Oltrarno

Oltrarno comprises five neighborhoods along the south bank of the Arno. Arrayed west to east, these are Pignone, San Frediano, Santo Spirito, Pitti, and San Niccolò.

The Comune di Firenze, Council of Florence, calls the area Diladdarno, which translates as something like “That part across the Arno over there.”

Firenze-Oltrarno is a site with good intentions but not kept up. It does have snippets of information about the neighborhood. Wandering around, I am moved by the tabernacoli, or what I call “street shrines.” The link is in Italian, but has pictures.

Walking along the river to Piazza G. Poggi puts one at the base of the steps up to the grand Piazzale Michelangelo.

Oltrarno is the antiques center of Florence and the home of numerous workshops of all sorts. There are schools where art and craft techniques are taught. The neighborhoods are active with artisans and exhibits.

Closed for years, the Villa Bardini has its exhibits and garden open.

There is a free museum in the house where lived Rodolfo Siviero, who tracked and then recovered Italian art looted during World War II. His website says it so well, “His sometimes rather unscrupulous way of doing things and his great success with the opposite sex earned him the reputation as the James Bond of the art world.” The collection of furniture is intriguing, and the art and art fragments are interesting for their variety and for being this expert’s personal favorites. It is on the corner of Piazza Poggi and Lungarno Serristori in San Niccolò.

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