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“I, for example, am now sure I love only you”.
Vasco Pratolini, The Girls of San Frediano
San Frediano today remains one of the few neighbourhoods where the people of Florence and Florentine tradition come together. Usually you end up in Oltrarno at least 48 hours after you arrive in Florence. The Oltrarno, which literally means over or beyond the Arno, with its narrow streets and squares, is the real life of Florence.
It has its historical treasures, such as the Basilica of Santa Maria del Carmine, the Church of Santo Spirito and the Piazza di Cestello where the incredible church of San Frediano was born. It also has its artisan treasures, lost in its little alleys where wood and gold combine to become works of art. And its magical places, those still lived by Florentines and shopkeepers, like Piazza Tasso and the Garden of the Ardiglione, the bicycles and bicycle shops, the lampredotto stand and the gottino (small glass) of wine, the traditions of wool processing and copper to decorate leather. The tobacco shop on the corner and the newsagent. The painting and art schools. Far from the bustle of tourists. Where one seems to step back in time a little.
And if you hear someone talking weird, don’t worry. They’re from San Frediano.