After one visit to Florence, you'll want to keep coming back. Each visit has new surprises in store, as the city's beauty slowly unravels in all its nuances. Even in the most bustling squares you'll find lesser-known corners, as it's common for tourists to lose sight of their surroundings as they focus on the pomp and splendour of the great monuments. Sometimes all you need to do is look up, wander down a side street, walk a bit further and go beyond the most popular routes. You'll notice unexpected details and discover new stories, characters and traditions. There are little museums that house extraordinary artwork, arranged into exciting tour itineraries. We have chosen 10 spots for discovering Florence's hidden gems.

    1

    Loggia of Bigallo

    The Gothic palace with a view of Florence

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    The Loggia del Bigallo (Loggia of Bigallo) is a gorgeous 14th-century Gothic palace framing the extraordinary space at Piazza Duomo. Its exterior features frescoes, statues and elegant mullioned windows. Inside is a museum displaying works that belonged to Compagnia del Bigallo, a brotherhood dedicated to good-quality artwork. The most precious items include a 12th-century crucifix and a fresco of Madonna della Misericordia (Madonna of Mercy). By the Virgin’s feet is the oldest depiction of Florence, already showing the Battistero and the Cathedral's façade, under construction.

    Lokasi: Piazza di San Giovanni, 1, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

    Buka: Monday–Saturday from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Telepon: +39 05 5288 496

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    2

    Dante's House Museum

    The museum that displays the life and works of the Supreme Poet

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    Dante's House Museum is a must-visit for history buffs and lovers of classic poetry and literature. Wandering Florence's streets, you're likely to reflect on Dante Alighieri, who wrote about the city's characters and history so charmingly. You can actually visit the house he was born in, in the historic centre, a stone's throw from Piazza della Signoria. The original building was rebuilt in the 20th century and contains a museum dedicated to its illustrious resident. The exhibition is spread across 3 floors, each detailing 1 aspect of Dante: his life in Florence, exile and the 'Divine Comedy'. Among the artefacts and antiques is a diorama depicting the battle of Campaldino, which ensured the Guelphs' victory in Tuscany, and editions of the 'Divine Comedy' from various eras. There’s also a fascinating video showing Gustave Doré's famous engraving illustrations of the famous poem.

    Lokasi: Via Santa Margherita, 1, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

    Buka: from 10 am to 6 pm. November-March: Tuesday–Friday from 10 am to 5 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm

    Telepon: +39 05 5219 416

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    foto dari Darold Massaro (CC0 1.0) dimodifikasi

    3

    La Berta

    Who's looking out from the bell tower wall?

    The La Berta site is where you'll spot a woman's face peeking through the stones of the bell tower walls at Chiesa di Santa Maria Maggiore (Church of Santa Maria Maggiore). For centuries, Florentines have wondered how this late Roman bust ended up here. Numerous legends have formed around Berta, the name given to the female figure. The sweetest tells of a greengrocer who used her savings to buy a bell for the church. Her compatriots immortalised her in sculpture to thank her. Another maintains that Berta was turned to stone by a furious witch on her way to the stake. A more likely explanation is the historic tendency to use random bits, even from old structures, to construct a building.

    Lokasi: Vicolo di Santa Maria Maggiore, 1, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy

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    foto dari Sailko (CC BY-SA 3.0) dimodifikasi

    4

    Synagogue and Jewish museum

    History and culture in places of worship and celebration

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    The Sinagoga, or Synagogue, which houses the Jewish museum, is among the domes punctuating Florence's skyline. Located in the north of the historic centre, in the Mattonaia district, this Moorish-style building was built at the end of the 19th century and features an elegant alteration of white travertine and pink stone. Inside, besides the worship hall, is a museum tracing the Jewish community’s history in Florence, with items and furniture from the 16th-19th centuries. The Stanza della Memoria (Room of Remembrance) documents the period of racial laws and deportation. To learn more about Jewish culture, including folklore and gastronomy, every summer the Synagogue gardens host Balagan Café: a time for music, book presentations and aperitifs. International artists are invited, and it’s great for a cultured and entertaining evening.

    Lokasi: Via Luigi Carlo Farini, 4, 50121 Firenze FI, Italy

    Buka: Mid-April–mid-October: Sunday–Thursday from 9.30 am to 6.30 pm, Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. Mid-October–mid-April: Sunday–Thursday from 10 am to 5.30 pm, Friday from 10 am to 3 pm

    Telepon: +39 05 5245 253

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    foto dari Toksave (CC BY-SA 3.0) dimodifikasi

    5

    Hospital of Innocents

    Europe's first orphanage

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    The Hospital of the Innocents, designed by Brunelleschi, is found near the church in Piazza della Santissima Annunziata. Besides being one of the first examples of Renaissance architecture in Florence, it also had a novel purpose as an institute for protecting and educating orphans, an unparalleled initiative in 14th-century Europe. Brunelleschi created a harmonious complex of refectories, infirmaries, dormitories, classrooms and workshops, centred around cloisters and porticoes. It still accommodates a nursery, preschool and other early years facilities. Besides the architecture, it’s worth visiting the museum displaying works by Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Michelangelo. Back in the square, notice how the facade has been inserted into the surrounding space and how the 2 spaces seem to permeate each other.

    Lokasi: Piazza della Santissima Annunziata, 12, 50121 Firenze FI, Italy

    Telepon: +39 05 5203 71

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    6

    Workshop of Semi-precious Stones

    Fragments of masterpieces that narrate the history of art

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    The Opificio delle Pietre Dure, or Workshop of Semi-precious Stones, near Chiesa della Santissima Annunziata (Basilica of the Most Holy Annunciation) , is a unique and fascinating institute that has been central to the city's artistic life for centuries. The workshop was founded in 1588 by Ferdinando de’ Medici for processing and inlaying semi-precious stones. Its productions embellish Cappella dei Principi (Chapel of the Princes) in Basilica di San Lorenzo (Basilica of St Lawrence). Over centuries, it’s assumed numerous functions, adapting to new commissions and artistic trends, eventually specialising in restoration. Inside is a peculiar museum. The workshop’s masterpieces are located wherever the clients destined them, in Florence and across Europe. But unfinished fragments and remains from restorations have been left, covering over 3 centuries of production and art history.

    Lokasi: Via degli Alfani, 78, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

    Buka: Monday–Saturday from 8.15 am to 2 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Telepon: +39 05 5265 11

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    foto dari Sailko (CC BY 3.0) dimodifikasi

    7

    Horne Museum

    The bon vivant who created a renaissance home

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    The Horne Musuem is filled with paintings, sculptures, furnishings, drawings and prints that comprise Herbert Horne's miscellaneous but curated collection, which was donated to Italy and exhibited in Palazzo Corsi between Santa Croce and Ponte alle Grazie bridge. Horne was an English architect and designer living in London in the 19th century. Here, he’d associate with artists like George Bernard Show, Oscar Wilde and John Ruskin. After a few trips to Italy, he uprooted to Florence, joining the large group of English intellectuals who inhabited the city in the early 20th century. This avid collector and aficionado of figurative renaissance art made his bon vivant dream come true by purchasing the 14th-century Palazzo Corsi and using his collection to recreate a renaissance residence. The house-museum immerses you in this era, recreating its charm.

    Lokasi: Via dei Benci, 6, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

    Buka: Thursday–Tuesday from 10 am to 2 pm (closed on Wednesdays)

    Telepon: +39 05 5244 661

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    foto dari Sailko (CC BY-SA 3.0) dimodifikasi

    8

    Clet's studio

    Visit a street art den

    Clet's studio is where the French street artist Clet, who's adopted Florence as his home, creates and exhibits his work. It's on the left bank of the Arno, near Ponte alle Grazie bridge. Nonconformist, irreverent and provocative, Clet’s famous for his stickers that transform road signs into humorous and ingenious (but still legible) art installations. His street-art and alterations to urban fixtures feature in various Italian and global cities. You can buy stickers and prints or check out the little bookshop dedicated to all things hipster. His creations are scattered throughout Florence: wander the city centre and you'll spot road signs he's redesigned. Have a good hunt for them around Piazzale Michelangelo, Piazza Duomo and Piazza della Signoria.

    Lokasi: Via dell'Olmo, 8r, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy

    Telepon: +39 39 2053 7098

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    foto dari Nick Fewings (CC BY 2.0) dimodifikasi

    9

    Enzo Pazzagli Art Park

    The sculptures immersed in nature

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    On Sundays, should you visit a gallery or spend the day outdoors? In Parco d’Arte Enzo Pazzagli (Enzo Pazzagli Art Park), you can visit a gallery and spend the day outdoors at the same time. This green space in the eastern suburbs displays over 200 sculptures. Among the most spectacular is La Trinità (The Trinity): a living arrangement of 300 cypresses depicting 3 faces. First check it out on Google Earth. Initially, you’ll only see 1 face before detecting 2 other profiles on the sides. Seeing it from above will make your stroll through the trees even more impressive. Other creations include figures of animals and flowers, perfectly integrated into the surrounding space, and fun installations for kids. To get there, take a bus from Santa Maria Novella station or Piazza San Marco.

    Lokasi: Via Sant'Andrea a Rovezzano, 5, 50136 Firenze FI, Italy

    Buka: Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm

    Telepon: +39 38 9998 8456

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    foto dari Sailko (CC BY-SA 3.0) dimodifikasi

    10

    Historic Florentine Football

    Medieval matches in costume

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    Discover Calcio Fiorentino (Florentine Football) with a visit to Florence during the San Giovanni Battista celebrations in June. This ancient sport’s been played in the city's streets since the Middle Ages. It's considered the ancestor of ball and contact sports, and its rules are a hybrid of modern rugby and American football. This event is sacrosanct for Florentines. During Charles V’s siege of 1530, a great tournament was held in Piazza Santa Croce to taunt the enemy. Since then, all the city's rulers have organised Calcio Fiorentino games, with livery matches to mark important weddings and state visits. Nowadays, footballers wear renaissance costumes and the occasion is inaugurated with a parade of knights, weapons and period insignia. A spectacular firework display in Piazzale Michelangelo concludes the celebrations.

    Lokasi: 50122, Firenze FI, Italy

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