Lives in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Since Jun 2012
Churches & Cathedrals, Historic Sites, Sacred & Religious Sites
Architectural Buildings, Observation Decks & Towers, Monuments & Statues, Sacred & Religious Sites
Art Museums, History Museums
Points of Interest & Landmarks
Points of Interest & Landmarks, Historic Walking Areas
Architectural Buildings, Monuments & Statues, Historic Sites
Historic Sites, Points of Interest & Landmarks, Government Buildings, Castles
Churches & Cathedrals, Historic Sites
This is the most maginficent building in Florence, if not all of Italy, or even the world. It has so much history, ranging from early early history to Renaissance times and now to the 21st Century. It's a major gathering place on the front steps for tourists from all around the world. I think all of Florence revolves around this beautiful church. Don't forget to visit the Baptistry and Giottos Bell Tower too. You can climb to the top of the dome, and you can climb to the top of Giotto's bell tower. Neither climb is for the weak and weary.
This impressive bell tower, or campanile is designed by Giotto, and rests adjacent to the duomo. It is free-standing, and reaches a height of 278 feet. It appears that there are 400 steps to the top. It's not for the faint-hearted. At last check, tickets cost 6 euro.
This place is hidden behind the Duomo, and would be easy to miss if I hadn't told you about it. There is a major Michelangelo sculpture there, and almost as fascinating, a display of the models and tools used to construct the dome, as well as some of the early sculpture that was unearthed as the cathedral was constructed.
This is one of the most iconic landmarks of the city of Florence. I believe it was once used by the leather workers during the Renaissance, hence the famous hidden "Vasari Corridor" built above it to allow the Medici to trek to the government buildings without having to smell the tanning reek going on below. Now it's mostly stores withjewelry and gold work. Not smelly any more. The central area is almost like a piazza in itself, with musicians and performers almost always there.
Across the Arno in the Ultrarno district is the Piazzale Michelangelo. Tourists gather here fot the world-famous view of the Florence skyline. This is one of the most phographed spots in Florence, especially at sundown.
If the Duomo is the hub of Florence, I think the Piazza is the center of all activity. The Uffizi Galery, the Palazzo Vecchio and the Loggia de Lanzi are all located here, as well as the "fake" David. The "real" David has been replaced and moved to the Accademia, for it's own protection. (and rightfully so). This is the true gathering place for the city of Florence. You will meet people from all over the world, and feel immersed in the culture of the city.
The Loggia is the beautiful "porch" of the Piazza. I believe it once housed the guards during the Renaissance, but now it is open as a place to rest and relax and soak up the Florentine vibes. There are amazing statues by Renaissance artists, most notably the incredible statue of Perseus by Cellini, and outdoor performers licensed by the city to entertain you. Go in, climb up on the ancient benches around the back of the loggia, and relax.
What can you say about the Uffizi Gallery that hasn't been said. This is the major museum of Renaissance art in the world. It is crowded. Don't let yourself be pushed along with the crowd if you don't want to be.
Palazzo Vecchio was the seat of government for the Medici Family. It's the big block building on the Piazza. It's amazingly beautiful inside. You can visit the Hall of 500 and see where Michelangelo and DaVinci held their "dueling murals" contest. Conventional wisdom is that DaVinci's mural "The Battle of the Anghari" is still hidden behind a mural by Vasari in that room. There is another statue by Michelangelo there which was originally intended for the tomb of Julius II.
This is the place where the "Real" David by Michelangelo has been moved, along with his "Prisoners" statues. Big crowd, huge line. No Photos. But you must see this.
This was my favorite church in Florence. It houses the tomb of Michelangelo and other luminaries. You can wander through the church and out into the courtyard to see the dome built by Brunelleschi, and on into the quarters with incredible Pre-Renaissance and Renaissance artwork. It is interesting to see the damage and restoration done to the cathedral by the great flood of the Arno in 1966. Many world treasures were lost, and some great ones were saved. In June, the piazza is filled with sand, and becomes the site of the infamous Calcio Fiorentino football games. They are rough street games between the teams representing the districts of Florence.
We liked Baldovino's. It was just around the corner from the hotel we stayed at (Dante Hotel), and adjacent to the Santa Croce Cathedral. You must have reservations to dine outside in the evening. We didn't know that, and were kindly ushered inside. The owners are courteous and the food is good.