The stories that buildings and artworks tell us in Florence (Firenze in Italian) make it one of the most interesting cities in the world. Walking through the alleys of this rich historical city, will bring you back in time and will make you daydream. I can’t wait to take you to visit its poetic side. I love it too much!!
Florence is considered the “Cradle of the Renaissance”. But it is not only the birthplace of the Renaissance. During the middle age, it was an important trade and finance hub and one of the wealthiest cities of the time.
Florence saw many famous personalities of the past too. Dante Alighieri was born in Florence, Michelangelo sculptured here the “David”, Leonardo da Vinci and Galileo Galilei made his experiments here, the philosopher and historian Machiavelli wrote here his thoughts… Florence artistic treasures exist thanks to the work of Michelangelo, Giotto, Brunelleschi, Botticelli, Senese, Donatello, Masaccio, Caravaggio, Ghirlandaio, Piero della Francesca, Filippo and Filippino Lippi.
In 1982 Florence was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The city contains numerous museums and art galleries, such as the Uffizi Gallery (with the “Primavera” of Botticelli).
Today it is an important city in Italian fashion and handcrafts. I think its citizens have developed a natural aptitude to create aesthetic products because they are always dunk in the beauty. You can find that art in the leather handcrafts products like sandals, belts, jackets, bags, wood frame handcrafts, fashion clothes, paper handcrafts, jewelry and, nowadays, with original recycled handcrafts. In the historical market places, such as “Mercato di San Lorenzo”, beside the fruit and legumes stands, you can find unique handcrafts products.
In the town center you can find the Cathedral, called the Duomo (whose dome was built by the Architect Brunelleschi), the Baptistery and the Campanile (designed by Giotto). The Cathedral facade is a beautiful artwork, as the Baptistery facade (notably the Gates of Paradise by Lorenzo Ghiberti) and the Campanile walls.
Next to the Cathedral you can find Piazza della Signoria, that opens the view to admire the Palazzo Vecchio (literally “Old Palace”), where the powerful Medici family lived during the Renaissance period. In Palazzo della Signoria (that is still the Municipality HQ) the Medici family exercised the political power on Florence, on Tuscany and played in the European political context during the Renaissance period. Down the Piazza della Signoria square, archaeologists discovered a Roman theater but the municipality decided to not expose it to preserve Florence’s Renaissance atmosphere.
In front of Palazzo Vecchio there is the copy Michelangelo’s David statue and the Loggia dei Lanzi (surrounded by statues by other sculptors such as Donatello, Giambologna, Ammannati and Cellini), that provided the setting for the public ceremonies of the republican government, such as the Dante’s exile.
Next to the Palazzo Vecchio and the Loggia dei Lanzi there is the Uffizi Art Gallery, that was created by the Medici as their private art collection gallery and that, nowadays, has become one of the most famous and important art galleries in the world.
The Vasari Corridor, built by Vasari connects the Palazzo Vecchio with the Pitti Palace (residence of the Medici family), passing by the Uffizi and over the Ponte Vecchio.
Ponte Vecchio (literally “Old Bridge”) is the older existing bridge of the town. Although the original bridge was constructed by the Etruscans, the current bridge was rebuilt in the 14th century. The bridge has, since the Medici era, a multitude of expensive jewelry shops built upon its edges, held up by stilts.
The Arno river splits the center of Florence in two: the historical center of the city and the “Oltrarno” center, that was the handcrafts neighborhood of Florence and today became the alternative center of nightlife, live music and meeting place for artists and intercultural activities. In the Oltrarno side you can find the Pitti Palace (the Medici residence) and its garden “Giardino di Boboli”.
If you walk in that side of the town, you rapidly reach the top of the first hill and you can admire the beautiful Florence panorama from the top! “Piazzale Michelangelo” offers a special skyline of the old town. Beside you the countryside takes place with its olive oil fields and its little rural streets while in front you have the Florence center skyline.
Florence is full of historical churches -such as Santa Maria Novella, San Lorenzo, Santa Croce, San Miniato al Monte-; buildings such as Palazzo Strozzi, Santissima Annunziata, Palazzo Rucellai-, squares -such as Piazza Santa Croce, Piazza de’ Ciompi, Piazza Santa Maria Novella, Piazza Sanissima Annunziata-; and gardens -such as Parco delle Cascine-.
But you have to come to visit it because words will never explain the reality as well as life experience!