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traveller212 Apr 24th, 2006 02:23 PM

Piazza Santa Maria Novella - Florence
Have you been to Florence recently and visited Piazza Santa Maria Novella? Just how "grungy" is it? Thanks.

cantstayhome Apr 24th, 2006 02:31 PM

Was there a week and a half ago. Not too grungy, just maybe not as polished as some other piazzas. Grass could be reseeded in spots, few bottlecaps and the like lying around, but you'll find that anywhere. There were workmen working on a fountain when we were there, sprucing it up and getting it running. Was there during the day and it was quite lively - hung out for half an hour or so while hubby did work in a nearby internet cafe and felt absolutely no concern.

LCBoniti Apr 24th, 2006 03:06 PM

Hi, traveller!
We stayed at the Croce di Malta hotel, which was right near this piazza. There was a lot of construction going on and it was not nearly as pretty as other piazzas in Florence but I would not call it "grungy". We never felt uncomfortable, even at night. Of course, it was February so too cold for us to be out really late. Nevertheless, I would not hesitate to stay in that vicinity again.

Hope this helps!

traveller212 Apr 25th, 2006 12:20 PM

Thanks for the info! Thinking of staying at a hotel right on the piazza -- had read some comments that the piazza was questionable but sounds perfectly fine. As you say, maybe not the finest piazza in Florence, but I think this location just off the historic center might be interesting. I also read about some interesting shops in the vicinity.

Where was the internet cafe?

LCBoniti Apr 26th, 2006 11:02 AM

There are "interesting" shops EVERYWHERE in Florence! I was amazed at how beautiful they are - inside and outside!

traveller212 Apr 26th, 2006 12:48 PM

Details, details!

PalQ Apr 26th, 2006 12:50 PM

Must have cleaned up this once seedy plaza by the train station - a few years ago it was grungy with lots of suspect-looking young people hanging around drinking, etc. Tough looking immigrant types - guess they've hit the road.

tcreath Apr 26th, 2006 12:54 PM

I was thinking the same thing as PalQ...when we were there a few years ago I always felt uncomfortable walking through it to the train station. There were always groups of people hanging around, and it just felt very seedy and discomforting to me.


LCBoniti Apr 26th, 2006 01:28 PM

You don't need details. Beautiful stores are everywhere.

However, you will be staying very close to the Farmacia Santa Maria Novella, which is very famous and has had lots of posts on this site. (Do a search for it by name and the threads will come up for you.) It is on Via della Scala (which is the street our hotel was on). As you enter Via della Scala from the Piazza, it will be on your right about halfway down the block. We really enjoyed it and were able to purchase some lovely things.

You might enjoy my trip report. We absolutely loved Florence and I'm sure you will, too.

LOJO Apr 28th, 2006 12:42 PM

We were in Italy last week, and spent 4 nights at the Hotel Roma, on Piazza S.M. Novella. In my opinion, the negative reports about this square are grossly exaggerated. Yes, it was noisy at night on the weekend, thanks to the Irish Pub next to our hotel, but it was just people having a good time, not threatening in any way. During the day, the square was very active with all types of people passing through, students, families with children who chased the pigeons, locals catching the bus or walking to work. We really liked this location for its convenience to the train and bus station, (We took the bus to Siena and the train to Rome.), proximity to the Arno and bridges (just a couple of blocks down a side street) and short 10 - 15 minute walk to all the major attractions. It was also nice to get away from the tourist crowds around the Duomo. I actually preferred this piazza over the others because it seemed to be frequented more by residents of Florence going about their daily business, whereas the others were crowded with tourists. We were out until midnight a couple of nights, and did not feel uncomfortable walking in the area. We ate our picnic lunches in the square twice during our stay. I guess I feel the piazza has gotten a bad rap, and I wanted to put out another perspective. Enjoy your trip!

traveller212 Apr 29th, 2006 07:51 AM

LOJO - Thanks for the report!

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