.30 - 16.30
Holy Saturday: 10.30 - 16.45
Closing time: Epiphany
S. Maria del Fiore Dome:
Monday-Friday: 8.30 - 19.00
other Saturday: 8.30 - 17.40
Closing time: 1st January, Epiphany, Holy Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Easter, 24th of June, 15th of August, 8th of September, 1st of November, Monday and Tuesday of the first Advent week, Christmas, 26th of December
1st of May: 8.30 - 17.00
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 10.00 - 17.00
Other Saturday: 10.00 - 16.45
1st of May: 8.30 - 17.00
Closing time: 1st of January, Epiphany, Holy Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Easter, 24th of June, 15th of August, 8th of September, 1st November, Monday and Tuesday of the first Advent week, Christmas, 26th December
Giotto’s Bell Tower:
closing overtime: from 4th to 14th February
closing time: January, Easter, 8th September, Christmas
1st Saturday of the month: 8.30 - 14.00
Easter Monday: 8.30 - 19.00
25th April, 1st May
Closing time: 1st January, Easter, 8th September, 24th December
Bigallo’s Museum and Loggia:
Tuesday - Saturday: 10.00 - 14.00 and 15.00 - 19.00
Sundays: 10.00 - 14.00 and 15.00 - 19.00
Closing time: Monday, Christmas, 31st December, New Year’s Day
Palazzo Vecchio and monumental quarters:
week: 9.00 - 19.00
Thursday: 9.00 - 14.00
Sundays: 9.00 - 14.00
Tuesday - Sunday: 8.15 - 18.50
Closing time: Mondays, New Year’s Day, 1st May, Christmas
Monday - Sunday 8.15 - 13.50
Closing time: 1st, 3rd, 5th Sunday and 2nd and 4th Monday of every month; Christmas, New Year’s Day, 1st May
Florentine Badia church:
cloister of the Oranges Monday: 15.00 - 18.00
Closing time: New Year’s Day, Easter, Easter Monday, Christmas
Weekdays: 12.00 - 19.00
Sundays: 8.30 - 14.00
Saint Croce Basilica and Saint Croce Opera Museum:
Weekdays: 9.30 - 17.30
Sundays: 13.00 - 17.30
Orsanmichele church: 8.15-12.00, 16.00 - 18.00
Closing time: the first and the last Monday of every month