San Lorenzo and San Marco

The northern stretches of the historic center, home to Michelangelo's David and the central market

Between the station and the Duomo lie Piazza San Lorenzo (home to the Medici family church) and Piazza del Mercato Centrale (home to the covered central food market). These two squares and the streets around them are filled with the stalls of Florence's outdoor leather market.

Back at Piazza del Duomo, three main streets run north. Via de' Martelli/Via Cavour leads straight up to Piazza San Marco, bus junction and home to the San Marco monastery, filled with paintings and frescoes by its most famous brother, the early Renaissance master Fra' Angelico.

Via Ricasoli heads to the Accademia, home to Michelangelo's David. Via de' Servi runs to the exceedingly pretty Piazza SS. Annunziata, surrounded on three sides by Brunelleschi-designed or -inspired porticoes.

Sights in San Lorenzo and San Marco

★★★
"The David" (1501–04) by Michelangelo (Photo by Jörg Bittner Unna)
Galleria dell'Accademia
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

Florence's Galleria dell'Accademia has long lines for one reason—Michelangelo's David—but is packed with other artistic delights, from Michelangelo's amazing unfinished Slaves to works by Giambologna, Andrea del Sarto, and Botticelli

 
★★☆
Michelangelo's Tomb of Giuliano de' Medici, Duke of Nemours, featuring the figures of "Day" and "Night" (1524–34) (Photo by Avia)
Medici Chapels
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

The Michelangelo-adorned tombs of the Medici in the Sagrestia Nuova and the ornate Cappella dei Principi (Chapel of the Princes) of San Lorenzo

 
★☆☆
"Communion with the Apostles" (1440–42) by Fra Angelico in Cell No. 35 (Photo Public Domain)
Museo di San Marco
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

San Marco is a Renaissance monastery frescoed by the angelic Fra' Angelico and haunted by the memories of the demonic "Mad Monk" Savonarola

 
★☆☆
"Presentation to Pontius Pilate" (1460s) on the Pulpito della Passione by Donatello (Photo Public Domain)
San Lorenzo
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

The Medici family church, with Donatello sculptures and architecture by Brunelleschi and Michelangelo

 
★☆☆
The 4C BC Chimera di Arezzo (Photo by Alex Berger)
Museo Archeologico
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

This embarrassingly rich collection of exquisite antiquities from around the world is overlooked by most Florence visitors who are in full-throttle Renaissance mode

 
★☆☆
"The Trip of the Magi: Procession of Gaspar, the Youngest King" (1459–62) by Benozzo Gozzoli in on the eastern wall of the Chapel of the Magi (Photo Public Domain)
Palazzo Medici-Riccardi
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

A Medici palace with a gorgeous early Renaissance frescoed chapel

 
★☆☆
'Last Supper' (c. 1450) by Andrea Del Castagno (Photo by Jean Louis Mazieres)
Free
Cenacolo di Sant'Apollonia
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

A gorgeous, hidden Last Supper fresco in Florence

 
★☆☆
The facade (Photo by Max_Ryazanov)
Free
SS. Annunziata
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

A treasure trove of Renaissance architecture and Mannerist art, and final resting place of several late Renaissance masters

 
☆☆☆
A pietre dure tabletop (Photo by Kent Wang)
Museo dell'Opificio delle Pietre Dure
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

A variety of "Florentine mosaic" pieces spectacularly crafted using precious stones

 
☆☆☆
 (Photo by Sailko)
Spedale degli Innocenti
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

Europe's original Red Cross, decorated with fine Renaissance art

 

Experiences in San Lorenzo and San Marco

★★★
A street in the outdoor market (Photo by Sergio S.C.)
Free
San Lorenzo leather market
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

Florence's outdoor San Lorenzo leather market is a great place to bargain for a classic Florentine souvenir

 
★☆☆
The central market is a great place to get fresh food (Photo by Renato Torii)
Free
Mercato Centrale
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

Florence's central covered food market

 
★☆☆
 (Photo courtesy of Pitti Mosaici)
La Botteghina del Ceramista
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

My personal choice for the best prices on a variety of exquisite hand-painted Tuscan ceramics

 

Lodgings in San Lorenzo and San Marco

★★☆
A room (Photo courtesy of the hotel)
Residenza Castiglioni
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

Inexpensive frescoed rooms in the heart of Florence

 
★★☆
 (Photo courtesy of the hotel)
Morandi alla Crocetta
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

Your own frescoed room with a private home feel in Florence

 
★★☆
A superior double room (Photo courtesy of the hotel)
Loggiato dei Serviti
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

Stay in a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture

 
★★☆
 (Photo courtesy of the hotel)
€€
Burchianti
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

Fantasic little hotel with rooms slathered in 17th century frescoes

 
★★☆
 (Photo )
€€€
Regency
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

This hotel borrows an Old English style giving the hotel a comfortable feel

 
☆☆☆
 (Photo )
Wow Florence Hostel
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

A colorful hostel in the northern reaches of the center with distant Duomo views from the terrace

 
☆☆☆
 (Photo )
€€
Le Due Fontane
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

Run out of a palace from the 1600s, this hotel offers a fatasic view of the piazza

 

Dining in San Lorenzo and San Marco

★★☆
 (Photo by tomo tsubota)
Gelateria Carabé
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

The best Sicilian gelato in Florence

 
★☆☆
 (Photo by David Kenny)
Da Nerbone
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

The best lunch stall in Florence's central market

 
★☆☆
 (Photo by Caterina Cirmi)
La Mescita
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

Cheap, quick, delicious, and thoroughly unpretentious meals in Florence

 
★☆☆
 (Photo by clouds07)
Il Vegetariano
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

Florence's vegetarian oasis

 
★☆☆
 (Photo )
€€
Da Mario
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

An unabashedly old-school trattoria by the central market in Florence

 
★☆☆
 (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)
€€€
Taverna del Bronzino
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

An exquisite ristorante in San Lorenzo

 
☆☆☆
 (Photo by Barbara Barrison)
€€
Antichi Cancelli
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

A true Florentine trattoria amid cheap hotels of Santa Maria Novella/San Lorenzo near the train station

 
☆☆☆
 (Photo by Jotheera)
€€
Le Fonticine
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

Florentine trattoria with a country feel

 
☆☆☆
 (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)
€€€
Trattoria Zà-Zà
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

Classic Florentine dishes in a maze of a place across from the central market in Florence

 

Planning

The Misericordia confraternity has been tending to the sick in Florence since the 13C (including, one time, my wife) (Photo by Sailko)
Hosptials
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

What to do if you get very sick while visiting Florence

 
Useful Italian phrases

Useful Italian for rail travel

English (inglese) Italian (italiano)  Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...train station la ferroviaria [or] la stazione lah fair-o-vee-YAR-ree-yah [or] lah stat-zee-YO-nay
ticket un biglietto oon beel-YET-toh
first class prima classe PREE-mah CLAH-say
second class seconda classe say-CONE-dah CLAH-say
one way solo andata SO-low ahn-DAHT-tah
round trip (return) andata e ritorno ahn-DAH-tah ay ree-TOUR-noh
Just the supplement Soltanto il supplemento soul-TAHN-toh eel sou-play-MEN-toh
Just a seat reservation Soltanto una prenotazione soal-TAHN-toh oo-nah pray-no-tah-tsee-YOH-nay
I have a Eurailpass Ho il Eurailpass oh eel YOO-rail-pahs
sleeping couchette una cucetta oo-nah koo-CHET-tah
berth in a sleeping car un posto nel vagone letto oon POH-sto nell vah-GOAN-nay LET-toh
track binario been-AR-ree-yoh
train treno TRE-no
car (carriage) carozza ka-RO-tza
seat posto PO-sto
departures partenze par-TEN-zay
arrivals arrivi ah-REE-vee
information informazione in-for-ma-tzee-OH-nay
left luggage deposito bagagli day-PO-zee-toh ba-GAHL-yee
     
punch your ticket timbrare il biglietto teem-BRA-ray eel beel-YET-toh
Is this the right platform for the Rome train? E questo il binario per il treno à Roma? ay KWAY-sto eel been-AR-ree-yo pair eel TRE-no ah RO-ma? 
delayed in retardo een ree-TAR-do
strike sciopero SHO-pair-oh
     
Mon-Sat Feriali fair-ee-YAHL-ee
Sun & holidays Festivi feh-STEE-vee
Daily Giornaliere joor-nahl-ee-YAIR-eh
City / Train station names
English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Main station
Rome Roma Termini
Florence Firenze Santa Maria Novella
Venice Venezia Santa Lucia
Milan Milano Centrale
Genoa Genova Porta Principe
Naples Napoli Centrale
Leghorn Livorno Centrale
Turin Torino Porta Nuova

Useful Italian for air travel

English (inglese) Italian  (italiano)   Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Where is... Dov'é doh-VAY
the airport l'aeroporto LAHW-ro-port-oh
the airplane l'aereo LAIR-reh-oh
terminal terminal TEAR-me-nahl
flight volo VOH-lo
gate uscita d'imbarco oo-SHEE-tah deem-BARK-oh
to the right à destra ah DEH-strah
to the left à sinistra ah see-NEEST-trah
straight ahead avanti [or] diritto ah-VAHN-tee [or] dee-REE-toh
keep going straight sempre diritto SEM-pray dee-REE-toh
departures partenze par-TEN-zay
arrivals arrivi ah-REE-vee
delayed in ritardo een ree-TAR-doh
on time in orario een oh-RAH-ree-yo
early in avanti een ah-VAHN-tee
boarding imbarco eem-BARK-o
connecting flight la coincidenza la ko-een-chee-DEN-za
check-in accettazione ah-chet-ta-zee-YO-nee
immigration controllo passaporti cone-TRO-lo pah-sa-POR-tee
security check controllo di sicurezza kohn-TRO-lo dee see-kur-AY-tzah
customs dogana do-GA-na
shuttle la navetta lah na-VET-tah
boarding pass carta d'imbarco kart-ta deem-BARK-o
baggage claim ritiro bagagli ree-TEER-oh bah-GA-lyee
carry-on luggage bagaglio à mano bah-GA-lyo ah MA_no
checked luggage bagalio bah-GA-lyo

Useful Italian for car travel

English (inglese) Italian  (italiano)  Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
car automobile ow-toh-MO-bee-lay
scooter/motorboke un motorino oon mo-tair-EE-no
gas station stazione di servizio stah-zee-YO-nay dee sair-VEE-tzee-yo
gas benzina ben-ZEE-nah
diesel gasolio [or] diesel gah-ZOH-lee-oh [or] DEE-zell
Fill it up, please al pieno, per favore ahl pee-YAY-noh, pair fa-VOHR-ray
Where is... Dov'é doh-VAY
...the highway l'autostrada lout-oh-STRA-dah
...the state highway la statale [written "SS"] lah sta-TAHL-eh
...the road for Rome la strada per Roma lah STRA-dah pair RO-mah
to the right à destra ah DEH-strah
to the left à sinistra ah see-NEEST-trah
straight ahead avanti [or] diritto ah-VAHN-tee [or] dee-REE-toh
keep going straight sempre diritto SEM-pray dee-REE-toh
to cross attraversare ah-tra-vair-SAR-ay
toll pedaggio peh-DA-jo
parking parcheggio par-KEH-jo
road map carta stradale kar-ta stra-DA-lay
where can I pay the fine? dove posso pagare la multa DOH-veh Po-so pag-GAR-ray la MOOL-tah


Typical road signs / terms » more

English (anglais) French (français) 
Stop Stop
Exit  Uscita
Staffic light Semaforo
One-way Senso unico
Dead-end Strada senza uscita
Parking prohibited No parcheggio or parcheggio proibito
Pedestrian zone Area pedonale
Limited Traffic Zone (you pay to drive in) ZTL or Zona Traffico Limitato

Basic phrases in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) pro-nun-see-YAY-shun
thank you grazie GRAT-tzee-yay
please per favore pair fa-VOHR-ray
yes si see
no no no
Do you speak English? Parla Inglese? PAR-la een-GLAY-zay
I don't understand Non capisco non ka-PEESK-koh
I'm sorry Mi dispiace mee dees-pee-YAT-chay
How much is it? Quanto costa? KWAN-toh COST-ah
That's too much É troppo ay TROH-po
     
Good day Buon giorno bwohn JOUR-noh
Good evening Buona sera BWOH-nah SAIR-rah
Good night Buona notte BWOH-nah NOTE-tay
Goodbye Arrivederci ah-ree-vah-DAIR-chee
Excuse me (to get attention) Scusi SKOO-zee
Excuse me (to get past someone) Permesso pair-MEH-so
     
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...the bathroom il bagno eel BHAN-yoh
...train station la ferroviaria lah fair-o-vee-YAR-ree-yah
to the right à destra ah DEH-strah
to the left à sinistra ah see-NEEST-trah
straight ahead avanti [or] diritto ah-VAHN-tee [or] dee-REE-toh
information informazione in-for-ma-tzee-OH-nay

Days, months, and other calendar items in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
When is it open? Quando é aperto? KWAN-doh ay ah-PAIR-toh
When does it close? Quando si chiude? KWAN-doh see key-YOU-day
At what time... a che ora a kay O-rah
     
Yesterday ieri ee-YAIR-ee
Today oggi OH-jee
Tomorrow domani doh-MAHN-nee
Day after tomorrow dopo domani DOH-poh doh-MAHN-nee
     
a day un giorno oon je-YOR-no
Monday Lunedí loo-nay-DEE
Tuesday Martedí mar-tay-DEE
Wednesday Mercoledí mair-coh-lay-DEE
Thursday Giovedí jo-vay-DEE
Friday Venerdí ven-nair-DEE
Saturday Sabato SAH-baa-toh
Sunday Domenica doh-MEN-nee-ka
     
Mon-Sat Feriali fair-ee-YAHL-ee
Sun & holidays Festivi feh-STEE-vee
Daily Giornaliere joor-nahl-ee-YAIR-eh
     
a month una mese oon-ah MAY-zay
January gennaio jen-NAI-yo
February febbraio feh-BRI-yo
March marzo MAR-tzoh
April aprile ah-PREEL-ay
May maggio MAH-jee-oh
June giugno JEW-nyoh
July luglio LOO-lyoh
August agosto ah-GO-sto
September settembre set-TEM-bray
October ottobre oh-TOE-bray
November novembre no-VEM-bray
December dicembre de-CHEM-bray

Numbers in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
1 uno OO-no
2 due DOO-way
3 tre tray
4 quattro KWAH-troh
5 cinque CHEEN-kway
6 sei say
7 sette SET-tay
8 otto OH-toh
9 nove NO-vay
10 dieci dee-YAY-chee
11 undici OON-dee-chee
12 dodici DOH-dee-chee
13 tredici TRAY-dee-chee
14 quattordici kwa-TOR-dee-chee
15 quindici KWEEN-dee-chee
16 sedici SAY-dee-chee
17 diciasette dee-chee-ya-SET-tay
18 diciotto dee-CHO-toh
19 diciannove dee-chee-ya-NO-vay
20 venti VENT-tee
21* vent'uno* vent-OO-no
22* venti due* VENT-tee DOO-way
23* venti tre* VENT-tee TRAY
30 trenta TRAYN-tah
40 quaranta kwa-RAHN-tah
50 cinquanta cheen-KWAN-tah
60 sessanta say-SAHN-tah
70 settanta seh-TAHN-tah
80 ottanta oh-TAHN-tah
90 novanta no-VAHN-tah
100 cento CHEN-toh
1,000 mille MEEL-lay
5,000 cinque milla CHEEN-kway MEEL-lah
10,000 dieci milla dee-YAY-chee MEEL-lah


* You can use this formula for all Italian ten-place numbers—so 31 is trent'uno, 32 is trenta due, 33 is trenta tre, etc. Note that—like uno (one), otto (eight) also starts with a vowel—all "-8" numbers are also abbreviated (vent'otto, trent'otto, etc.).