Neighborhoods of Florence, Italy: Exploring Quartiere dell’Oltrarno with Kate Bolton-Porciatti

Neighborhoods of Florence, Italy: Exploring Quartiere dell’Oltrarno with Kate Bolton-Porciatti


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The city of Florence was divided into four distinct neighborhoods in the mid 13th century, and each one has preserved its own unique character and identity to this day. These four virtual tours – partly recorded on location in the city – offer first-hand insights into each area. 

During our time together, we’ll explore how the quarters have evolved and developed over the centuries, thanks to their different geographical locations, historical and political events, economics, and religion - all of which have indelibly shaped their distinctive personalities and cultural traditions. 

With the help of maps, videos, and photographs, we will tour each neighborhood, stopping en route to reflect on their artworks, social and cultural traditions. We (virtually) meet the great families that shaped each quarter, visit the towers, palaces, churches, and monuments they patronized, and explore the city’s artisan workshops and culinary traditions. Finally, we’ll reflect on how local Florentine communities have been created, and how they might be preserved in the future. 

Our fourth installment will focus upon the Oltrarno Neighbourhood – historically, the quarter that grew up around the basilica of Santo Spirito. Here, on the south side of the River Arno, we experience both aristocratic grandeur and Bohemian life. The most extravagant monument of the neighborhood is the Pitti Palace - the grand residence of dukes and royalty, set in the luxuriant Boboli Gardens - the ‘green lung’ of the city. Around it, in labyrinthine medieval streets, are some of Florence’s most skilled artisans: makers of masks and musical instruments, bookbinders, papermakers, and craftsmen who specialize in stone inlay work. At the heart of the neighborhood, Piazza Santo Spirito is the stage for food and bric-à-brac markets, open-air concerts, and atmospheric places to enjoy an 'aperitivo' while watching Florentine life go by.

Led by an expert on Italian culture and history, Kate Bolton-Porciatti, this Conversation will bring the neighborhoods of Florence to vibrant life. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding and appreciation of the city and its many personalities.

This seminar is part of a multi-part series that virtually explores the charming neighborhoods of Florence Italy. For more information, please click here.

Kate Bolton-Porciatti is a professor of Italian cultural history and music at the Istituto Lorenzo de’Medici in Florence, where she teaches BA and MA courses in the humanities. She also lectures at the British Institute, Florence, and at the Chigiana Music Academy in Siena. Kate has published extensively as an academic and a journalist; she is a music critic for BBC Music and a travel writer for The Daily Telegraph, UK. Before moving to Italy permanently in 2005, she was a senior producer and broadcaster for BBC Arts & Classical Music in London and has won prestigious Jerusalem and Sony Awards for her programs. She did her M.Phil. thesis in Italy, exploring the musical culture of early Renaissance Florence.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 5 reviews
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(5)
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Nancy C (Amherst, US)
Another great walk through Florence

I love her knowledge and humor, and I'm impressed by the videos that she's recorded so that we can sigh and remember the glories of Florence.

S
Susan G (Wilmette, US)
Superb!

I joined Kate on all of her seminars in the four Neighborhoods of Florence and it was a sheer delight in every way. Kate's presentations are filled with historical information, virtual walks with beautiful camera work (close-ups and panoramic vistas), gorgeous images and fascinating and insightful facts. Kate is a scholar in so many fields of study and a joy to listen to - all of her seminars and course are exceptional, don't miss them!

L
Laurel (Calgary, CA)
Inspiring in depth look at Florence

This four part series looking at the historic neighbourhoods of Florence inspired me to return to Florence. Kate shows you how much there is to see and do, and as importantly, why you would want to visit the places she takes you to. Going in person with Kate would be ideal but these seminars are a satisfying substitute.

k
kareen (Chicago, US)

I cannot wait to return to Florence to see all the places I've missed; this is because Kate has shown her great love for Florence in everything she translates to us.

M
Mair Morris (Chilliwack, CA)

Still floating - having come down yet after a delicious, delightful, most enjoyable experience in Florence.

Customer Reviews

Based on 5 reviews
100%
(5)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
N
Nancy C (Amherst, US)
Another great walk through Florence

I love her knowledge and humor, and I'm impressed by the videos that she's recorded so that we can sigh and remember the glories of Florence.

S
Susan G (Wilmette, US)
Superb!

I joined Kate on all of her seminars in the four Neighborhoods of Florence and it was a sheer delight in every way. Kate's presentations are filled with historical information, virtual walks with beautiful camera work (close-ups and panoramic vistas), gorgeous images and fascinating and insightful facts. Kate is a scholar in so many fields of study and a joy to listen to - all of her seminars and course are exceptional, don't miss them!

L
Laurel (Calgary, CA)
Inspiring in depth look at Florence

This four part series looking at the historic neighbourhoods of Florence inspired me to return to Florence. Kate shows you how much there is to see and do, and as importantly, why you would want to visit the places she takes you to. Going in person with Kate would be ideal but these seminars are a satisfying substitute.

k
kareen (Chicago, US)

I cannot wait to return to Florence to see all the places I've missed; this is because Kate has shown her great love for Florence in everything she translates to us.

M
Mair Morris (Chilliwack, CA)

Still floating - having come down yet after a delicious, delightful, most enjoyable experience in Florence.