Florence is famous for its museums, fashion boutiques, cuisine, architecture, and stunning Renaissance artworks.
But this article aims to stir your curiosity as you visit Florence’s unusual and exciting places. Not the regular touristy route!
The Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy
The oldest-still operating pharmacy in Italy, perhaps, the world! This pharmacy still carries products using the original recipes of the monks.
One of the pharmacy’s specialties is the production of Carta D’Armenia (“Armenian Paper”). It’s soaking a paper incense in a mixture of infusions of resins and oriental spices and burns without a flame, scenting the air.
Feast your eyes with vaulted ceilings, ornate gilding, frescoes, walnut cabinetry, glass-stoppered decanters full of colorful potions, marble floors, glass-stained windows, bronze statues, and antique apothecary scales and mortars.
La Specola Anatomical Collection
The Museum of Natural History in Florence houses the La Specola. Here, you will find the most significant and famous anatomical wax collection. Check out great taxidermy, which includes extinct specimens and eye-brow-raising hippopotamus.
Of particular interest are the wax anatomical Venuses, wax models of naked women posed in old-fashioned semi-erotic poses, with their rib cages and stomachs pulled open to the world. These gutted female forms were a favorite of the Marquis de Sade.
L’importuno di Michelangelo
The simple caricature, the L’importuno di Michelangelo or Michelangelo’s Graffiti, is found in the stones of Florence’s historic Palazzo Vecchio. It is an outline of a man’s face.
No one can tell why Michaelangelo created this sign of disobedience, but its very existence shows a bit of insight into a different side of an artist.
Want some good fortune? Rubbing this bronze boar’s snout is the visitor’s way of wishing good luck. The golden sheen is due to so much rubbing. The statue is partially hollow, which allows visitors to slip coins between the boar’s jaws for good luck.
Babae Wine Window
In the Santo Spirito neighborhood in Florence, experience grabbing a glass of wine in the traditional Florentine way.
In 1559, one could knock on the windows to indicate intentions of purchasing wine. But by the 20th century, this became only a memory of the past.
Babae has brought back the tradition by opening its wine window to the public.
Cimitero delle Porte Sante (Sacred Doors Cemetery)
A stunning city view is the backdrop of this burial ground. Sculptures and beautiful architecture surround this place.
Prepare to see a medley of styles in this cemetery. Feast your eyes from neo-classic to Art Nouveau to Art Deco as inspired by Florence’s medieval and Renaissance churches.
An effigy of the Mazone siblings dancing together, the graveyard’s most popular and romantic statue, can be found there.
Legend says this mysterious stone head belongs to a woman who an alchemist petrified. This has been sticking out of the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Florence since medieval times.
The head is easy to miss, so be on the lookout when passing through Via dei Cerretani.
Eat Like a Local – Try the Traditional Lampredotto Sandwich
In Sant’ Ambrogio district, find Casa Buonarroti. This area is brimming with locals more than tourists. Seek a traditional ‘trippaio’ or a tripe food stand and order a Lampredotto Sandwich! Cooked with herbs and tomatoes in broth is the stomach of the cow. This will be thinly sliced and rest on a broth-soaked bun with your choice of sauce.
Museo Salvatore Ferragamo
An off-the-beaten-path for travelers who loves fashion. A peak into the life and work of the world-renowned fashion designer Salvatore Ferragamo. The museum features over 10,000 models of shoes created and owned by Salvatore Ferragamo.
Get two complimentary tickets to this museum from Virtuoso if you book Portrait Firenze through Inspired Travel Designs. This is a sophisticated property owned by the Ferragamo family, where Italian heritage infuses every well-considered detail.
Explore Florence in the most extraordinary way. Let’s chat!