Oltrarno, the most genuine Florence

When you think of Florence often imagine the queues at the Uffizi or Piazza Duomo and the crowds of tourists that swarm in every street and in every square. Yet there is a genuine city, which looks like a country: are the old neighborhoods, Oltrarno, or as they say the Florentine, Diladdarno.

The neighborhood can be reached from the city center, crossing the Ponte Vecchio, or from Porta Romana, the largest and most impressive door of Florence which closed the last circle of the city walls. Built around 1330, the door still intact today maintains its doors and the original nails. Once through the door, you can leave the car in the parking lot on the left opened 24 of 24 in Piazza della Calza.


This square, where stands the fresco by Mario Romoli depicting the great Florentine artist that in 1954 replaced the previous detached and destroyed during the Second World War, called the name of Calza from order of Ingestuati called by the people brothers of the sock because of their clothing consists of a long gray hooded cloak long as to seem precisely a stocking.

From here there are two ways to enter the heart of the Oltrarno, the area known for the important examples of craftsmanship that still stands here and you can enjoy watching the craftsmen at work. On the left Via de’ Serragli where the must of the craft is in the show room of Riccardo Barthel (via de’ Serragli, 234 r – +39 055 2280721 – www.riccardobarthel.it – info@riccardobarthel.it), which offers a precise style to furnish villas and mansions, but also yachts and historical shops like those of Ginori, famous for its porcelain and ceramics of great value.


The strength of the company? Respecting the values and Florentine craftsmanship, use of quality materials and a special focus on the kitchen space. And this since 1976, when the company was born and was taken over a production company of Tuscan ceramics proposing the diamond tile like that of the Paris metro: the first great success!
Today here work ten architects who deal with planning and restoration around the world, although the base of the Riccardo Barthel remains the secondhand trade and the production of brass lighting accessories, bathroom and kitchen in accordance with the dictates of the highest Florentine craftsmanship, typical of the neighborhoods of Santo Spirito and San Frediano.


Since 2004 it also has a second location in Forte dei Marmi, while two and a half years ago, to enrich the exposure of the kitchens in the showroom of Florence there is the cooking school Desinare (Via de ‘Serragli 234 r – +39 055 221118 – info@desinare.it) Francesco Barthel, son of Richard, which organizes courses with chef experience and also takes care of catering and sales of accessories for the table, while also serving as the place for tastings, convivial moments, events and presentations.In the area you walk willingly among small antiques shops and neighborhood life.


Right from the Piazza della Calza unfolds via Romana and almost suddenly you come in tall columns prelude to the Boboli Gardens, the park that extends on the back of the Palazzo Pitti, romantic and very visited. And it will be even more after the release of “Inferno”, the new Ron Howard film adaptation of Dan Brown’s novel. With Tom Hanks in the role of the expert teacher of symbols and religions, star of the film that pays tribute to the figure of the Florentine Dante, it is precisely the Boboli Gardens, along with other symbols of the city such as Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza Duomo and the Battistero.

A little ‘later stands in all its grandeur and elegance Palazzo Pitti, the last residence of the Medici which currently houses some of the most important museums. On the first floor is the Palatine Gallery with an extensive collection of paintings of the sixteenth and seventeenth century and the Royal Apartments. On the ground floor there is the Museo degli Argenti, the top floor of the Gallery of Modern Art and the Palazzina della Meridiana, the Costume Gallery, which traces the history of fashion in the last few centuries, while surrounded by greenery of the Garden is the Palazzina del Cavaliere with the Porcelain Museum.


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