Santo Spirito Square
Related Topics:

Althea Rooms: A comfortable and friendly guest house, right in the heart of Oltrarno.

B & B in Florence: A comfortable accommodation in a tipical quiet street of the centre; all rooms in traditional Florentine style andhave a private bathroom.

Centro Machiavelli: Centre for Italian language and culture for foreigners. Practical courses in artisan workshops

Fili Folli: Fili Folli, between Piazza Santo Spirito and Piazza del Carmine, offers haberdashery, underwear and clothing repairs.

Filippini e Paoletti: Byzantine Mosaic and Florentine custom jewellery.

La Scartoffia: Stationery, toys, postcards and Fax service

Poli Eugenio & C.: Artisan workshop for gilding and making of wooden frames; imitation of antique frames and objects; bespoke design and restoration.

Ristorante Ricchi: A Fresh fish only restaurant in Piazza Santo Spirito.

Roberto Ugolini: Men shoes made to measure. Artisan workshop.

Ugo Bellini - Cose preziose: Artisan Goldsmither's Workshop

Church of San Felice in Piazza
Church of Santo Spirito
Oltrarno's Fountains
Palazzo Guadagni
Refectory of Santo Spirito
Tabernacles
Via Maggio

 

Tourist informations
Where is it: two steps away from Via Maggio and Pitti Square - right in the heart of Oltrarno!

Santo Spirito Square counts to the most beautiful squares of Florence; its characteristics and athmosphere, it cafes and restaurants attract a large number of tourists and Florentines.

History

 History


In 1252 the Augustinian monks built on this area a monastery and a church dedicated to «Saint Mary of Ognissanti and the Holy Spirit», which became soon known as the Church of the «Holy Spirit» - that is, Santo Spirito. In just a few decades the church became one of the most important in Florence, so that at the end of 13th Century the City council bought the buildings in front of it and demolished them in order to create a wide square.
In 14th Century the Augustinian monks added other buildings to their Convent: the refectory and the so-called Convent Workshops on the western side of the square (they were splitted in several small apartments already in 16th Century).
In the subsequent century the church was rebuilt under Brunelleschi's direction and the convent became even more important: at that point several rich merchants and noblesmen bought the small houses surrounding the square and built there their palaces, as the Dei Family, who in 1502 built the palace today named Palazzo Guadagni.
In 1556 the City embellished with fountains several of the most important squares: in Piazza Santo Spirito a fountain was built at the side of the refectory, and remained there until 1812, when the court architect Giuseppe del Rosso demolished it and moved from the first cloister of the convent to the middle of the square a bigger fountain of the 17th Century - the one we can see still today.
Until 1869 the square was nothing else a big empty space, but in that year it was paved and enlivened with a garden and in 1898 the monument to the agronomist Cosimo Ridolfi, founder of the Accademia dei Georgofili, was placed on the side of the square facing Palazzo Guadagni.


Click to enlarge pictures.

In 1900 the Army's recruiting office was transferred in a wing of the convent, and the garden was demolished in 1938 when Hitler came in visit to Florence, so that the square became once again an empty space; a new garden was rebuilt after the war, and in 1976 the middle of the square has been restored and paved with old stones. Since 1987 Santo Spirito square is closed to traffic.
Not only monuments like Palazzo Guadagni or the church are notable in this square: here we can still find traditional artisan workshops, where craftsmen work like centuries ago - instead of tourist-shops characterizing many Florentine squares.

Santo Spirito square was conceived as a sort of open-air theatre for the preaches of the Augustinian monks, and has been used also for non-religious purposes as well, such as shows and markets.
It is the only square of Oltrarno where a foods and clothes market is held each day; once in the month an organic agriculture market and an antiquarian market are also held here.
Santo Spirito square has a long tradition in festivals too, the most notable of them being the sacred representation held in March 1566 for the mariage of grand-duke Francesco I with Maria Giovanna d'Austria: still today concerts and various events make this square to one thriving centre of night life in Florence.

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