‘We’re like an island’: inside Florence’s secret neighbourhood

Feb 08, 2023 156

The Florentine neighbourhood of Sant’Ambrogio may only be 10 minutes’ walk east from the landmark Duomo and Palazzo Vecchio, but this part of the Tuscan capital has a distinctive character far removed from the tourist pizza traps and overpriced gelato. It’s a tight-knit community that is still genuinely Florentine but also multi-ethnic. It’s a food nirvana and a favourite student haunt.

The crowds thronging the historical centre quickly thin out as I pass into Sant’Ambrogio and the tranquil gardens of Piazza dei Ciompi. It is noon on Friday, and while Giotto’s bell tower may be chiming back in the Piazza del Duomo, the noise that greets me in the piazza is the muezzin’s call to prayer. Crowds of Muslims unroll their prayer mats in the middle of Piazza dei Ciompi, home to the Masjid Al-Taqwa, Florence’s principal mosque.

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SOURCE: https://www.theguardian.com

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