1. Guardia Medica
Via Sant'Agostino, 6r - Tel. 055 215616
An after-hours medical service. Monday through Friday, 8pm to 8am. Saturdays, day before holidays, and holidays, 10am to 8pm. Sundays 8am to 8pm.
2. Farmacia Santa Trinita
Piazza Dei Frescobaldi 13/r - Tel. 055 210921
3. Farmacia Pitti
Piazza San Felice 4/r - Tel. 055224402
4. Farmacia Santo Spirito
Piazza Santo Spirito 13/r - Tel. 055213310
5. Farmacia dei Serragli
Via Dei Serragli 94/r - Tel. 055289880
6. Pitti Wellness
Piazza Pitti 14 - Tel. 055 285510
Let's face it: three months in Italy without a haircut or highlights is not a good look; nor is becoming a hunchback from all that backpacking around Europe. When you need pampering, head immediately to Pitti Wellness, a full-service day spa in the middle of Piazza Pitti. Owners Arthur and Antongnietta and their trusty estheticians will spoil you rotten, whether doing your hair or nails or helping you relax with a massage or facial. Go on a Wednesday and get a student discount!
PARKS, GARDENS AND PIAZZAS
7. BOBOLI GARDENS
Piazza Pitti, 1 - Tel. 055 2388786
You will have realized by now that Florence is not a particularly green city-not a lot of trees, few parks, little grass. It may not matter much in February, but as the weather gets warmer you will no doubt want to bask in the famed Tuscan sun. Boboli's 10 euro entrance fee is a little steep, but students with the Friends of the Uffizi card get in free (unlimited entrances).
8. PIAZZA SANTO SPIRITO
With its diverse crowd and bohemian spirit, Santo Spirito is often referred to as the most ‘genuine' piazza in Florence. Artisans, students, housewives, local curmudgeons, drugged-out youth and more converge on this square at all hours of the day (and night, in the case of the latter). At the morning market-daily from 8am to 1pm-you'll find everything from fruits and veggies to jewelry, shoes and discount designer garb. Be prepared to dig and don't be afraid to throw elbows if you see something you have to have. Every fourth Sunday the piazza hosts an antiques/flea market. Stay tuned to TF throughout the semester for other special markets and fairs in Santo Spirito.
9. PIAZZA PITTI
In the absence of grass, this is where tourists and locals head to catch the first rays of Florence springtime sun. The piazza, overrun with visitors during the day, offers elegant alternatives to the typical bar scene with places like Pitti Gola e Cantina (n. 16) and Caffè Pitti (n. 9).
MARKETS AND BAKERIES
10. Metà Grocery Store
Piazza Pitti (corner of via Velluti)
You'll pay too much for everything, but the convenient 9pm closing time makes up for the few extra euro.
Via Sant'Agostino 26-28
This is the place to go for some of Florence's freshest fruit and veggies straight from the surrounding countryside. Many say they have the best poppone (cantaloupe) in the city. Don't let the crowd and the staff in perpetual motion deter you: the guys who work there not only make sure you get what you need, but they'll do it with a genuine smile and wink.
12. Galli Forno
Via Sant'Agostino 8r 055 219703
Delicious schiacciata, tasty fritelle and a variety of fresh baked bread and pizza make this an everyday pit-stop for those who live in the area.
13. Pasticceria Dolcissima
Via Maggio 61 - Tel. 055 2396268
Gourmet chocolate store and pastry shop all in one. Stop by in the morning for a warm brioche, filled with chocolate or fresh jam before your eyes. Stop by in the evening to pick up the perfect dolce to bring to dinner at a friend's.
14. St. Mark's English church
Via Maggio 16-18 - Tel. 055294764 - www.stmarksitaly.com
Serving the Florence and Tuscan community for over 125 years, in addition to St. Mark's Sunday sung mass, the church also holds concerts and opera performances. The opera at St. Mark's series is now in its 7th season and features professional opera singers in full costume, chosen from the best Opera Houses in the area, and accompanied by one of our top virtuoso pianists. Performances take place in an intimate setting inside the church, and all operas are explained in at the beginning of the show. Spectators also get program notes in Italian, English, French and German. This season's operas are Tosca, La Traviata, Rigoletto, The Marriage of Figaro, The Barber of Seville, Carmen, Macbeth, and Il Trovatore. See the website for a list of sung and said masses and festival services.
15. Mama's Bakery
Via della Chiesa, 34/r - Tel. 055 219214 - www.mamasbakery.it
When you're feeling homesick, you'll find some of the best cupcakes and bagels in town at Mama's. The friendly and relaxed atmosphere invites you to linger in the beautiful new loggia, sip an American coffee, munch on a freshly baked bagel with cream cheese and read the most recent issue of The Florentine. Mama's American-style specialties include club and veggie sandwiches, quiches, brownies, chocolate chip cookies and cheese cake.
16. Angiolino Trattoria
Via Santo Spirito 36/r - Tel. 055 2398976
Traditional Tuscan menu-ribbolita, bistecca and pappa al pomodoro-at a relatively reasonable price. Ask for a table near the exquisite fresco by Florentine maestro Romano Stefanelli.
17.Trattoria 4 Leoni
Piazza della Passera - Tel. 055 218562 - www.4leoni.com
Tucked away in among the tiny street of the Santo Spirito neighborhood, in the Piazza della Passera, Trattoria dei Quattro Leoni serves traditional Tuscan and Florentine cuisine in laid-back atmosphere. Enjoy your bistecca alla fiorentina amidst photos of the famous personalities who have eaten here. Though the menu is a bit pricey, the outdoor patio is definitely worth it.
18. Gusta Pizza
Via Maggio 46/r - Tel. 055 285068
If you're on a strict budget, then this pizza place is for you. While you wait, watch pizza-makers straight from Mount Vesuvius twirl pizza dough. Although there is a small selection of Neapolitan-style pizzas and calzones, the menu has something for everyone. Leave your mark by slipping note under the glass table top of the wood barrels that serve as tables. Take-out pizzas are available.
19. Trattoria La Casalinga
Via dei Michelozzo 9/r - Tel. 055 218624 - www.trattorialacasalinga.it
Located next to the Santo Spirito church, this small eatery is the epitome of the common culinary Italian motto: poca spesa, tanta resa - abundant portions for the right price. Here you'll find traditional Florentine home cooking, like ribollita, ravioli pasta in a rabbit sauce and the bollito misto for truly honest prices. Go early because it gets crowded quick. No reservations. Closed on Sundays.
20. Trattoria Dante
Piazza Nazario Sauro 12/r - Tel. 055 219219 - www.trattoria-dante.com
Just steps from the Arno, at the La Carraria Bridge, is a restaurant and pizzeria that offers traditional Florentine cuisine and wood-oven cooked pizza. The reasonably priced dishes are based on seasonal products, including fresh seafood that arrives daily from the Port of Viareggio. The restaurant also boasts a stone cellar full of the best Tuscan wines.
21. Gelateria La Carraia
Piazza Nazario Sauro 25/r - Tel. 055 280695
Have a sweet tooth? You'll find one of Florence's best gelaterie overlooking the La Carraia Bridge. Gelateria La Carraia offers a wide assortment of flavors and serves up one mean chocolate ice cream cone.
SHOPPING AND STORES
22. Pitti Vintage
Sdrucciolo de' Pitti 19/r - Tel. 055 2302676 - www.pittivintage.com
This prime vintage outpost offers high-quality, one-of-a-kind clothing, shoes, handbags and accessories by Italian and European designers from the 1930s to the 1980s, including Versace, Ferragamo, Gucci and Valentino. The Maya collection of pug-inspired T-shirts and cushions are made with vintage fabrics and stitched on site. Shop assistants speak English, Italian and Spanish.
23. Ceri Vintage
Via dei Serragli 26/r - Tel. 055 217978 - www.cerivintage.it
Besides its rich collection of period uniforms and military collectibles, Ceri vintage has one of the best selections of European vintage clothing and accessories in Florence. Designer names and others are part of a selection of unique pieces such as Victorian corsets, Liberty-era leather booths, women's hats with ostrich feathers, and lace gloves. The selection changes every week with the arrival of new additions.
24. Casini Leather
Piazza Pitti 30-31/r - Tel. 055219324
Run by Florentine-American stylist, Jennifer Tattanelli, and her highly competent and friendly personal shopping assistants, Casini Leather boasts a wide range of fine-quality hand-made leather, lamb suede and nappa bags, shoes, garments and accessories for both men and women. Whether you seek a made-to-measure jacket or expert leather advice, this is the place to go.
25. Beaded Lily Glass Works
Via Toscanella 33/r - Tel. 0552399182 - www.beadedlilyglassworks.com
All of the beads sold in this store, design and glass-making studio are produced on-site. In addition to having the best bead selection available in Florence, Beaded Lilly products and jewelry are also available on the online store and gallery www.beadedlily.com. Custom-made pieces can be made for you or as a souvenir to take home. Check out the handmade lampwork beads, created on-site with glass from the Venetian island of Murano, or a one-of-a-kind charm bracelet with the Florence cupola or the Ponte Vecchio.
BARS AND PUBS
26. Friends Pub
BorgoSan Jacopo 51 - Tel. 055 294930
Chat in English with the bartenders and owners at this neighborhood pub. Kick back with a Guinness or an American coffee while you surf the net (free Wi-Fi with a purchase) or watch sports on a flat screen TV. Packed during Serie A games, Friends has a relaxed atmosphere, with the bartenders joining the chatter. A wide range of beer and ale, a central location (just minutes from the Ponte Vecchio and the Arno), make Friends a must stop.
27. Cafè Cabiria
Piazza Santo Spirito 4/r - Tel. 055 215732
This bar, in the middle of the piazza, is popular by day and bustling at night. The music and relaxed atmosphere attract mostly locals and neighborhood residents. People-watch or gaze at the Santo Spirito church while sipping on a glass of the bar's delicious sangria. The music continues until past bedtime.
8. Libreria La Cite
Borgo San Frediano 20/r - Tel. 055 210387 - www.lacitelibreria.info
Attracting a young, hip crowd, most nights the Libreria La Cite is so filled that the crowd spills out onto the streets. Book shop, coffee house and culture and arts centre.Latin dance performances and lessons on Wednesday nights, book signing, theatre and music performances, art exhibits and affordable prices.
29. Cuculia Bookshop (with a Kitchen)
Via dei Serragli, 3/r - Tel. 055 2776205 - www.cuculia.it
The area's newest bookshop, bar and restaurant, Cuculia is also an art exhibit space and often holds public book readings for kids and adults. Its super-chic white interior is very welcoming. Try the specialty herbal teas or succulent vegetarian dishes, while leafing through one of the books or magazines. Cuculia's Facebook includes a program of events and hours of operation.
30. Giunti al Punto
via dei Guicciardini, 51-53-55/r - Tel. 0552302384 www.guntialpunto.it
If you're an English-speaking art lover then this bookshop is for you. It has a wide range of art books and exhibit catalogues in both Italian and English, as well as a vast choice of tourist books and art books for children.
31. British Institute Library
Lungarno Guicciardini 9 - Tel. 0552677 8270 www.britishinstitute.it
The Harold Acton Library at the British Institute of Florence has one of the largest lending collections of books in English in continental Europe. Playing an important role in Anglo-Florentine cultural life since 1917, today the Harold Acton Library provides over 50,000 volumes of books to borrow and browse, which focus on art history, English and Italian literature and language, history, travel, the Grand Tour and music. It is also the venue for the British Institute's program of lectures and films. Providing an interlibrary loan service with the British Library in the UK, membership at the Harold Acton Library is open to all. Open Monday to Friday, from 10am to 6:30pm, it also has its own Internet café; library members have access to the Internet and computer facilities in a room overlooking the Arno.
32. Biblioteca Pietro Thouar
via Mazzetta 10 - Tel. 055 2398740
Opened in 1914, the Pietro Thour civic library was the first public library in the city of Florence. Located in the splendid Renaissance building, the Plaazzo Guadagni, today it holds more than 20,000 volumes, focusing on the classics. Membership is open to all; you can borrow five books at a time for one month. Call for opening hours.
There are also many long-term and short-term holiday apartment rentals in Florence around the Oltrarno district.
This flat in Santo Spirito is perfect for those looking for affordable student housing, too!
What you said:
We asked The Florentine's twitter followers for their favourite place in Santo Spirito. Here are the responses:
@TheFlorentine trattoria La Casalinga. GREAT food, prices and atmosphere. (And it's a Florentine writing! ;)
@TheFlorentine Volume in Pzza Santa Spirito for coffee and Osteria Santo Spirito for reasonably priced salads and primi piatti
@TheFlorentine the drinking fountain made from an antique marble inside the great fountain