"Of all the foreign cities, Florence has certainly become the one that I prefer. The more you live here, the more you realize that you love her. There is something cozy about it that makes me feel at home ".
(Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky)
The introduction of Tchaikovsky is not a random one, since he lived in via San Leonardo, a characteristic small street with a typical Tuscan flavor that offers fine views over Florence. He was so fond of the city and he got inspired to write "Souvenir de Florence" while in his home.
We are located on the hillsides bordering the fort of Belvedere, the Boboli Gardens and the Bardini Garden in the Oltrarno area, therefore the Santo Spirito quarter.
Since the Middle Ages this area has been specialized in industrial activities, namely the shops and the factories of the wool industry. Everything changed with the transfer of the Medici ducal residence at Palazzo Pitti, in the mid-sixteenth century, taking on enormous importance. It served as a link between the political and the private life, also thanks to the Vasari Corridor that runs through the central part of the city between the Palazzo Vecchio, the Ponte Vecchio, the church of Santa Felicita and finally reaches the Palazzo Pitti.
Today the building embraces much of the Boboli hillside with its imposing façade, with its rondo in the square, the latter created by demolishing many of the homes of that period along the Via Romana. Tradition has it that it was precisely the famous architect Filippo Brunelleschi to design the building in 1458 for the merchant and banker Luca Pitti. To crown the palace are the Boboli Gardens, designed to provide a link between the palace and the Belvedere fort, a network of paths and precise routes claiming itself as a "green city", that is an ideal city for private entertainment and magnificent aristocratic performances.
This area also offers not only art and monuments - to think that the building houses several museums, including the Palatine Gallery, the Royal Apartments, the Museum of Costume and the Silver Museum, reminiscent of the stories of many members of the Medici family, but also of the Lorraine and king Vittorio Emanuele II in the period when Florence was the capital - traditional and local crafts of high quality.
And now I would like to mention a few. For example, a very picturesque restaurant, perched on one of the Oltrarno Florentine streets, that is one of the oldest streets that lets you see a part of the construction of the famous Vasari Corridor which connects the Palazzo Vecchio to the Palazzo Pitti. This place is called the Bordino restaurant and does not have a large space, but offers hospitality and homely warmth from the very entrance, with the proud and ostentatious presence of the cart full of homemade cakes, so appealing that they draw your eye right away, instantly making you want to give up their traditional dishes of Tuscan cuisine and their famous Florentine steak.
The decor of the room is rustic and unique, with its ancient stone walls and hanging items reminiscent of farm life in the days of sharecropping. The history of this place is quite interesting: as early as the 16th century the space was used for the storage of carriages and the meeting place of the Knights. It was later transformed into a wine shop, where you could buy the wine accompanied by a plate of bean soup, served in earthenware crocks. The “Bordino” name came from the famous racing driver of the 30s; the truck driver who bought the restaurant gave it its name. In 1986 the current owners, then very young, decided to take the reins of this trattoria. Of particular importance is the warmth of the owners in welcoming their clients not only with pleasantness , but also with the delicacy and quality of their meals at a very low costs; for example, the Florentine steak is only 11 € or set menus: the first course, the second course and the side dish from 9 to 12 €.
If you want to enjoy a coffee after a nice dinner or lunch, the area offers the "Ditta Artigianale", a charming and distinguished environment, multifunctional and leader of Italian cafes. It particularly offers a tasting of coffees from around the world with a method of roasting and highly diversified preparation. Here you can also taste the gin and cocktails from classic drinks, but in a modern way, to the most sought following a philosophy of mixology. The restaurant is located inside an old building designed by the architect Michelucci and upgraded with a vintage decor. A place created with the young spirits in mind, for curious and dynamic people. The restaurant is on two floors connected by a spiral staircase: the first is an open space dedicated to the coffee shop, while the second is a space for avant-garde style lunches and dinners.
After a walk on the Arno River’s bank or on the typical medieval streets of the Santo Spirito district, in the days or summer evenings, resting in the fascinating Piazzetta della Passera (which takes its name from an ancient small house where even the Grand Duke Cosimo I de Medici seems to have been) is a must. The ice cream shop located in the corner of the Toscanella Street and overlooking the square, refreshes the soul and also your heart set on fire by heat or by the emotions that the social life of this place offers.