Discovering Medieval Florence - Part I: Exploring the Hillside
Skip the beaten path of Renaissance Florence! Forget about Dante, Petrarch, or Boccaccio! Let us discover medieval Florence instead. Let us go back and visit the city as it was in the thirteenth century.
To this end, I have designed a two-part itinerary. During the first leg of the tour, you will explore the hillside, south of the city centre, and you will get a general introduction to this medieval city. You will discover excellent viewpoints, admire some magnificent views, and, along the way, pick up a thing or two about thirteenth-century Florence.
For the second part of the tour, you will enter deep into the heart of the city centre, following in the footsteps of Brunetto Latini. The memory of this medieval notary – still visible in different parts of the city - will accompany and guide you as you stroll along the narrow streets of Florence. He will teach you to look at the city through new, unimpeded eyes, scraping away the many layers which have covered and hidden its medieval core.
Ideally, both itineraries are completed in succession, taking the first walk in the morning and the second one in the afternoon. The different sites along the itineraries have been selected in such a way that they can be visited within the time frame of a single morning and afternoon. However, it is also possible to spread out the tour over two days, combining, for instance, each walk with a longer visit to one or more of the many places of interest located along the road. It is even possible to select just one of the itineraries, skipping the other one entirely, depending on your own time schedule, preferences or physical condition.
Each segment of the itinerary follows a similar structure. It starts or ends with a set of directions, showing you how to arrive at the next stop in the tour. Having arrived at this stop, you are invited to read or listen to the information relating to this particular stop. Occasionally, you will get some tips for further exploration or find extra material on a particular topic.
At any moment during any of these walks, you can stop the audio and skip a particular segment if it covers known terrain or if it is of little interest to you. Just join me again at the next stop. You can also always read the transcript of the audio at your own pace and, whenever you want to hear a particular bit again, you can always go back and replay it.
In short, feel free to experiment and, above all, welcome and enjoy medieval Florence!
For a printable paper version of this travel guide, please consult: https://www.academia.edu/32859920/Travel_Guide_Medieval_Florence_-_Following_in_the_Footsteps_of_Brunetto_Latini_2017_.
Audio tour developed by Dr. David Napolitano, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow (University of Cambridge)
Listen to sample
LIST OF SITES
- 1. Ponte Vecchio – Starting Point
- 2. Ponte Vecchio - Downstream
- 3. Ponte Vecchio – Upstream
- 4. Piazza Santa Felicità
- 5. Walking to Porta San Giorgio
- 6. Porta San Giorgio
- 7. Walking to Porta San Miniato
- 8. Porta San Miniato
- 9. Walking to the Church of San Miniato
- 10. Church of San Miniato al Monte
- 11. Walking to Piazzale Michelangelo
- 12. Piazzale Michelangelo
- 13. Walking to Porta San Niccolò
- 14. Porta San Niccolò
- 15. Via di San Niccolò
- 16. Walking back to Ponte Vecchio