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Itineraries bike

Discovering Florence by bike

A ring itinerary to discover the most beautiful squares, the most charming views and the most important monuments.

We start from Piazza Santa Maria Novella, near the FS station, in front of the splendid basilica founded by the Dominicans in 1242. We pedal taking Via dei Fossi, on the opposite side of the square from the church.

In Piazza Carlo Goldoni we turn right onto Borgo Ognissanti, to reach shortly afterwards the square of the same name that opens onto the Arno River. On our right is the church of San Salvatore in Ognissanti, another treasure trove of works of art, from Ghirlandaio to Botticelli, who, in this church, is also buried.

Once on the riverfront, we use the bicycle path to reach the Vespucci bridge, using it to go to the other side. We turn right until we pass the ancient city walls. As soon as we pass them, we turn left to cross the small park outside the city walls and finally re-enter through the imposing gate of San Frediano taking Via Borgo San Frediano.

After 400m, on our right, is the widening that leads to Piazza del Carmine and the Brancacci Chapel, custodian of the famous frescoes by Masaccio and Masolino da Panicale, one of the high points of Renaissance painting.

We continue on Via del Borgo San Frediano and at the first intersection we turn right onto Via Serragli and then left to arrive at the beautiful Piazza Santo Spirito, an iconic place of the Florentine Oltrarno, with its workshops and markets.

At the corner of the square, we take Via Borgo Tegolaio and then the first right and left at the intersection back onto Via dei Serragli.

We continue straight on until we exit the medieval city from Porta Romana. At the traffic circle, we take Viale Macchiavelli and begin to climb the first hills along the 19th-century road system, among parks and tree-lined avenues, until we reach the Abbey of San Miniato, one of the masterpieces of Florentine Romanesque architecture.

From the church square we will enjoy an initial, fascinating view of the city, a foretaste of the scenery that will open up once we reach Piazzale Michelangelo, the most famous vantage point over the city of Florence.

The Piazzale is flanked by two beautiful public gardens, perfect for a restful and contemplative stop: on the left is the Rose Garden while on the right is the Iris Garden. In spring, the spectacle of the blooms blends with the panorama over the city, providing spectacular views.

Having taken the inevitable photographs, we begin to descend, always following the path of the avenues, facilitated by the bike path beside the road.

Back on the bank of the Arno, we take a right following the bike paths along the embankment, skirting the Anconella Park. Inside the park is a small curiosity; a 1:5 scale model of Brunelleschi’s dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, an object studied by the architects for its particular structure and reproduced here with the same techniques used for the original.

Arriving at the Varlungo bridge, we cross the Arno taking advantage of the bike/pedestrian lane. When we reach the other bank, we recommend following the bike path a little further east to see the spectacle of the Arno at the weir of Rovezzano. After this short detour of about 700m, we retrace our steps and continue along the bicycle path on the right bank of the river until we reach the intersection with Via De Sanctis. Here the route includes a highly recommended detour for art lovers. Taking advantage of the bike paths and a bike underpass under the railroad, in about a kilometer we reach the Monumental Complex of San Salvi, where fresco of the Last Supper by Andrea del Sarto, a beautifully preserved late Renaissance masterpiece, is kept.

Back on the Lungarno, we continue for a little more than a kilometer until we finally leave the river at the height of the large palace, home of the National Library.

A few dozen meters and here we are in another superb Florentine square, Piazza di Santa Croce. After a visit to the Franciscan basilica, another masterpiece of Florentine Gothic architecture, we walk along its side until we take, on the left, Via Borgo Allegri, which we will follow up to the picturesque Piazza dei Ciompi.

We take a right until we reach the church of Sant’Ambrogio, which gives its name to the lively neighborhood, where the historic market of the same name, the Synagogue, the Flea Market and the Murate complex are located, and continue left on Via Carducci.

Arriving at the tree-lined Piazza d’Azeglio, we cross it using its internal paths and then turn left onto Via Giuseppe Giusti.

The trail takes us, after a short while, to Piazza della Santissima Annunziata, another very important city square, which was the subject of an urban planning intervention in the Renaissance that made it one of the most harmonious in the city. The Basilica of SS Annunziata is certainly worth a visit. The square is also overlooked by two notable museums: the Archeological Museum (one of the most important in Italy) and the Museum of Innocenti (the history and collections of the famous orphanage).

We take Via Cesare Battisti and, shortly after, here we are in another place worthy of a visit. We have, indeed, reached Piazza San Marco, where stands the ancient Dominican convent, now a national museum, whose fame is due to the marvelous frescoes by Beato Angelico, including the moving Annunciation.

From Piazza San Marco, we walk down Via Cavour to Palace Medici Riccardi, a splendid Renaissance palace and the first Medici residence in the city, which can be visited today.

We turn the corner to the right and come to the monumental complex of San Lorenzo: Basilica of Brunelleschi and the majestic Medici Chapels, with the famous New Sacristy by Michelangelo.

From here it is a moment to arrive at the Central Market of Florence, a historic and vital place in the city, full of stores and places ready to serve aperitifs and regional dishes; the well-deserved final stop before reaching Santa Maria Novella again and “closing the circle”.

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