Hidden Gems in Florence: Off the Beaten Path

Explore Florence beyond its popular landmarks and discover a world of hidden gems. Beyond the crowded streets and renowned piazzas, this beautiful city hides lesser-known treasures: from museums displaying eclectic collections to historic cinemas converted to bookshop-cafes. Stroll through parks that offer great views of Florence, and enjoy typical foods from local bakeries and cafes.

Join us as we explore hidden gems of Florence, where you can discover a different side of the city!

Art and History in a Fascinating Villa

Stibbert Museum
Via Federigo Stibbert, 26

The museum holds over 36,000 artifacts, including a vast collection of armor from Eastern and Western civilizations. The villa, which was once Stibbert’s home, has 57 rooms that exhibit all of his collections from around the world. Most of the walls are covered in leather and tapestries and the rooms are filled with artifacts. Paintings are displayed throughout every room, including still lifes and portraits. There is also valuable furniture, porcelains, Tuscan crucifixes, Etruscan artifacts, and an outfit worn by Napoleon I of France. The museum also features a romantic English garden, with temples, rock caves and fountains, and a greenhouse which was realized in the neoclassical style by Giuseppe Poggi and was used for orange, lemon and tropical fruits trees. The entrance to the garden is free.

Cinema, Books, and Cultural Delights

Giunti Odeon
Via Degli Anselmi, Piazza degli Strozzi, 3-5-7

Open seven days a week, from 8:30 in the morning to the end of each night’s film, Giunti Odeon is the new and improved face of the old Odeon cinema. Built over 100 years ago, Odeon has been a meeting point for cinephiles for over a century. Today, it maintains its mission as a cinema, with the addition of a bookshop, where bookshelves occupy the entire ground floor. One screen guarantees night-time movie projections, while a LED wall ensures daytime entertainment in Italian and English. Explore the beautiful architecture while browsing English and Italian books or stay until late and catch the latest movie in its original language with Italian subtitles. In the cinema-bookshop you can also find Café Odeon, where you can sip coffee, have brunch, lunch or dinner in a cultural environment!

An Oasis within the City

Giardino dell’Orticoltura
Via Vittorio Emanuele II, 4

Just outside the historical city center, Orticoltura garden is a quiet spot where you can relax while admiring the Florence skyline. The park is open every day from 8:30am to 7:00pm. The upper part of the garden (entrance on Via Trento, 11) offers a great view of the city, and is the perfect spot to watch the sunset over Florence. If you enter from Via Vittorio Emanuele II, 4 you can see the huge 19th century greenhouse. This park is a fan favorite among families and friends, who meet here to relax, catch up and even do yoga! There is also a summer bar called Love Orticoltura, which offers international food and drinks in a welcoming environment surrounded by greenery and art.

A Taste of Tradition in Florence

Forno Pugi

One of Florence’s historic establishments, this bakery was founded in 1925 by Lorenzo Pugi, and is currently run by his children and grandchildren. Pugi now boasts 5 shops scattered throughout Florence, all very popular among Florentines. Particularly at the Piazza San Marco location, long lines of hungry students often form between classes. Its most famous product remains, of course, the renowned “schiacciata all’olio,” which Pugi produces according to tradition.

Florence’s Natural Wonder

Museo della Specola
Via Romana, 17

The Museum of Zoology and Natural History, best known as La Specola, is an eclectic natural history museum located next to the Pitti Palace. The museum has deep ties with history; parts of the collection can be traced back to the Medici Family. It is known for its collection of wax anatomical models from the 18th century. It is the oldest scientific museum in Europe. It was founded in 1771 by Grand Duke Peter Leopold to display publicly the large collection of natural curiosities such as fossils, animals, minerals and exotic plants acquired by several generations of the Medici family. The museum spans 34 rooms and contains not only zoological subjects, such as a stuffed hippopotamus (a 17th-century Medici pet, that once lived in the Boboli Gardens), but also a collection of anatomical waxes, an art developed in Florence in the 17th century for the purpose of teaching medicine. This collection is known worldwide for the extraordinary accuracy and realism of the details, copied from corpses. The museum also houses historical medical and scientific instruments.

Sipping Wine: From Renaissance to the Present Day

During the Renaissance, these small openings emerging from the facades of ancient noble palaces were used to sell wine, just like a wine shop would do nowadays. At the end of a work day, tired workers would knock on the wooden shutters from which a capacious glass of wine would be handed over for the price of two florins – the Florentine currency used at the time –. These windows were located precisely at elbow height so that the exchange could comfortably take place. To this day we can count 181 wine windows throughout the city, and some of them are still in operation: see how many you can spot!

Buchette del vino

Learn more about this old tradition related to wine!

Florence’s Vibrant Shopping Street

Via Gioberti

In Florence, everyone knows Via Gioberti and its “hundred shops”: a lively district full of stores and cafes that seems to maintain the typical atmosphere of old Florence. The pedestrian stretch of road between Borgo la Croce and Via Gioberti is one of the favorites among Florentines, both for shopping and for living and working. Here you can find artisan shops and boutiques, as well as cafes, restaurants, businesses, and professional offices. It’s an area just outside the historical center, yet very close to the green spaces along the Arno River (Lungarni), where many residents go for jogging and walks.