Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, with an abundance of history, architecture, and galleries filled with some of the world’s most important works of art, its magnificent center attracts millions of tourists each year. I have been lucky enough to visit this beautiful city many times now but this post is taken from my notes of my very first trip.
‘As the train rolled through the mountains from Pisa for our day trip to Florence, I referred to my guide-book one last time. The city is an open air museum with so many masterpieces packed into a small area, I had planned a walking route to take us past some of the city’s most famous sites.
Our first stop was the heart of Florence the Piazza del Doumo, which is one of the most visited sites in Europe, and the reason….Santa Maria del Fiore, Brunelleschi dome structure has a beautifully detailed facade dedicated to the Mother of Christ and huge bronze doors leading into a vast Gothic interior, the bareness of the church highlights the sheer scale of the building. Made with marble from the surrounding areas and notable for its 44 stained glass windows, you can climb up into the dome to get a close up view of the fresco painted by and then onto the roof for amazing views over the city. The piazza itself is filled with street artists waiting to draw the many tourist, which just like us are out to explore the beautiful city.
Not having the time to make over to The Accademia Gallery we glimpsed at the copy of David which proudly stands in Piazza
della Signoria, The square is dominated by the Palazzo Vecchio and the Loggia dei Lanzi, which serves as an outdoor sculpture gallery. Stopping to enjoy a gelato whilst admiring Neptune’s fountain is a must before passing the world-renowned ques outside the Uffizi. A slow stroll took us past the street performers and artist waiting to draw sketches of every passing tourist and down to the river.
The river Arno cuts through the city and flows all the way through the Tuscan countryside to Pisa and is crossed by many bridges, the oldest of which is the Ponte Vecchio. The bridge is lined with shops built upon its edges only held up by stilts. Crossing the elegant bridge you pass goldsmiths and jewelers before finding yourselves in the Oltrano and right by the Palazzo Pitti. The enormous palace which was once the royal house of the Medici’s and a base for Napoleon now contains a museum, art collections and opens out into the spectacular Boboli Gardens.
As the sun became lower in the sky we made our way up the steep winding paths to Piazza Michelangelo, The square is dedicated to the great Renaissance sculptor Michelangelo and is dominated by a large replica of the artists most famous statue. The bronze David copy looks out over the mass of tourist on the balcony and onto the famous cityscape.
As we joined the many Florentine’s enjoying their vino while watching the sunset over one of the most beautiful cities in the world I couldn’t believe how lucky I was, and as the orange glow of the city grew more intense with the decreasing sunlight, I had decided Florence was amazing and knew I would return soon……’