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Florence

The city of art and home of Dante Alighieri
There is no one in the world who wouldn’t like to visit Florence at least once in their life. This splendid Tuscan city is strongly marked by the presence of the Medici, the illustrious family who from the fifteen century, with their ‘hothouse’ of artists, contributed to making it splendid.
 

 
This ‘hothouse’ was also the training ground of others such as Filippo Brunelleschi, who designed the dome of the Duomo, a cathedral dedicated to St. Mary of the Flower. Brunelleschi’s dome has become a symbol of the chief town of Tuscany and is visible even from afar. Its impressive size, elegance and proportions, perfectly highlighted by white ribbing, still instil wonder in visitors today.
 
The beauty of Florence is due to its refined grace and a discreet charm that is expressed in the Ducal palacescity residences and cobbled streets, which were built according to an organised urban layout.
 
Piazza del Duomo
 
The heart of the city is the Piazza del Duomo where the Cathedral – one of the three largest in the world – is flanked by the very tall Campanile di Giotto (Giotto’s Bell Tower) and the geometric Baptistery dedicated to St. John the Baptist, patron saint of the city. The baptistery is embellished with bronze doors, the so-called Gates of Paradise, which were exquisitely sculpted by Lorenzo Ghiberti with bas-reliefs depicting episodes from the Old Testament.
 
Piazza della Signoria

 
 
Various roads filled with majestic buildings radiate off from the square. At the end of Via de’ Calzaioli(Shoemaker Street – many of the streets are named after the old guilds of the city) lies Piazza della Signoria, where the towering building of Palazzo Vecchio stands. The first residence and symbol of the political power of the Medici, the rooms of this building, where members of this renowned family lived, can be visited today. Each year, on 24th June, a historic ‘costumed football’ match takes place in the square, with the participation of over 530 characters and flag-wavers dressed in Renaissance costume.
Nearby stands the oldest art gallery in the world, the Uffizi, - the work of Vasari - where works are displayed by some of the most important artists of all eras, not just from Tuscany.
 
Not far away, the River Arno can be crossed at Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in the city, once filled with the workshops of tanners, blacksmiths and butchers and today the site of sophisticated modern and period jewellery shops.
 
Giardino Boboli di Palazzo Pitti
Pitti Palace
 On the other side of the river is the majestic Palazzo Pitti, with the spectacular Boboli Gardens, one of the most famous and best kept parks in Italy. This building, which was purchased by the Medici from the banker Pitti, was the last residence in the sixteenth century of the Florentine Dukes. It was purchased by Cosimo I for his Spanish wife Eleanor of Toledo, who, for reasons of health, needed to move to a better climate, and from that moment many city nobles followed her example, turning the area into the elegant, sophisticated district that it is today.
 
In the Pitti Palace visitors can admire not only the Monumental Apartments with the various rooms occupied by the family, but also the Medici collections and other works in the various sections: the Museo degli Argenti(Silver Museum), with its sumptuous furniture made of ebony inlaid with hard stones and marble, the Galleria Palatina, with its many art masterpieces housed in a lavish environment,  and the Galleria del Costume(Costume Gallery), housing all the court clothing from the eighteenth century to the early twentieth century. After the Medici came the Lorena family, who governed the city in the eighteenth century, until it passed to the House of Savoy as a residence and administrative centre when Florence was, for a few years (1865-71), capital of Italy. 
 
The church of San Lorenzo
The church of San Lorenzo
Worthy of a visit is the last residence of the family, with the Medici funeral chapel, which is situated in the Church of San Lorenzo not far from the Duomo. Here the tombs of the Medici can be found, which were designed by Michelangelo who topped them with four monumental allegories called Night and Day, and Dawn and Dusk.
 
Located in a characteristic area lies the covered Market in exquisite Art Nouveau style made of wrought iron. This lively and well-supplied meat and vegetable market is a place where, at the tables provided, traditional dishes can be tried such as tripe and bread rolls with lampredotto (another type of offal), etc…
 
Florentine steak
Florentine cuisine 
Florentine cuisine also offers some genuine local delights, some of which are “poor man’s food” such as soup with pasta and Borlotti beanspappa col pomodoro (tomato bread soup), even if bistecca alla fiorentine(Florentine steak), Chianina beef with a unique flavour and incredible tenderness, is certainly the most popular. All this can be enjoyed with a good glass of Chianti DOCG wine, appreciated throughout the world for its particular aroma. 
     
Where to sleep in Florence
 

Firenze is a welcoming city and offers different possibilities for accommodation.

To find the ideal hotel and the best offers you can do a search for the stars but also for districts or landmarks.

 


Testo di Anna Glik
Foto: Sisterscom.com, Shutterstock
Video: www.firenzeturismo.it
Copyright © Sisterscom.com

 
 
Tourism Board
www.firenzeturismo.it
www.visittuscany.com
WHERE TO GO
Monuments
CATHEDRAL OF SANTA MARIA DEL FIORE
Piazza Duomo
The Florence Cathedral is called Santa Maria del Fiore. Overlooking the Piazza del Duomo, was designed at the end of the thirteenth century by Arnolfo di Cambio. Third church in the world in size, after St. Peter's in Rome and St. Paul's in London, was consecrated in 1436. Inside, three large naves flow into the vast choir where the high altar is located, surrounded by grandstands on which rises the dome. The 44 stained-glass windows are the work of the great masters of the fifteenth century, including DonatelloAndrea del Castagnoand Paolo Uccello.
www.ilgrandemuseodelduomo.it
GIOTTO’S BELL TOWER
Piazza Duomo
Giotto's bell tower, designed by the great master of the fourteenth century, is the Bell Tower of Florence Cathedral. The design of Giotto continued even after his death in 1337 and the work was completed in the second half of the fourteenth century. The climb up the bell tower leads to discover the internal fourteenth-century architectural structures to reach the terrace and then the top of the tower, which which offers a beautiful panorama of the city and the nearby dome of Brunelleschi.
 
BAPTISTERY OF ST. JOHN
Piazza San Giovanni
The Baptistery of St. John is one of the oldest buildings in the city and has been mentioned by Dante as "the beautiful St. John". Built in the fifth century, acquired its present appearance in the XI-XII century. A octagonal shape, is coated on the outside with white and green marble from Prato with geometric motifs, while the three bronze doors are by Andrea Pisano and Lorenzo Ghiberti. The door to the east, with the Stories of the Old Testament, opens to the Duomo and was defined by Michelangelo as the “Heaven's Gate”.
BASILICA OF SANTA CROCE
Piazza S. Croce, 16
The Basilica of Santa Croce, which overlooks the piazza of the same name, was founded in 1294 by Arnolfo di Cambio. The church, one of the oldest and grandiose Franciscan basilicas, contains many treasures: frescoes by Giotto, tombs, altars and pulpits made by the fifteenth-century Florentine sculptors, such as Donatello. From the fifteenth century were buried in the basilica many famous men, such as FoscoloMichelangeloMachiavelli and Galileo.
www.santacroceopera.it
 
PALAZZO VECCHIO
Piazza Signoria
Palazzo Vecchio is the symbol of the civil power of the city of Florence. The building was erected between the late thirteenth and early fourteenth century to accommodate the Priors of the Arts and the bearer of Justice, the supreme governing body of the city. Over the years it has been the subject of numerous expansion and transformation. The rooms were painted by artists such as GhirlandaioBronzino and Vasari. Inside are placed some of the masterpieces of Renaissance sculpture: the Genius of Victory by Michelangelo and the bronze group of Judith and Holofernes by Donatello.
www.museicivicifiorentini.comune.fi.it
 
Musei
GALLERIA DEGLI UFFIZI
Piazzale degli Uffizi, 1
Collegata a Palazzo Vecchio, la Galleria degli Uffizi è uno dei più importanti musei del mondo, dotato di un immenso patrimonio artistico. Progettata da Vasari nel XVI secolo come sede della Cancelleria Medicea, ospita pitture da Cimabue a Giotto fino al periodo manierista. Al suo interno sono ospitati anche numerosi capolavori della pittura rinascimentale tra cui opere di Botticelli, Filippo Lippi, Paolo Uccello, Leonardo da Vinci e Michelangelo. Tra i capolavori esposti: le grandi pale d’altare di Cimabue e Giotto; Piero della Francesca, con i Ritratti dei duchi di Urbino e l’Adorazione dei Magi di Gentile da Fabriano.
www.firenzemusei.it
GALLERIA D’ARTE MODERNA - PALAZZO PITTI
Piazza Pitti, 1
La Galleria d’Arte Moderna è ospitata al secondo piano di Palazzo Pitti. Al suo interno sono esposti dipinti e sculture, per la maggior parte di artisti italiani, datati tra la fine del Settecento fino agli anni della prima guerra mondiale. Le opere, ospitate in trenta sale, risalgono al periodo Neoclassico e Romantico fino ai movimenti artistici dell’inizio del Novecento.
www.firenzemusei.it
 
Excursions
VINO CHIANTI
Gli amanti del vino, in Toscana possono fare un tour delle aziende vinicole del Chianti, che è una tappa fondamentale per poter gustare il celebre vino e godere contemporaneamente di un panorama mozzafiato sulle colline. Da San Casciano Val di Pesa a Greve in Chianti, le cantine organizzano su prenotazione delle visite guidate delle cantine con degustazioni di vini. Il Chianti rappresenta un'eccellenza nella produzione vinicola toscana e la zona di produzione di questo vino si estende per 70.000 ettari tra le città di Firenze e Siena.
SAN GIMIGNANO
Starting from Florence you cross the heart of the beautiful Tuscan countryside to visit the medieval city of San Gimignano, the Chianti region, the hills of Val D'Elsa. San Gimignano, with its famous medieval towers, stands along the Via Francigena and is known for its vernaccia, saffron and Santa Fina ceramics.
 
Destinations found in the vicinity
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