Although Rome occupies the summit of the Italian cities not to be missed, Florence should occupy an honourable second place. Visiting Florence and touring its streets is roughly the same as walking through an open-air museum.
There is always a street that snatches us with its masterpieces. There is always a corner that reserves a moment of astonishment. It is a city brimming with art and life at any time of the day. And every alley, every square, every house, holds secrets to unveil.
Florence is the city of people who see life with the eyes of the poet and the heart of lovers. For these it is almost impossible not to fall in love with the Tuscan capital. A city full of artistic genius!
Florence is considered one of the largest artistic capitals in the world. Everything is due to the contribution of writers like Dante, Petrarca and Machiavelli and of painters and sculptors like Botticelli, Miguel Angelo and Donatello. So prepare to be embraced by art. You will have your company wherever you dare to wander with the help of this Florence script.
Duomo of Florence, Cathedral of Santa Maria Del Fiore
Nothing better to start our Florence itinerary than by one of the most famous symbols of Italy: the cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore, universally known as the Duomo of Florence. With its brick dome, it is the fourth largest cathedral in Europe and the tallest building in the city. This impressive masterpiece dominates the center of Florence, accompanied by the Baptistery of St. John with its bronze doors, and by the Campanile, a work designed by Giotto.
After walking the Duomo grounds countless times, and losing sight of its many details, we decided to wind our shoes and climb the more than four hundred stair steps that separated us from its dome 91 meters high. As well as being tiresome, as you can imagine, there are very narrow passages that make the climb to the highest point of the city a rather painful task. The climb effort is however awarded with a simply sublime view, as you can see from the photographs.
Baptistery of Saint John
In addition to an interior of great beauty, the Baptistery has as a great attraction the already mentioned bronze doors of Lorenzo Ghiberti, built to commemorate the end of the plague that had devastated the city.
Miguel Angelo called them Portas do Paraíso. The ten panels that compose it show several Biblical passages as, for example, the fall of Jericho and Abraham and the Sacrifice of Isaac.
Piazza di San Lorenzo
Get to know Florence by walking in the lively Piazza di San Lorenzo, firstly book your discounted business class flights and travel there. Here you can find numerous booths that sell a little of everything. Ideal place to buy some souvenirs or even acquire leather pieces, crafts for which Tuscany is famous, or a fruity Chianti.
Regardless of whether or not you are a fan of shopping, it is very nice to wander through this street market with the church of San Lorenzo as a backdrop. If you decide to buy do not forget to negotiate, it is true that Italy is not Morocco, but the art of bargaining goes there.
In the Piazza di San Lorenzo you will also find the famous Mercato Centrale, the most popular food market in Florence. Always useful, especially if you think about picnicking somewhere in a Tuscan valley!
Here you will also find several restaurants with pleasant terraces. Good service, good food and excellent Chianti for all the bags. Ideal for a romantic evening to the sound of violins and accordions; with all these tempting proposals, do not forget to visit the church that gives the name to the square and that was rebuilt by Brunelleschi and Michelangelo.
Piazza Della Republican
Then we walk towards one of the liveliest squares in Florence: Piazza Della Republican. Here you will find some of the oldest and most exquisite cafes and pastries in the Tuscan capital. It is one of the favourite places of the street performers, thus attracting many visitors who watch the varieties while enjoying a cappuccino or gelato on one of the esplanades of the square.
Throughout this Florence itinerary, it is only natural that you should be soothed by the splendour and magnificence of the palaces dotted around the city.
Do not miss the sunset with the sound of gypsy music, or the magic carousel when the moon takes its place in the sun. Real dolce vita!
Piazza Della Signora
We start this second day in Piazza Della Signora which has as its greatest attraction the Palazzo Vecchio. In the square we can find copies of some of the most famous sculptures in the world, as is the case of Michelangelo’s David (the original is in the Galleria dell’Accademia in the neighbourhood of San Marco).
Note also to the beautiful Fontana di Nettuno in which the god of the sea, surrounded by nymphs, celebrates the Tuscan naval victories.
Gallery of the Uffizi
Practically next to Palazzo Vecchio is the Uffizi Gallery, the largest Italian gallery where you can find paintings such as the Detail of the Annunciation by Leonardo da Vinci, the Virgin of the Goldfinch by Raphael, The Birth of Venus by Botticelli, the Holy Family of Michael Angelo, the Venus of Urbino and more!
Departing from Piazza Della Signora and heading north along the small alleyways of Florence, we finally find the house of the author of the Divine Comedy. It is only a small medieval house where, in theory, the famous writer was born, but for us it was a pleasant surprise to find her. In the background Florence is like this, it reveals to us a small treasure just around the corner, where we least expect it. Relatively close is also the small and picturesque church where Dante married. There you can see some paintings that portray the marriage of the couple. Lovely!
Continuing the tour we went to Santa Croce. This 13th-century Gothic church contains the tombs and monuments of many famous Florentines, such as Michelangelo (see photography), Galileo and Machiavelli, as well as frescoes by Giotto. Note also for the Cappella de Pazzi, in the cloister that flanks the church, which is a real masterpiece of Brunelleschi.
From Santa Croce to the river Arno is a little hop. Excuse me more than perfect, for a long walk along its shore. On the horizon you will see the most famous bridge of Florence, the Ponte Vecchio. This bridge, which dates back to the 14th century, was the only bridge that was not destroyed in World War II. In the middle of the bridge there are small goldsmith shops where you can find jewels of all kinds and shapes. Reminiscent of Susskind’s famous book, Perfume! It is only a matter of exchanging Florentine goldsmiths for Gaulish perfumeries.
But the magic of this bridge does not end in its oneness, in its beauty, in the fantastic view that we have of it, in the singer whose voice decorates the street. The magic of this bridge does not end because it dwells in the throbbing heart of the lovers who run through it, who give it life … And to live up to it was born a tradition: to attach to the statue of the famous goldsmith, Benevento Cellini, a padlock engraved with the name of the lovers.
Once the padlock is closed, the lovers should throw the key to the waters of the Arno River. Legend has it that they will be united for ever and ever, that they will never be released from Love again…
And so ends our visit to Florence where a key eternally rests, where a love eternally awakens…
Author of this content is Obaid Ahmed who loves blogging and making creative content. Currently, He is working as a Digital Marketing Executive at Dream World Travel, Ltd. You can find him at Facebook and Twitter to learn more about him.