Once you cross the Arno River, you enter the district known locally as Oltrarno, which literally means 'across the Arno'. This is the quieter side of Florence, where locals outnumber tourists and beautifully painted buildings give way to more simple, residence appearances. This is a good area to get away from the large crowds that the city centre and still have very good to excellent attractions to see.
In Oltrarno, you can visit the famous Piti Palace, the huge Boboli Gardens and Bardini Gardens, easily spending a full day at these attractions alone. There is a nice church and square in this area called Santo Spirito. Lastly, you will also find the excellent Brancacci Chapel and Santa Maria del Carmini church, together make up a top 4 or 5 church visit in Florence in our opinion.
From the Boboli (and Bardini) Gardens, you can find excellent views of the city of Florence. However, for best views, you can visit the famous Piazzale Michelangelo, where unobstructed sweeping views of the entire city of Florence are found. This is also on this side of the Arno.
Overall, while not as important as the city centre areas around Piazza del Duomo and Piazza della Signoria, the Oltrarno isn't a bad place to spend time while in Florence. Sadly, most only pass through Florence for a night or two as part of a larger Italian Tour, thus time might limit you from coming into this area. However, for those with a longer stay in Florence, you might enjoy quieter side of the Oltrarno and attractions found here.
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