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Sant'Ambrogio Is The Under-The-Radar Neighborhood You Shouldn't Miss In Florence



9 February 2023

When you think of Florence, you likely picture the stunning architecture and sense of historical reverence to be found within its Historic Centre, which encapsulates the Renaissance period so elegantly, even now in the 21st century. Throngs of tourists surround Firenze's larger-than-life monuments, squares, statuary, art galleries, museums, and parks to understand the inspiration and history behind each one of them. Yet, there are parts of this vibrant, magical city that aren't highlighted as often in travel brochures or magazines. They stay quietly tucked within their own space, under the radar, but rightfully deserve their recognition as being a part of the stunning, artistic capital of Tuscany.

One such neighborhood within the Santa Croce area epitomizes the true essence of what it means to be a Florentine, and to this day embraces its historical roots and longstanding traditions proudly. A 10-minute stride from Florence's famous Historic Centre, Sant'Ambrogio is well-known for its vibrant indoor and outdoor markets, outstanding gastronomical cuisine, and diverse, close-knit community, where locals can be found walking and standing side-by-side deep in conversation. And, it comes highly recommended as a neighborhood you shouldn't miss when visiting the birthplace of the Renaissance.

A Community With Heart and Soul

Italy is known for its splendid markets, where browsing is both a tradition and favorite pastime of Italians — and they're great fun for visitors to partake in. Within the neighborhood of Sant'Ambrogio sits, by far, the markets of all markets within Tuscany. Originating in 1873, the lively, bustling Mercato di Sant'Ambrogio offers an enticing array of authentic Tuscan foods and products, warmly welcoming shoppers to their indoor and outdoor markets six days per week. A word of warning though, when planning a trip there, make sure to bring plenty of reusable shopping bags with you so you can buy to your heart's content, as they will get full fast. If you're a lover of all things antique, literary works, and unique pieces, Sant'Ambrogio's Ciompi Antiquariato market doesn't disappoint either, according to Destination Florence.

It's not often that you hear of a rehabilitated prison turned into a creative, diverse hub for social and cultural gatherings. Yet, within Sant'Ambrogio, one former prison went through a complete revamping and revitalization. Now, known as Le Murate (The Walls), it affords a unique and pivotal focus point within the community for residents and visitors to meet, grab a bite to eat, share a glass of vino or caffè, and enjoy a host of concerts, literary readings, and exhibitions within its walls.

A Diverse Neighborhood Rich in History and Fabulous Food

When standing atop Piazzale Michelangelo admiring the panoramic view of Florence, your eyes immediately catch sight of the famous Duomo with its terracotta red roof dazzling under the sun's rays. Your sights may also wander to a very different-colored dome that stands out among the red-tiled roofs of this amazing city. The Tempio Maggiore Israelitico (aka Great Synagogue of Florence and Jewish Museum) stands tall and proud in Sant'Ambrogio — with its brilliant, aquamarine-colored dome and Moorish stone façade visible since 1882 when the Jewish community was thriving within the city of Florence.

This delightful neighborhood is filled with fantastic restaurants such as Cibrèo's Trattoria, and sustainable food markets like C.Bio (also found in the Mercato), which combines an authentic and unique way of shopping and eating that is beyond reproach. And, if you want to experience authentic Tuscan traditions interspersed with history while mingling among genuine people with a verve for life (and do as the locals do), head to the neighborhood of Sant'Ambrogio within the city of Florence. You will not be disappointed in finding this hidden gem.

This article originally appeared published here by the same author.

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