Florence is a small city but in every corner there is an unexpected surprise or a hidden secret. Here are some unknown Florence locations to visit that are off the beaten track..

Perhaps on your first visit to this amazing city you should follow the classic itinerarybut if you are on your second, third or fourth trip try to experience something new.

Some unknown Florence spots

Gasometer – the beginning of light in Florence

Unknown Florence

In the narrow streets of the area of San Frediano at some point you bump into this unusual construction. You are in front of  probably the only piece of industrial architecture in Florence: the gasometer. It was built in 1846, one year after the activation of the first street lamp in Florence that was powered by gas (in Via Maggio in 1845). At that time there were many gasometers around Florence that were used to distribute gas throughout the city to provide lighting in public and private spaces as well as heating. With the advent of electric energy, the gasometers were dismantled with the exception of this one.

Exact address: Via dell’Anconella.

Church of San Bartolomeo a Monte Oliveto – the church with a secret

Unknown Florence

Just above the pretty “Boschetto” (little woods) Garden, located on Monte Oliveto, there is a hidden church which is the only UNESCO site located in Florence that lies outside the old walls. Barely seen by the masses of tourists, this church boasts two things that need to be underlined. On one hand, it was from here in the 1400s that the first perspective view of the city was drawn (Pianta della Catena attributed to Francesco di Lorenzo Rosselli, which can be viewed at the Bode Museum in Berlin ). On the other hand, it is here that Leonardo da Vinci painted one of his most famous works of art, the Annunciation. In fact, next to the church there is an old monastery where Leonardo da Vinci lived for a few years. The painting was kept in this church until 1867, but is now in the possession and on view at the Uffizi Gallery. For more info on how to visit this church, please see the official website, including the possibility for a guided tour in English.  Definitely take the time to visit this little jewel, as it doesn’t happen every day to see the original location and view of a famous painting. The walk either up the Boschetto Garden or up the narrow streets from the San Frediano district is quite pleasant.

Exact address: Chiesa San Bartolomeo a Monte Oliveto, Via Monte Oliveto.

Tepidario del Roster

Unknown Florence

Leaving behind the historical center and the Medieval walls, it is possible to continue to explore Florence and find more architectural jewels on the nearby hills surrounding the city. Another unknown Florence spot is the Roster greenhouse, a botanical glasshouse built in 1880 following the project of the Florentine architect Giacomo Roster. The inside was dedicated to the art of gardening, which was in vogue in that period. The building is now used for private events. It is surrounded by a wonderful garden, which is perfect to take a break from the busy historical center. Here, you can also find one of the secret views of Florence.
Exact address: Giardino dell’Orticultura, Via Vittorio Emanuele II
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