San Frediano, along with Santo Spirito, San Niccolò, il Viale dei Colli, and le Due Strade, iso ne of the Oltrano neighborhoods (sometimes called Diladdarno), the part of Florence that rests on the left bank on the Arno river. Even if the borders are rather blurred, San Frediano runs from Ponte Amerigo Vespucci to Ponte alla Carraia and extends all the way to Piazza Tasso. We at Dolce Emporio are in love with San Frediano and we talk about it all the time. For this reason, we put together a little guide, taken from Vasco Pratolini’s Le Ragazze di San Frediano (The Girls of San Frediano), that can take you around the neighborhood.
Galleria d’arte Romanelli – Borgo San Frediano 70
In all of Florence there is art gallery more charming than that of the Romanelli family that promoted the Florentine sculptural tradition in San Frediano for over six generations. The gallery can be found inside the classic renaissance structure that was once a church in the Fourteenth Century, and then transformed in a sculpture studio by Lorenzo Bartolini, one of the greatest sculptors of the Nineteenth Century.
Founded in 1775 by the Granduca Pietro Leopoldo of Lorena, the Specola is a grand science museum that is part of the Museum of Natural History of Florence. Particularly good for kids and teenagers.
Palazzo Pitti e Giardini di Boboli
The park, originally a grand ducal garden at the behest of the Duchess Eleonora di Toledo, the wife of Cosimo I, and designed by Niccolò Pericoli known as Tribolo with donations by Giorgio Vasari, Bartolomeo Ammannati and Bernardo Buontalenti, opened to the public in 1872.
Churches and monuments:
Chiesa del Cestello
The Church of San Frediano in Cestello is one of the oldest in Florence and remains the greatest example of late Baroque Florentine architecture.
Porta San Frediano
This city door, constructed tank to a project by Andrea Pisano between 1332 and 1333, still today has the original wooden doors with bolts of the Fourteenth Century. It is one of the most impressive in the city.
Ponte Amerigo Vespucci
Although it is not of particular interest from the architectural standpoint, the Vespucci Bridge warrants a visit to enjoy the best view of the city. The view towards Ponte Vecchio is breathtaking.
Cappella Brancacci in the Chiesa del Carmine
Located inside the Church of the Carmine, the Brancacci Chapel is one of the many treasures of the Oltrarno, described by Giorgio Vasari as “the school of the world”. The paintings of Masaccio, Masolino of Panicale and Filippino Lippi constitute some of the greatest examples of Renaissance art. Every year, for the Rificolona celebration (a popular Florentine holiday that falls on the 7th of September, the eve of the nativity of Mary) the churchyard is crowded with children who come from all over the neighborhood with lit lanterns for the customary blessing.
Mercato Lungo Le Mura di Santa Rosa
From Monday to Saturday, the street that runs along the walls of Santa Rosa is filled with many different booths, where you can find anything from antiques to clothing, from the book stand all the way down to the fruit and vegetable farmer. Once a month, the market is also open on Sunday.
Piazza Santo Spirito, aside from being the heart of nightlife in the Oltrano, is also the piazza that hosts (for the past thirty years) the Fierucola every third Sunday of the month- a vibrant market where you can buy antiques, crafts (we have a soft spot for the porcelain and ceramics of Studio Ceramico Giusti di Pelago) and lots of organic and local products such as spices, herbs, cheeses, meats, eggs, fruit and vegetables.
Shops and workshops:
This lampshade workshop is one of the most authentic symbols of the artisanal history of San Frediano. Just ask the kind Signora Luana to show you the production chain- you’ll be delighted.
Giannini & Kuwata
Bound notebooks for everyday use, diaries, cookbooks and much more including precious papers and rare leather skins.
At lunchtime, this trattoria just outside Porta San Frediano fills with people who share wooden tables with white and red checkered tablecloths. The dishes are typical Florentine family meals. If you need to choose a day to go there (keep in kind that on Saturday and Sunday Sabatino is closed), you should go on Friday- the cuttlefish is to die for.
Il Trippaio di San Frediano, Piazza dei Nerli
Perfect for on-the-go lunches, the trippa stand in Piazza dei Nerli is famous throughout the city for the friendliness of the chef Simone, and the goodness of the lampredotto sandwiches made with a roll moistened in meat broth, filled with lampredotto and seasoned with a flavorful green sauce.