Via delle Terme is a street in the historic centre of Florence situated between Via Por Santa Maria and Piazza Santa Trinita. It is one of the most suggestive streets in the city, thanks to the medieval buildings with towers and palaces that overlook it, as well as being one of the oldest streets in the city. It is one of the streets that delimit the boundaries of the ancient Roman settlement, “l’antico castrum romano”, which by definition is the fortification in which a unit of the Roman army resided permanently. Its name recalls the ancient Roman baths (“terme”), which were once located here and which received water from a sophisticated water system that began near the top of Mount Morello. The spas fell into disuse with the arrival of the barbarian invasions, and later wealthy landowners erected numerous towers and fortified palaces in this area. The street, Via delle Terme, was also home to the general headquarters of the Buondelmonti family, who were among the first Guelphs in the city, and was the location of the funeral procession of Buondelmonte of Buondelmonti, a very important family member who was killed by a rival family near the “Ponte Vecchio” (the Old Bridge).
Via delle Terme was not affected by the ‘cleansing’ of the nineteenth century, nor by the destruction caused during World War II. “L’arte dei Galigai” (the leather guild) was established here, and not far from Via Por Santa Maria is the Tower of the Giudi Family. The Buondelmonti Palace, which is situated in the antique part of the city called the “Chiasso dei Manetti’ and which continues as far as “Borgo Santi Apostoli”, belonged to the Buondelmonti family who also owned the nearby Buondelmonti tower. Other interesting buildings are the Palazzo de 'Nobili at the corner of Via del Fiordaliso, the Scali-Ricasoli Palace and the Bartolini-Salimbeni Palace, whose main facade overlooks Piazza Santa Trinita.
If you are searching for the atmosphere of long ago, we recommend a short walking tour around the ‘castrum’, the first Roman settlement, following this itinerary (taking into account current conditions): Starting from Piazza del Duomo (A), begin walking along Via Proconsolo (B); after crossing Piazza San Firenze, you will arrive in Via dei Leoni (C); at this point you will have crossed the eastern side of the square; here you need to turn into Via della Ninna (D), cross the square, Piazza della Signoria, and continue along Via Vacchereccia (E), next walk down towards the Arno River along Via Por Santa Maria (F); and then proceed along Via delle Terme (G) as far as Piazza Santa Trinita (H). Here you are about half-way along the route; walk along Via de’ Tornabuoni (I), until you get to Piazza Antinori, and then turn into Via de' Rondinelli (L), the end of which opens up into Via de' Cerretani (M). And here you are back in Piazza del Duomo. Taking the tour while ideally reconnecting it to what it represents historically produces a certain emotion.