Secret Florence: unusual and little-known places to visit

Medici Riccardi Palace

Medici Riccardi Palace


Secret Florence is made up of palaces and corners waiting to be discovered. I’m referring to those little-known places which will make you discover authentic Florence and its stories.

In this post I’ll talk about the secret and little-known Florence, that is to say those little-famous places able to make you admire the city from a different point of view.

Secret Florence

Medici Riccardi Palace

Interior of the Medici Riccardi Palace


Florence was the cradle of Renaissance.
Artists, writers, philosophers, politicians and protagonists of Western history lived in this city that is unique in the world.
To discover its main masterpieces you must enter museums in Florence, but to visit secret and little-known Florence, here are my advice on where to go.

Medici Riccardi Palace
The Palace is today home to the prefecture, but this was the first residence of the Medici family.
On the façade, in fact, you can see the symbols of the most important family in Florence and one of the most influential during the Renaissance.
It was the Riccardi family to buy the palace in 1659, and inside the building houses part of the family art collection: around 300 archaeological finds.

  • What you shouldn’t miss at the Medici Riccardi Palace: the Magi Chapel decorated with frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli where you can identify the portraits Giuliano de’ Medici, Lorenzo the Magnificent and Galeazzo Maria Sforza. Located in the palace is also the Biblioteca Riccardiana, which has been open to the public since 1715, housing around 4,000 manuscripts and over 50,000 books.
Santa Maria Maggiore | secret Florence

Berta on the bell tower of the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore

Church of Santa Maria Maggiore
Among the oldest churches in Florence, its façade is simple and overlooks Piazza Santa Maria Maggiore, while the interior has 3 naves with pointed arches and 3 chapels.
The church houses the tomb of Dante Alighieri’s teacher: Brunetto Latini.
On the bell tower you can notice a marble bust that, according to legend, portrays Berta, a woman petrified by Cecco D’Ascoli, an alchemist sentenced to death and burned at the stake, because she inveighed against him.

The secret view on the Florence Cathedral
The best view on the Florence Cathedral is that from Giotto’s Bell Tower, where you can access by ascending 400 steps, or Brunelleschi’s Dome. However, there’s a special place where you can admire the Cathedral from: the terrace of the Rinascente store.

  • How to access the secret view on the Cathedral: to admire the Cathedral from the Rinascente all you have to do is enter the shop and go up until you reach the 4th  floor.
    When you arrive on the top, you’ll enjoy the view on the Cathedral, Giotto’s Bell Tower and Brunelleschi’s Dome. And, what is more, the admission is free of charge!
Florence Cathedral | secret Florence

The view on the Florence Cathedral from the Rinascente store.

These are only some places of secret Florence you should visit, but there are others, such as the museums. In the post museums in Florence: 6 beautiful and little-known museums you’ll find a list of the must-see museums.

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