Santa Maria Novella is one of the central neighborhoods in the wonderful city of Florence, mostly known for its stunning basilica and busy train stations. In this article we show you the top 10 things to do and see in this lively and stunning part of the city.
There are many great dining options and bars near the Santa Maria Novella church in Florence. Be sure to head over to the area’s best restaurants, and enjoy delicacies ranging from a simple Caprese salad and tantalizing bruschetta to enormous, juicy Florentine steaks. The extraordinary culinary experiences available at these restaurants will be the perfect addition to a cultural day out, and visitors will leave feeling all the better for it.
The staple of the Santa Maria Novella area, apart from the church, is the huge train station, which is the main one in Florence. So why not take a train to Lucca, Siena, or San Gimignano from prices starting as low as €8 for a return ticket? Booking in advance online can guarantee the best prices, and visitors can practically go anywhere in Italy from this train station. Those who are looking for an adventure can visit Rome and come back the same day, while those who want a more relaxed day-trip can visit one of the many picturesque towns in the Tuscan countryside.
Address: Santa Maria Novella, Florence, Italy
Located on one of the main shopping streets in Florence, Via Tornabuoni, which is home to the most luxurious designer brands in the city, ranging from Chanel to Ferragamo, visitors will stumble upon the awe-inspiring building that is the Chiesa dei Santi Michele e Gaetano, more often called San Gaetano. This Catholic church is one of the most important Baroque buildings in the city, and it is fortunately free to visit. Travelers can wander in until 6pm, when most churches close for mass, and explore the stunning interior at their own pace.
This monumental garden by the Palazzo Venturi Ginori belongs to the Rucellai family, one of Florence’s most prominent families, responsible for many beautiful artworks and buildings. This garden was created by them at the end of the 1400s, and the status of the family as patrons of art meant that some of the most famous Florentine scholars and artists frequented it. It is rumored that Machiavelli first read his Discorsi here, and Pope Leone X is also said to have been a regular.
This is one of many depictions of the ‘Last Supper’, denominated a Cenacolo, that can be found scattered around Florence. The Cenacolo di Fuligno is a beautiful fresco by the artist Pietro Perugino, and is located in what used to be the refectory of a building owned by a Franciscan order. Nowadays, the new layout of this part of the building means that tourists will not only be able to admire this jewel, but also similar works of art by Italian artists that were influenced by Perugino.
Address: Via Faenza 42, Florence, Italy
Meters from the Arno, at the end of the Via Tornabuoni stands this beautiful Renaissance palace, residence of the Antinori family since the beginning of the 16th century. The façade is pretty simple at a first glance, not unlike the Palazzo Pitti or Basilica di San Lorenzo, but if visitors look carefully they will be able to observe some details, such as the family’s coat of arms. There is a beautiful garden and courtyard on the ground floor, and above it a space where most of the family’s artwork, statues and tapestries are now located.