Monday, November 12, 2012

Florence - Home of the Renaissance (Part 3)

This should be the last of the series of posts on Florence (until I get around to talking about food), so hopefully you are not too tired yet of reading about it. 

In addition to the fantastic museums and churches, we really enjoyed the wonderfully preserved mix of architectural styles. From Romanesque to Gothic to Renaissance to Mannerist, Florence has it all. We spent a lot of time just walking, taking pictures, and trying to improve our style-identifying skills. Here are some of our absolute favorites. 

The bank of the Arno

View to the Boboli Gardens

The Duomo's green, white, and pink facade

Easily the most popular spot in Florence is the Piazza del Duomo. While I already mentioned how impressed we were with the Duomo itself, the other parts of the Piazza also deserve a mention - specifically Giotto's Campanile and the Baptistery. Done in the same marble facade as the Duomo, these two structures are often overlooked by the rushed tourist, to their own detriment. The Baptistry is renowned for it's three sets of bronze doors, referred to by Michelangelo as "the Gates of Paradise", while the Campanille (free standing bell tower) offers stunning views of the surrounding city.  

Doors of Paradise - found below these sculptures and crowded with tourists

Views of the Duomo and Campanille (right) from Piazzale Michelangelo

For having one of the best views in the entire city, Piazzale Michelangelo draws criminally few tourists. It is a nice easy climb through the Porta a San Niccolò and up the steps (you could also take a bus), and a great break from the crowds in the city. Additionally, the piazza contains a copy of Michelangelo's
David and copies of the four allegorical statues he made for Pope Clement VII.


Panorama from Piazzale Michelangelo

While the Piazza del Duomo gets the majority of the plaudits in Florence, perhaps the most interesting and beautiful square in the city lies just a few blocks away at Piazza della Signoria. Bordered by a number of Palazzos, the Logia dei Lanzi (with it's wonderful replicas of famous sculptures), and the gateway to the Uffizi, the L-shaped "square" is always buzzing with activity and is a great place for people-watching (well, mainly tourist-watching, but that's fun too). The square also infamously is the spot where Giacomo Savonarola, a Dominican priest, was hanged and burned after he and his followers carried out the famous "bonfire of the vanities" where they burned books, gaming tables, dresses, and poetry.

Michelangelo's David (replica) in Piazza della Signoria

These are just a few of our favorite places we found while exploring. Many more interesting places - the Pizza della Repubblica, the Basilica of Santa Croce, the San Lorenzo Market, the Architecture along the Arno, The Boboli Gardens, and so on - are all around the city.   

I think this is it for now in terms of Florence posts, but maybe some more in the future as we still have lots of interesting stories about the people and places of the city.

By Travis Huyghebaert with No comments

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Hey there!

Calli and Travis returned from a four month trip through Europe more excited than ever to hit the open road. Who knows where they'll end up next...

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