Novella Walking Tour (Self Guided), Florence

Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, and has been called "the Athens of the Middle Ages". This city has to offer a lot of wonderful places to admire. Take this tour to walk along the Arno embankment and explore the south-eastern part of the Santa Maria Novella quarter.
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Novella Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Novella Walking Tour
Guide Location: Italy » Florence (See other walking tours in Florence)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.1 km
Author: greghasleft
1
Palazzo Rucellai

1) Palazzo Rucellai

Palazzo Rucellai is a palatial 15th-century townhouse on the Via della Vigna Nuova in Florence. The Rucellai Palace is believed by most scholars to have been designed by Leon Battista Alberti between 1446 and 1451 and executed, at least in part, by Bernardo Rossellino. Its facade was one of the first to proclaim the new ideas of Renaissance architecture based on the use of pilasters and entablatures in proportional relationship to each other.

The grid-like facade is achieved through the application of a scheme of trabeated articulation. The stone veneer of this facade is given a channeled rustication and serves as the background for the smooth-faced pilasters and entablatures which divide the facade into a series of three-story bays. The three stories of the Rucellai facade have different classical orders, as in the Colosseum, but with the Tuscan order at the base, a Renaissance original in place of the Ionic order at the second level, and a very simplified Corinthian order at the top level. Twin-lit, round-arched windows in the two upper stories are set within arches with highly pronounced voussoirs that spring from pilaster to pilaster. The facade is topped by a projecting cornice.
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Palazzo Corsini al Parione

2) Palazzo Corsini al Parione

Standing elegantly on the banks of the River Arno is the opulent Palazzo Corsini al Parione. The Palazzo is presently owned by the Corsini descendants, Miari Fulcis and Sanminiatelli.

Before this elaborate palace took shape, on the site stood several buildings out of which the most prominent was the casino that belonged to the Ardinghelli family. The premises were later passed on to the Grand Duke Ferdinando II de' Medici and were then purchased by Maria Maddalena Macchiavelli, the wife of Marchese Filippo Corsini, in 1649.

The Palazzo is the epitome of a Baroque style of architecture. In the age of traditional Renaissance and Gothic structures, the Palazzo stands as a modernized structure, flaunting the revolutionary Baroque style of design. The Palazzo Corsini boasts a typical eighteenth century terrace that is decorated with balustrade which has mounted on it statues, figurines and terracotta vases, thus, giving it a very dramatic decorative effect, typical to the Baroque architecture.

The grandeur and beauty of the Palazzo that is witnessed today is a result of fifty years of effort and persistence of two Corsini men- Bartolommeo Corsinin, son of Filippo Corsini, and Bartolommeo’s son. They were also responsible for expanding the palazzo towards Ponte S. Trinita.
3
Palazzo Spini Feroni

3) Palazzo Spini Feroni

Palazzo Spini Ferroni is a building in piazza Santa Trinita, Florence, the grandest private medieval house-palace in the city. The palace was built from 1289 for the rich cloth merchant and banker Geri Spini, on the lands he had bought from the monks of Santa Trinita, after the 1288 flood of the Arno.

At the time, it was the largest private-owned palace in Florence, in competition with the seat of government, the Palazzo Vecchio, which was being built in the same period. Architects to whom the design has been attributed include Arnolfo di Cambio or Arnolfo's father, Lapo Tedesco. The edifice's original appearance can be seen in Ghirlandaio's frescoes in the Sassetti Chapel of the neighbouring church of Santa Trinita.

In the 14th century, the palazzo was divided between the two branches of the Spini; the section facing the piazza was sold in the 17th century. In the 1670s, marquis Francesco Antonio Ferroni, a rich member of Grand Duke Cosimo III's entourage, had it redecorated with stuccoes by Giovan Battista Foggini and Lorenzo Merlini, moving frescoes by Bernardino Poccetti (1609-1612) from their original location. They represent Paradise with a Choir of Musician Angels and the Adoration of the Shepherds.

After a period as a hotel, in 1846, the comune of Florence bought it, and it was later used for offices during the period when Florence was capital of Italy (1865-1871). In 1874, it was partly renovated in neo-medieval style; shop-fronts were opened in the ground floor and a tower and an arch facing the river Arno were demolished, giving it the aspect it has today. In the 1930s, it was bought by the shoe designer Salvatore Ferragamo. Since 1995 the Palazzo has housed a museum dedicated to Ferragamo.

Operation hours: Monday - Sunday: 10:00 am - 7:30 pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Santa Trinita

4) Santa Trinita (must see)

Santa Trinita ("Holy Trinity") is a church in central Florence. It is the mother church of the Vallumbrosan Order of monks, founded in 1092 by a Florentine nobleman. Nearby is the Ponte Santa Trinita over the river Arno. The church is famous for its Sassetti Chapel, containing notable frescoes by Domenico Ghirlandaio that are among the masterworks of 15th-century painting. The current church was constructed over 11th century churches in 1258–1280. Multiple reconstructions occurred thereafter. The Mannerist façade (1593–1594) was designed by Bernardo Buontalenti. The relief over the central door of the Trinity was sculpted by Pietro Bernini and Giovanni Battista Caccini. The 17th-century wooden doors were carved to recall saints of the Vallumbrosan order. The Column of Justice in the Piazza outside originates from the Baths of Caracalla and was a gift to Cosimo I de' Medici by Pope Pius IV. It was used in 1565 to commemorate the Battle of Montemurlo.

Why You Should Visit:
In the heart of the city, at the crossroads of the most elegant streets, surrounded by marvelous period buildings like Palazzo Spini Feroni.
The church itself is extremely rich in artworks, most of which are displayed within its chapels. The frescoes and painting by Ghirlandaio are the main draws.

Opening Hours:
Weekdays: 8am-12pm / 4pm-6pm
Holidays: 4pm-6pm
Free entry
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Palazzo Strozzi

5) Palazzo Strozzi (must see)

Palazzo Strozzi is a palace in Florence. It was built from 1489 to 1538 for Filippo Strozzi. Palazzo Strozzi is an example of civil architecture with its rusticated stone, inspired by the Palazzo Medici, but with more harmonious proportions. Unlike the Medici Palace, which was sited on a corner lot, and thus has only two sides, this building, surrounded on all four sides by streets, is a free-standing structure. This introduced a problem new in Renaissance architecture, which, given the newly felt desire for internal symmetry of planning symmetry: how to integrate the cross-axis. The ground plan of Palazzo Strozzi is rigorously symmetrical on its two axes, with clearly differentiated scales of its principal rooms.

The palazzo has mullioned paired windows (bifore); the radiating voussoirs of the arches increase in length as they rise to the keystone, a detail that was much copied for arched windows set in rustication in the Renaissance revival. Its dominating cornice is typical of the Florentine palaces of the time.

The palazzo remained the seat of the Strozzi family until 1937. Great changes were made to the building when the Istituto Nazionale delle Assicurazioni occupied Palazzo Strozzi. The palazzo, granted by the Istituto Nazionale delle Assicurazioni to the Italian State in 1999, is now home to the Institute of Humanist Studies and to the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi.

Why You Should Visit:
The venue is known for hosting contemporary revolving exhibitions and cultural events which look quite unusual in the medieval palace.
You may as well simply walk in the free-admission courtyard and admire the archways and the layout, especially at nighttime.
Palazzo Strozzi is one of the few late-opening attractions in Florence, so take advantage to make it one of your stops on your night stroll.

Tip:
There generally is no line, so no need to plan or make a reservation.
As exhibits rotate, be sure to check what's on display to see if it is up your alley.

Operation Hours:
Mon-Wed, Fri-Sun: 10am-8pm; Thu: 10am-11pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Santi Michele e Gaetano

6) Santi Michele e Gaetano

The Theatine order, formed as a result of Counterreformation, took over an eleventh century church dedicated to St. Michael in 1592. Financially supported by the eminent families of Florence, the Theatine order commenced the construction of the Church in 1604 with the design of Bernardo Buontalenti. The construction was completed in 1648, by which a number of architects were involved in the project, each making variations to the original design.

Built of the site of a Romanesque Church, the church was dedicated to San Gaetano (Saint Cajetan). Since, the previous church on the site was dedicated to St. Michael, the new building was named Church of Santi Michele e Gaetano. Matteo Nigheti and Gherardo Silvani share the credits for the way the church stands today. In a city dominated by Renaissance styled architecture, this Church on Piazza Antinori has a distinct Baroque style. The façade is decorated with sculptures, which one does not see in Renaissance style of architecture.

The Church houses Matteo Rosselli’s Chapel of the Nativity and Pietro da Cortona’s Martyrdom of San Lorenzo. The Medici family took personal interest in the work of the church. While, Grand Duke Ferdinando I financed the intial stages of work, his son and Cardinal, Carlo de Medici was concerned about the work. If you would like a break from the Renaissance style, you must visit this Church for its unique Baroque style.
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Santa Maria Maggiore

7) Santa Maria Maggiore (must see)

Santa Maria Maggiore di Firenze is a medieval church in Florence. Originally constructed in the 11th century, it underwent extensive renovations to the facade and sides in the 13th century. The original church existed as early as the 8th century and is first documented in 931. In 1176 it obtained the status of collegiate church and was one of Florence's priories. The church subsequently expanded its possessions and in 1183 it was put under papal direct protection by Lucius III in 1186, which it kept in the following century. Acquired by the Cistercians, in the 13th century, the church was rebuilt (with the exception of the original external walls and the vaults) in Gothic style. During the 15th century, the church's finances declined: in 1514 Giulio de' Medici describes it as decaying, and in the following year the pope gave it to the Florence Cathedral's capitol. In 1521 it went to the Carmelites from Mantua. In the early 17th century the interior was restored by Gherardo Silvani, perhaps following a project by Bernardo Buontalenti.

The exterior is rather undecorated, with stone walls and the portals surmounted by tympani. The bell tower, although reduced in height, survives from the Romanesque building. It has a Roman head embedded in its walls, popularly known as Berta. The interior is simple with a nave and two aisles, ogival arches and groin vaults. Artworks include frescoes by Bernardino Poccetti (Histories of St. Zenobius in the vault), a Nativity by Matteo Rosselli, and, above the altar of the left transept chapel, a polychromed stucco relief panel, the Madonna del Carmelo, long attributed to the 13th-century artist, Coppo di Marcovaldo. A recent restoration has caused scholars to question this attribution and posit an earlier, 12th-century date for the panel.

Why You Should Visit:
Not as glamorous as other Florentine churches but beautiful nonetheless.
On the interior, there are a few interesting frescoes that reveal a glimpse of the 11th century.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 7am-12pm / 3:30-5:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Florence, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Florence

Create Your Own Walk in Florence

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City Orientation Walking Tour

City Orientation Walking Tour

The city of Florence was founded by Julius Caesar in 59 BC as a settlement for veteran soldiers and, as such, was built in the style of an army camp with the main streets intersecting at the present Piazza della Repubblica. The original name Fluentia was due to the fact that the city was built between two rivers. Later, the name was changed to Florentia which means “flowering” or...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 km
Duomo Walking Tour

Duomo Walking Tour

Duomo quarter is located in the very heart of the Florence Historic Center. This area is deservedly considered the religious and the civic centre of the town. Most of the historic sites Florence is famous for are to be found here. Take this tour to explore all the masterpieces of the Duomo quarter.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 km
Dante's Florence Walking Tour

Dante's Florence Walking Tour

Dante Alighieri is considered one of the greatest poets of all times. He was born in Florence and spent most of his life there until he was exiled. Many of the structures in the city were built according to his greatest epic poem Divina Commedia. This tour will take you on a trip through Dante's life and work in Florence.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 km
Novella & Indipendenza Walking Tour

Novella & Indipendenza Walking Tour

Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, and has been called "the Athens of the Middle Ages". This city has to offer a lot of wonderful places to admire. Take this tour to explore Indipendenza and Santa Maria Novella quarters, visit beautiful Dominican basilica of Santa Maria Novella, as well as Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Accademia di Belle Arti, Cappella dei Principi and...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 km
Michelangelo's Masterpieces Walking Tour

Michelangelo's Masterpieces Walking Tour

Michelangelo spent over 20 years of his life in Florence during which he created some of the most beautiful masterpieces this city had ever seen. The most famous of them, the David, is also located in Florence along with a few copies. Take this tour to discover the Florence side of Michelangelo's artistic mastership.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 km
Historic Centre Nightlife

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Well known for its beautiful historic architecture and for its huge contribution to the Renaissance movement in Italy, Florence remains a vibrant, thriving center of activity that hosts not only a large tourism trade, but also attracts a lot of international students studying abroad. As such, Florence possesses a hot nightlife scene where guests from around the world can hear some amazing music...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 km

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