Florence’s Orsanmichele: How The City’s Grain Storage Became a Beloved Church

Via Calzaiuoli is a street made for strolling. Along this pedestrian-only thoroughfare, it’s easy to wander between some of Florence’s most sought after sites including the Duomo, Florence’s iconic red-domed cathedral, and the Ponte Vecchio, the only bridge in town which survived World War II. Tucked in between these two sites is the historic church…

Gone But Not Lost: The Bridges of Florence during World War II

By late July of 1944, Allied forces were very close to liberating Florence from the Nazis, who had occupied the city for the past year. “The Allied forces are advancing on Florence,” warned thousands of leaflets dropped by American planes. “The city’s liberation is at hand. Citizens of Florence, you must unite to preserve your…

14 Places to Escape the Crowds in Florence

The historic center of Florence is just about two miles in size, but throughout the year, this area is host to approximately 10.2 million visitors, all navigating the same narrow lanes and visiting the same handful of sites. When I set up residence for a month last May, I thought I was sneaking into the…

Ghosts of Florence and Other Spooky Spots in Italy

Although I have thankfully never encountered a ghost during my late-night/early-morning wanderings, in a country as old as Italy they are bound to be there, lurking in shadowed vicoli (alleys), peering down from finestre (windows), nascosto in piena vista (hiding in plain sight). Such is the case for these popular spots for visitors to Florence…perhaps you’ve “haunted” some…

On the Fringe of Florence: The Stibbert Museum

About seven kilometers from the Piazza del Duomo but still in Florence proper is the Stibbert Museum, the stately home of Frederick Stibbert (1838-1906), a man born into wealth to an English father and Italian mother. Stibbert inherited the considerable family wealth at age 21 and began a lifelong passion of collecting military armory and costumes….

Gone But Not Lost: The Bridges of Florence during World War II

By late July of 1944, Allied forces were very close to liberating Florence from the Nazis, who had occupied the city for the past year. “The Allied forces are advancing on Florence,” warned thousands of leaflets dropped by American planes. “The city’s liberation is at hand. Citizens of Florence, you must unite to preserve your…