Florence: Piazza Santo Spirito

Florence is known as a city of squares, from the famous Piazza del Duomo to the Piazza della Repubblica with its darling carousel. It where people gather, where they eat, where they shop, where they worship.

My favorite square in Florence is Piazza Santo Spirito, located in the Oltrarno quarter. It’s maybe just a tad less touristy and the people-watching is great. Why do I like it?

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Santo Spirito

Well, for starters it has one of the historic churches of Florence. Basilica di Santo Spirito may be plain on the outside, but I appreciate that distinction after viewing the elaborate facades of the Duomo, Santa Maria Novella, and Santa Croce. The interior courtyard is a nice respite from the hubbub of the surrounding streets. Designed by Brunelleschi – the same architect of Duomo dome – Santo Spirito is a fine example of Renaissance architecture.

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Santo Spirito

Secondly, the piazza is home to one of Florence’s markets. On the weekends, vendors set up stalls with antiques and vintage wares. If you like antiques, flea markets, and garage sales, it’s a good place to get a little Italian vintage souvenir.

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The “gustapizza” from Gusta Pizza

Last, but certainly not least, it’s the food and drink! The square and surrounding streets are lined with some great restaurants and bars. For a quick, but filling bite, try Gusta Pizza. The menu is limited, but they focus on what they know best: simple, but fresh and delicious pizzas. My recommendation: get the Gustapizza (cherry tomatoes, arugula, parmesan, mozzarella), all for 7 Euros. Feeling hungrier? Go to Trattoria la Casalinga and order the Tuscan steak classic: Bistecca alla fiorentina.

Then have some gelato, or maybe a glass of wine (or both???) and walk the square as the night comes alive.

 

For more Florence and Italy pics, check out my Flickr album.

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