Florence, like most of medieval towns, used to have a thriving Jewish community. Over the centuries, the city assimilated the community and its members spread all over the town. However, despite most of the Jews having moved away, the Jewish quartier (ghetto) stayed right where it was for a long time. The area was pretty dark and densely populated, with narrow streets and tall buildings fostering a high crime rate. Most of the ghetto was torn down when Florence became the capital of reunited Italy (1865-71) and replaced it with an elegant square (Piazza della Repubblica).
Nevertheless, part of it still exists, hidden in a courtyard. For decades it’s been left aside, neglected and almost forgotten. Recently, the municipality of Florence decided to clean up this spot and gave it in concession to a private company (Serre Torrigiani), which runs an important garden in town (Giardino Torrigiani). The company placed a lot of plants, some tables and a kiosk that sells drinks and snacks in the courtyard.
I have to admit that the outcome is very good: when I was there I had this nice sensation of “green chill” in a calm environment, feeling protected from the surrounding din, despite being only few steps away from it.