Strolling through San Frediano

Chiesa di San Frediano in Cestello
Chiesa di San Frediano in Cestello
The district of San Frediano stretches, broadly speaking, from Porta San Frediano to Ponte alla Carraia. It is here, over the last twenty years, that one of the most rapid processes of gentrification in Florence has taken place.

The old artisans’ shops have been transformed into studio workshops, the popular buildings have now become boutique hotels and the old art laboratories host events of international scope.

Once considered among the most infamous neighbourhoods in the city, today San Frediano has become fashionable, also thanks to the famous Lonely Planet guide, which defined it as “the coolest neighbourhood in the world”. In particular, the street Borgo San Frediano has become renowned both for its traditional artisan shops and for the many venues spread out among its lanes and alleyways, but there is also no shortage of churches and historical monuments.
In Piazza del Cestello, from which you can enjoy magnificent views of the noble palaces on the right bank of the Arno, there is the church of San Frediano in Cestello, with its incomplete bare stone and brick façade, built in the late 17th century. Not far away is Piazza del Carmine, with the Brancacci Chapel inside the Del Carmine church, which has a marvellous cycle of frescos by Masaccio, Filippino Lippi and Masolino da Panicale.

Around the picturesque Piazza de’ Nerli, Via dei Cardatori and Via dei Tessitori harken back to the old trades of the inhabitants of the district. The preparation of tripe, one of Tuscany’s traditional dishes, flourished in Via dell’Orto and Via di Camaldoli until the 1970s. Indeed, in Piazza de’ Nerli there is a Florentine institution: the Tripe Vendor’s Stall of San Frediano, where you can taste the traditional trippa alla Fiorentina or a panino with lampredotto.
Remaining on the subject of typical foods, not far from here, if you wish to enjoy the genuine bistecca alla Fiorentina, why not stop off at the Antico Ristoro di Cambi. Here you can also taste pappa al pomodoro, ribollita and tagliatelle al ragù di cinghiale. If you cannot resist a glass of Chianti accompanied by Tuscan cold cuts and schiacciata, then Il Vinaino di San Frediano is perfect for you. Also in this district, obviously, there a (top-notch) option for pizza lovers: they can meet all your expectations at Berberè, where the national dish is prepared using only quality ingredients from small-scale producers, also with dough without yeast.

For after dinner, you are spoiled for choice in San Frediano. If you love signature cocktails, stop at Mad-Souls&Spirits, but if you are fans of sake, you must go to Kawaii, the first sake bar in Italy with a list of spirits that will definitely make fans of Japan happy. After dinner do you prefer an ice cream? Enjoy the crema buontalenti (with cream, whipped cream and fiordilatte) at La Sorbettiera di Antonio Ciabattoni. For an aperitif, music after dinner or an afternoon break, drop into La Cité Libreria Cafè, a small multi-functional cultural space combining books, cocktails and live music events.