A sunny pleasant 24 Celsius degree weekend of mid-June seems to be the moment destined for me to end up finally in Florence, a destination I thought and wanted intensely since few years.
I found a gorgeous city, where beauty and art surrounds you at every turn, with nice, friendly people, as stylish as could be gleaned from an Italian Vogue photo shooting. I loved the fantastic good vibe of Firenze, every brick, each step, each chic window and I have long admired the palazzos, fountains, statues, frescoes, paintings, gelato tempting shops, colourful Vespa scooters, cosy fresh gardens, and enjoyed the excellent funghi porcini pasta con parmigiana.
And I felt very sorry for not visited Uffizi galleries, because I couldn’t resist staying 3 hours to the huge queue at the entrance. But I explored the city as much as possible in 2 days, enjoying everything I have met in my road, listening to the unique music of Dom bells at 10 AM, going to rest in peace in cathedrals while relaxing with the silence of thick stone walls, crossed by the clear voice of the priest.
Church of Santa Maria Novella is very close to the main railway station (Firenze SMN), and is one of the most important and visited churches in Florence. The interior, designed in the shape of a Latin cross, has beautiful chapels on each side, while a majestic Roman bell tower lies adjacent to the church, and the cloisters feature frescoes by famous Renaissance artists.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is located in Duomo Square and is one of the main touristic attractions in Florence. The church is a great example of Gothic architecture, most famous for its Dome designed by Italian Renaissance architect Filippo Brunelleschi. Polychrome marble in pink, light green and white was used for the sumptuous exterior, same coating material used for the adjacent Baptistery and Giotto’s Bell Tower, while the interior of the Cathedral is enriched with floors in precious colored marble, all creating an amazing, unique atmosphere.
Piazza della Signoria is an L-shaped square in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, named after Palazzo della Signoria, also called Palazzo Vecchio. It is the focal point of the origin and history of the Florentine Republic and still maintains its reputation as the political hub of the city, being the meeting place of Florentines as well as the numerous tourists, located near Ponte Vecchio and Piazza del Duomo and gateway to Uffizi Gallery. The main building dominating the square is Palazzo Vecchio, the city’s town hall. In the center of the square you can admire the Fountain of Neptune and a copy of famous sculpture David by Michelangelo Buonarroti.
Galleria degli Uffizi is one of the most famous museums in the world given the rich amount of unique artworks and masterpieces conserved within its walls, the majority from Renaissance period. The main part of the collections was left by the Medici to the state of Tuscany so that they could “adorn the State, be of utility to the Public and attract the curiosity of foreigners”. Uffizi Gallery hosts works of art by great Italian artists such as Botticelli, Giotto, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Raffaello, just to name a few of the most famous. Its large collection has works from all centuries but a large part dates back to the periods between the 12th and 17th centuries.
Ponte Vecchio is another iconic symbol of Florence. When it was first built, all kinds of shops could be found along it, but in the 16th century, a decree ordered that only jewelers and goldsmiths be allowed to run their business here, and this tradition has survived until today.
Piazzale Michelangelo is a popular square dedicated to genius Michelangelo Buonarroti, and is the perfect option if you are looking for a place with great views of Florence, since it’s placed on a hill on the other bank of Arno River. The way towards Piazzale Michelangelo is sprinkled with plenty of terraces and bistro with delicious food and good wines.
Photo credits: personal archive Ruxandra Chiurtu