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(part one)

Fiercely rivaling families, love affairs meeting tragic ends…this is a route through Florence’s streets and palazzi that will take you on a journey full of age-old legends and ghosts.

If you come to Florence by train, arriving at the Santa Maria Novella station, you will pass the Romanesque church of Santa Maria Maggiore, in the middle of Via Cerretani. Look up and you will see the head of Berta, turned to stone as punishment for having mocked a man punished to death. A few steps further, by Piazza del Duomo on the side of Giotto’s bell tower, you’ll come upon the ghost of the beautiful Ginevra degli Almieri, she was the wife of a man she did not love who fell victim to a rare case of so-called “apparent death”. She was buried and when she awoke, wrapped in funeral veils, she was driven away by her husband and her family as they were terrified by the apparition. She found shelter with her beloved Antonio Rondinelli.

Continue on towards Piazza della Signoria, site of many executions over the centuries, the most famous and spectacular of which was certainly of the Friar Girolamo Savonarola, burned at the stake in 1498. A plaque at the center of the square commemorates the event.

Some years before that, in 1441, the mercenary captain Baldaccio d’Anghiari was treacherously murdered and his beheaded corpse was thrown from Palazzo Vecchio.

Not far from here in Via del Proconsolo, is the Bargello Museum, the city court and jail of centuries past. Those who know how to listen still hear the agonized screams of the tortured and those sentenced to hang from the windows on the street as a warning to passers-by…

The route continues in Oltrarno, over the Ponte Vecchio, on the trail of the princesses of the Medici family, who died from the pain of love…