Hidden Florence’s website accompanies a free smartphone app that takes you on a unique tour of the Renaissance city through the eyes of a “contemporary” guide, a 1490s wool worker called Giovanni. Following in Giovanni’s footsteps allows the visitor to engage imaginatively with Renaissance Florence as a lived experience, while going to places that most tourist guides tend to neglect.
With the app, you can navigate the streets of Florence in a novel way, using both a modern and a superbly detailed period map to hunt for statues, shrines, piazzas and palaces. As you do this, Giovanni tells you vivid tales about his neighbourhood and the city centre. He also airs his views on everything from city politics to the taverns he plays dice in, and on everyone from Lorenzo de’ Medici to the apothecary on the street corner.
You can also enjoy Hidden Florence without a smartphone and without being in Florence. On these webpages, there is a downloadable version of Giovanni’s commentary and PDFs of the maps that guide your walk. You can also find brief articles on each of the places he visits (“Stories”), as well as on the Giovanni character and the 1584 Bonsignori map (“About”). Lastly there is a “Blog” that tracks the app development process.