The Piazzas of Florence captures the essence of Florence
through an intimate exploration of twelve of its most intriguing
piazzas. The evocative narrative weaves together history, art,
architecture and the rhythms of the author’s everyday life, with
her original watercolor maps beautifully illustrating each
piazza and the landmarks within.

❖

Welcome to my website for The Piazzas of Florence, the perfect place to begin exploring the book and discover more about the city of Florence. For a map showing which piazzas are included in the book go to The Piazzas; to read an excerpt about the currently featured piazza visit In The Spotlight; or click Here to learn why I wrote the book and Here to read a few notes about favorite piazzas. I will continue to update Arzigogolare: Everyday reflections inspired by the city of Florence—and to add new features to the website—so please check back again soon . . .


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I think of The Piazzas of Florence as a journey through the city. We begin at the Pensione Bencistà, the family-run hotel where I stayed on my first visit to Florence. Situated in a characterful villa a few kilometers outside of the city, with its inviting terraces, stunning views and three-course Tuscan meals, the Bencistà became my starting point for each day’s adventures. This perch above the city offers an excellent opportunity to introduce the fascinating elements that define Florence, from the river and the surrounding hills, to the bridges, walls, towers, palaces, churches—and piazzas.

Of all the city’s features, the piazzas have always been my favorite. They give Florence a beautiful sense of structure, providing space to reflect on the past and observe the present as it unfolds. As such an important part of daily life here, they seemed a natural choice for telling Florence’s story.

The first piazza on our itinerary is Piazza del Duomo. Home to Florence’s cathedral, its distinctive cupola was a feat of both engineering and beauty and, almost six hundred years later, the religious center still serves as a point of reference. The journey continues in my neighborhood on the south side of the Arno River, where we visit the squares that are part of my everyday life: Piazza Pitti, the former ‘front yard’ of the grand dukes, and Piazza Santo Spirito, which lies at the heart of the artisan quarter. Returning to the north side via Ponte Vecchio, we pause in the piazzetta that lies at the midpoint of Florence’s oldest bridge—a fitting spot to share the rich history of the city’s bridges.

The story continues to unfold in the piazzas to the north of the river. We explore the origins of the civic center in Piazza della Signoria, the link between the important Medici family and Piazza San Lorenzo, Piazza della Repubblica’s roots as the Roman Forum, the palaces and chapels of wealthy families in Piazza Santa Trìnita, and others. Our final destination is Piazzale Michelangelo; its terrace overlooking Florence has always seemed like the perfect place to gaze—and reflect—upon the city as a whole.

As you wander with me through The Piazzas of Florence we will climb to the top of the cathedral’s bell tower in Piazza del Duomo for a 360° panorama of the city, shop for produce at the morning market in Piazza Santo Spirito, people-watch under the sculpture-filled  loggia in Piazza della Signoria, pause for a cappuccino in one of the elegant cafés in Piazzas della Repubblica . . . and much more. I hope you enjoy the journey.
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The Italian Magazine chose
The Piazzas of Florence as its Book of the Month (July 2008), likening it to “a valued friend leading you around the city . . .
the perfect guide to one of the most
alluring cities in the world”.


j read more reviews  i

Read an Excerpt
See a map of the piazzas
ARZIGOGOLARE:
Everyday reflections inspired by
 the city of Florence
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