Need suggestions on where to go off the "tourist" grid to interact with residents


New member
Need suggestions on where to go off the "tourist" grid to interact with residents


My husband and I will be staying in Firenze for 10 days and we would like to explore the "off the grid" residential areas near us. A place where we can get a real feel of the Italians in day to day life, we would love to find market lined streets with the residents sitting in chairs outside of their homes, kids playing soccer in the street. Away from the touristy areas where we can actually interact with residents in a normal setting. Any places close to Firenze that we can take a stroll through? Our goal is to not only see the beautiful architecture, but to meet the locals and make new friends.

Thanks in advance!


Well-known member
meeting the locals


It is highly unlikely you will find kids kicking the soccer ball around on the streets of Florence - it is a busy city, and the streets are traffic filled (even on the outskirts).

The kind of experience you are looking for is more likely to be found by staying in a small-(er) town outside of the city. It is in this setting you are more likely to find people interacting on a social level. And I would suggest that you look into visiting the shops and the stores if you stay in a smaller town, as well as the cafe and local bars (this is where they eat breakfast, get a coffee or panino). These are the places where you will begin to meet the locals.

The markets normally come to these towns once a week, and they are not the locals but people who make a living of moving from town to town selling their products.

Buon Viaggio,

Donna Denise


The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
There are some residential areas in Florence where markets stalls are set up every morning, each area has their own morning market which is gone by lunchtime (around 1pm). You will find lots of elderly in the main squares in these residential areas sitting around and enjoying fine weather around mid-day, but not outside their homes: Florence's streets lined with apartment buildings are not conducive for social gatherings. In smaller towns, the "village" feel is precisely those elderly sitting around and in front of their homes which gives it that air, but in Florence, it has practically disappeared, but I think it happened long ago, it is too big for that. Consider many locals are leaving the center to live in the outskirts to escape the high number of visitors in the center (and many apartments are being offered for rent to tourists instead of locals, which has reduced the supply of apartments for locals and thus making living in the center extremely costly for long-term residents). A catch-22 unfortunately.

In any case, if you want to stay in Florence where you can still enjoy the feel of "daily life" for residents, just stay in the Oltrarno area which is one area that locals still live in the center or on the perimeter of the center or just outside the main boulevard that surrounds the center. For example, the area close to Piazza Beccaria, in Campo di Marte (near the stadium), le Cure and Gavinana (east of Oltrarno) are all areas where locals live and you'll get to see more of the "daily life" in Florence but still be close enough to roam into the center and see all of the sights.

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