Here are some itineraries to explore these jewels in this historic Florentine neighborhood. The lively area of Sant’Ambrogio is depicted perfectly in the novels of Vasco Pratolini: bustling with artistic and artisanal activity, and full of the sounds and smells of the local cuisine. This is one area that has maintained, still today, the ancient traditions of Tuscany. There are several traditional restaurants, like the ‘trippaio’ or the tripe sellers, local food shops and artisan products at the local market and in the shops.
Piazza Ghiberti – Via A. Del Verrocchio – Via dei Macci - Piazza S.Ambrogio - Via Pietrapiana - Piazza dei Ciompi - Piazza del Mercato
The covered market of Sant’Ambrogio: enter via a steep ramp on the right side of the building; on the underground floor, there is a restroom for the disabled, which you can get to via the elevator. Leaving the market, take Via Andrea del Verrocchio until you reach Via dei Macci. At this intersection, go right to go to the church and square of Sant’Ambrogio, accessible via a steep platform on the left side of the church. In front of the church, on the left, there is Via Pietrapiana. Take it to the Pulci market in Piazza dei Ciompi (pedestrian area). The sidewalk to enter the piazza of the market is located on the left side and on the right of the loggia. The pavement of the sidewalks and the market is rather uneven. From piazza dei Ciompi, you can go to visit the Jewish synagogue and Museum. After a stop in Piazza D’Azeglio, return to your departure point.
Other alternatives for this itinerary:
From Piazza dei Ciompi go back to Via Pietrapiana until Piazza Sant’Ambrogio; on the left, take Via dei Pilastri: the sidewalk is narrow, uneven and often blocked by bicycles, so it is recommended that you travel on the street (even it is not very wide). On the right, take Via Farini; on the right is the entrance to the Jewish Synagogue and Jewish Museum (guided visits only are available). Preferably, the entrance to the church is at the gate for cars, forewarning the porter's desk at civic number 65. The route to the ramp into the synagogue is difficult because there is gravel. The synagogue and the first floor of the museum are accessible to the disabled; the elevator is standard.
There is some difficulty accessing the second floor. Restrooms for the disabled are available. It is possible to arrive to the entrance of the synagogue and museum with your car. Continue along Via Farini (sidewalk ramp, but a bit uneven) to reach Piazza D’Azeglio, where you can take a rest. It is a lively piazza, with trees and benches, a merry-go-round and children’s play area and a soccer field, in addition to restrooms, also for the disabled (10am/1pm and 3pm/7pm). From Piazza D’Azeglio (on the right – on the side of Via Farini) the sidewalk continues until Via della Mattonaia (a parallel of Via Farini) and until the parking lot in Piazza Ghiberti (there is a sidewalk ramp, it’s wide but a bit uneven).
From piazza dei Ciompi you can reach the Civic Chelazzi gardens to stop for a rest, or continue on to visit Santa Croce. Traveling through the characteristic streets of the neighborhood, you can return to the departure point. Make a small stop at Casa Buonarroti (there’s a 14cm step at the entrance). From Piazza dei Ciompi continue on the sidewalk on the left of the piazza (sidewalk ramps are available). At the intersection with via dell’Agnolo, on the right is civic n. 18; here you will find the Chelazzi Gardens (accessible) where you can rest. Continue along Borgo Allegri until Largo Bargellini, almost in front of the ramp (on an incline) at the entrance of the Basilica di Santa Croce (accessible).
After your visit, go down the ramp to arrive in Piazza Santa Croce (with sidewalk ramps - accessible – with benches) to visit the Museo dell’Opera di Santa Croce and the Cappella dei Pazzi: accessible entrance is available at the first door to the right of the façade of the basilica. From the cloister, you can enter the Pazzi Chapel and the museum (in the 14th century refectory and in a wing of the ancient convent). Inside the structure, there is a restroom for the disabled yet it isn’t furnished. Fro visitors with visual impairments, audio guides are available and volunteer museum guides are available, from 10am-12pm and 3pm-5pm. Returning to Largo Bargellini, from via dei Macci (easily traveled) you’ll arrive in the Piazza Ghiberti car park.
This route leaves from Piazza dei Ciompi and it is ideal for those who want to cross this very characteristic area of the city. Here you’ll find the Oblate library, which has a beautiful view of the cathedral. There is also the Museo della Preistoria in the same building. From piazza dei Ciompi continue along via Pietrapiana, where you’ll find the Post Office on the left side (with sidewalk ramp); cross via Verdi to get to Piazza Salvemini (the pavement is a bit uneven). Continue briefly along Borgo degli Albizi to reach Piazza San Pier Maggiore (pedestrian area). At the corner you see the bust of the Madonna Tabernacolo, with an inscription from 1500. On the piazza, there are the three Archi, only one of which is open, the remains of the Basilica San Pier Maggiore (1600), the Donati towers, Palazzo Corbizzi and the Torre dei Pazzi di Valdarno; on the left is the Volta di San Piero, (known as the Arco di San Pierino) that connects Piazza San Pier Maggiore with Via dell’Oriuolo.
Continue under the la Volta and take Via dell’Oriuolo: the sidewalk has a ramps on both sides , but the one of the right is recommended, because it travels in the direction of the Museo Firenze Com’era (at the gate, the entrance is raised by 4 cm.; follow the external route that is on an incline; it has gravel at the end and a difference in street level of cm. 12.The interior of the museum is accessible thanks to ramps). There are restrooms for the disabled. Just a bit further away, we find the former Convento delle Oblate – now a civil library, from which visitors can enter the Museo della Preistoria. Both structures are accessible to the disabled. You may enter by taking two inclined ramps that lead to an elevator: the museum is on the first floor and the library is on three floors.
Turn back in Piazza Salvemini, at the traffic light, cross Via Verdi and turn right to take the sidewalk (the left sidewalk has ramps). After a while, turn onto Via dell’Agnolo on the left. Because the sidewalk does not always have ramps, it is preferable to use the street, even if it is a bit difficult. At the Chelazzi gardens, you can stop to rest, and continue along via dell’Agnolo and via Santa Verdiana (the sidewalk on the right has ramps). From here, you’ll arrive directly in Piazza Ghiberti.