Santa Maria Novella

The western side of Florence's historic center between the train station and the river

To the northwest of Piazza del Duomo is Piazza Santa Maria Novella, fronting the church of Santa Maria Novella (Masaccio's Trinità fresco inside was the first Renaissance painting to use linear perspective).

This is the western edge of the visitor's city. 

Just north of the church is the train stationwhose surrounding streets are packed with cheap hotels (but are also the least picturesque and very slighly seedier part of town).

Sights in Santa Maria Novella

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 (Photo by Allan Parsons)
Santa Maria Novella
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

This Florentine church puts painting in perspective—literally, as home to some of the most groundbreaking frescoes of the early Renaissance

 
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"Confirmation of the Franciscan Rule" (1483–85) by Domenico Ghirlandaio in the Sassetti Chapel (Photo Public Domain)
Free
Santa Trìnita
Florence: Centro Storico

A church by the river with amazing, courtly Renaissance frescoes by Ghirlandaio

 
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'Last Supper' (1480) by Domenico Ghirlandaio (Photo Public Domain)
Free
Ognissanti
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

Ghirlandaio frescoes, a long-lost Giotto masterpiece, and the final resting places of Botticelli, his Birth of Venus muse, and the namesake of America itself

 
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 (Photo by Nikko Max)
Free
Parco della Cascine
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

A beautiful public park stretched along the Arno just outside the center of Florence

 

Experiences in Santa Maria Novella

Tiffany's and Burberry may have invaded this corner of Via de' Tornabuoni (actually, Tiffany's has since moved to teh other side of Burberry and the corner shop is an Omega watch store now), but most of the street's high fashion outlets are home-grown—or at least from elsewhere in Italy—right across the street are outlets for Florence-based Pucci and D&G (Photo by Sailko)
Via de' Tornabuoni Fashion boutiques
Florence: Centro Storico

Via de' Tornabuoni is the main shopping drag of Florence when it comes to high fashion

 

Lodgings in Santa Maria Novella

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

Inexpensive frescoed rooms in the heart of Florence

 
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 (Photo )
Novella House
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

Amazing frescoed rooms in this affittacamere (B&B) from just €55

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

Fantasic little hotel with rooms slathered in 17th century frescoes

 
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A room (Photo courtesy of the hotel)
Abaco
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

An inexpensive hotel of arty kitsch halfway to the Duomo

 
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 (Photo courtesy of the hotel)
Mario's
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

A stylishly cheap hotel near the train station

 
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 (Photo courtesy of the hotel)
Nuova Italia
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

The most helpful hotel in Florence

 
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 (Photo courtesy of the hotel)
Albergo Merlini
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

Top notch view of Duomo and Medici Chapels at a decent price

 
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 (Photo )
€€€
Grand Hotel Minerva
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

Fairly pricey high-class hotel overlooking Piazza Santa Maria Novella

 
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 (Photo )
€€€
Westin Excelsior
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

Defining class in Florence, this hotel is exquisite from top to bottom

 
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 (Photo courtesy of the hotel)
Albergo Azzi
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

An inexpensive bohemian hotel near the station

 
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 (Photo )
Ostello Archi Rossi
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

The best central hostel in Florence

 

Dining in Santa Maria Novella

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The main dining room (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)
€€€
Il Latini
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

Dinner at Florence's Il Latini is a marathon feast of typical Florentine and Tuscan dishes that'll leave you wonderfully stuffed for days

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

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

 
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 (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)
€€€
Osteria delle Belle Donne
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

Traditional Tuscan with a twist

 
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 (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)
€€€
Cantinetta Antinori
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

A classy wine bar and restaurant in a 15th century palazzo in Florence

 
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 (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)
€€€
L'Osteria di Giovanni
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

Fast paced fine dining

 
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 (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)
€€€
Buca Lapi
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

Classy, high quality courses all the way through dessert

 
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 (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)
Palle d'Oro
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

Make it quick at the counter or stay for your meal

 
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 (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)
€€
Coco Lezzone
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

The perfect trattoria that's everybody's hidden secret in Florence

 
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 (Photo by Milly_on_his_travels)
€€
Trattoria Sostanza (Il Troia)
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

The epitome of traditional food and laid-back dining

 
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 (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 courtesy of the restaurant)
€€
Trattoria Guelfa
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

Tuscan trattoria with a vast selection

 
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 (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)
€€€
Trattoria al Trebbio
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

Dishes to go already prepared, but definitely stick with the fresh cooking. It's worth the wait.

 
☆☆☆
 (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

 (Photo courtesy of AIGA)
Trains
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

Trains to Florence pull into Stazione Firenze-Santa Maria Novella (don't accidentally get off in suburban stations Firenze-Rifredi or Firenze-Campo di Marte).

 
Italian farmacie are usually marked by an illuminated green cross (Photo by Chris Sampson)
Pharmacies
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

Farmacie (drug stores, chemists, pharmacies) in 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.).