With Florence’s top tourist destinations a few clicks away, this city’s lesser-known features have become as cherished as its famed monuments and museums.
And despite its Renaissance fame, visitors shouldn’t neglect the city’s Roman origins. Ages of political and architectural developments have left wonders buried away in the ground, meaning there’s a whole lot more than meets the eye.
From what’s lurking underground to impressive moments in history, here are some more Florentine oddities you’ll be itching to see:
The mention of Santa Reparata usually results in raised eyebrows all around.
Step inside the Florence Cathedral
and descend into Florence’s underground,
a space that houses the remains of a smaller, age-old church.
Santa Reparata dates to the 3rd century and was the city’s main religious building; today it contains Saint Zenobius’ bones and excavated floor mosaics (among other treasures).
But that’s not all for Roman Florence: head to Piazza della Signoria to walk on a Roman theater – well, kind of.
Dating to about the 1st century B.C.E., excavations under the medieval palace found rows of seats built in stone, an entire structure that with its wooden bleachers contained between 8,000 and 10,000 spectators.
Though the ruins are closed off to the public, audio-video guides and visual reconstructions of the area recreate the Roman city for its modern visitors.