Posts Tagged With: Firenze

Florence, The City of the Rennaisance

Florence is the largest city we visited on this trip. It is a wonderful city of museums and sites. This is home to David, the duomo, the Uffizi Gallery and the Ponte Vecchio (old bridge). We will discuss Florence over the next few days. Today we will talk about the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio and the Piazzale Michelangiolo.

Our trip in was by car. Florence is a big city with a lot of small streets. The center has restricted driving but you can drive in if you have a hotel reservation. We found a garage around the corner from our hotel and we had only two small streets to take to get there. Our first view was when we crossed the Ponte Santa Trinita (bridge). We looked down the river and saw the old bridge, the Ponte Vecchio.

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This old bridge used to sell meats and food but the rulers, the Medici, didn’t like the smell so they banned all sales on the bridge except gold. To this day it is full of gold jewelry shops. This is a fun bridge to walk across. If you notice the top of the bridge, there is a passage way. You can go in this by appointment only. It was used by the Medici to cross from their palace (Pitta) to the Uffizi where they worked and ruled.

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There is a gelato store at the other side of Ponte Vecchio if you are there on a hot day.

The Duomo is impressive on the outside. The inside is not as impressive as the duomo in Siena. The baptistery is separate from the church because an unbaptized person couldn’t enter the church. The doors tell a bible story in gold. These are a replica since being outside would eventually ruin them. The originals are in the Opera del Duomo museum nearby.

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Lines can be very long at the Duomo and Baptistery. Go early or later in day. The piazza that includes the duomo is impressive. Stroll around it and be amazed that we humans could build such a structure in marble.

The last thing to discuss today is the Piazzale Michelangiolo. This is a small area high on a hill across the Arno River. From here you can see fantastic vistas of all of Florence. You can go by bus, taxi or walk. We walked and there are a lot of stairs but the vista was worth it. You cross the bridge, Ponte all Grazie (one down from Ponte Vecchio) and follow the signs to the Piazzale Michelangiolo. Soon you will be on a long set of stairs. At the top is a tourist trap and the most beautiful views of Florence. Do not miss this!

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Tomorrow we will continue our tour of Florence.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Driving in Italy, Duomo, Europe, Florence, Gelato, Italy, Parking Garage, Romance, Taxi | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tuscany

Tuscany, Italy is a beautiful and romantic place. No visit here would be complete without a stop in Firenze (Florence). Florence was the capital of the renaissance movement. It has great architecture and museums. The Statue of David by Michelangelo is magnificent. It is located in the museum at the Accademia Gallery. In this museum there are other statues that were mistakes in the creation of David. They are also very beautiful. The Statue of David was replicated many times. There is a copy in the main Piazza near the Ponte Vecchio (old Bridge). The Uffizi and the many Churches and museums are worth a stop. Buy a good guide-book and tour this wonderful city.

I enjoy other places in Tuscany as well:

  1. San Gimignano – This medieval walled mountain town is my favorite place. It was a great secret but over the last 10-15 years the tour buses have found it. You must park outside the city walls and walk in. There are two main entrances to the city (one in the north and one in the south). Don’t be afraid to wonder off the two main streets. The small side streets are romantic and provide a feel of the original life here.
  2. Siena – A beautiful old city that is easy to get to off the Autostrada. The Palio is a special event in Siena. It is the racing of the horses around Piazza del Campo. The duomo is magnificent as well. Be romantic and walk the small streets of Siena.
  3. Cortona – This small beautiful city was made famous by Frances Mayes book, “Under the Tuscan Sun” and the movie that followed. Cortona is a small city with wonderful hills and views all around. Get out and walk! You can see the house used in the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun” but it is difficult to find. Ask the tourist office in Cortona.
  4. Perugia – OK Perugia is near and dear to my heart and my sweet tooth. This is Italy’s chocolate city! It is where Perugina chocolates (Bacci) are made. You can tour the plant and taste chocolates. The Perugina factory is a short drive outside of Perugia. The city is divided into two sections. One up on a hill and other down at the base of the hill. There are escalators to transport you up and down. The main square is old and worth a visit.
  5. Assisi – This city is the home and burial grounds for Saint Frances. His church is really two cathedrals one on top of the other. It is massive and worth a visit. The town is old and has many interesting sites. Park and take a walking tour (like the one in the link above). Wikitravel has walking guides and things to see.
  6. Montepulciano – This is where Italy’s best and most expensive wine (Brunello) comes from. Many consider this city to be one of Tuscany’s most attractive cities. It is built up on a mountain with views of the area around it.

This general area of Tuscany is also home to Italy’s best Chianti wines. Look for bottles and wineries displaying the black cock. It is a symbol of the best made wines.

George & Jo Anne

Categories: Chocolate, Europe, Italy, Mountain Towns, Parking Garage, Small Towns, Tuscany, Umbria, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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