When it comes to Florence, the first thought to pop in your head must be the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, and the Uffizi. Places like these are worth the visit for sure, but if you’re a student, you’re going to have to stay in Florence for a while. So in this article, I would like to introduce you the other side over the river: ’Oltrarno’. It basically means ‘beyond the Arno’ in Italian.
When I first arrived in Florence, people told me ‘if you cross the river you can see the real-life of Florentines’. And it was true. Unlike “di qua d’Arno”, Oltrarno has less tourism, shops there are mostly running by families rather than brands, and there’s also a fair share of local restaurants. So now you might want to know ‘where and what can I visit there?’
Santo Spirito is one of the biggest churches in Florence. If you compare it to other churches, its’ design is in a completely different style, as you can see. The architecture is composed of simple curves and a steady color palette. I personally like it a lot because when I look at it I always imagine it as a cloud, if the weather is nice, there’s the cloud in sky and it makes me feel like I am in an isolated kingdom. And also there’s a piazza in front of Santo Spirito, in the day it’s worth to just sit there and chill, in the night people enjoy drinks and hang out with friends there.
Boboli garden is the biggest park in Florence, it is a historical park that was opened to the public in 1766. When you go inside Boboli garden you feel like you are in a maze, that’s how big it is. For Boboli garden I would suggest you to go not only once, it’s worth going more than one time, you can not only feel the nature but also see the art. The spot I suggest to go the most would be the cave ‘Buontalenti Grotto’. Was designed by Bernardo Buontalenti and built between 1583 and 1593 ca. The beauty of it can’t be describe with words.
The Rose garden is the best place for a picnic, it is on the way to get to Piazzale Michelangelo, so if you don’t have too much time I would suggest you to go these two places the same day! To get in rose garden you won’t need a ticket, and the best time to visit is in May and June when the over 350 varieties of roses planted here are in bloom!
The reputation of Piazzale Michelangelo is well known, you can visit there and see a David fountain. Also you can see the whole view of Florence. I personally like to go there for the calm mood, stay there doing nothing but just seeing the view, also it is the best place for a night view in Florence.
After all, I think you already have the basic idea of Oltrarno! If you are interested in it, go and visit!