"In books I have travelled, not only to other worlds, but into my own..." - Anna Quindlen
|(The Statue of David by Michelangelo)|
A visit to Florence or Firenze is a must for any art lover. UNESCO estimates that 60% of the world’s most important artworks are in Italy, with over half of them located in Florence. Situated in the northwest of Italy, surrounded by the wine-growing hills of Chianti, the city attracts rapture and frustration in equal proportions. Few can dismiss the image of Brunelleschi’s cathedral dome bursting through the morning mist – a terracotta balloon hovering above the medieval rooftops.
|(A day trip to Florence)|
|(A view of the city)|
|(The panoramic viewpoint)|
|(Terracotta-tiled Dome Cathedral)|
Often called the cradle of the Renaissance, Florence owes much of her wealth to the Middle Ages. Banking became big business on the back of the city’s profitable wool trade and, in 1235, Florence minted the florin, the first gold coin to become standard currency across Europe. In their turn, these bankers commissioned some of the finest art and architecture in the city. The names Strozzi, Rucellai and Pitti can be found all over Florence but it was the Medici family – who led the city for over 300 years, off and on – that nurtured the greatest flowering of Renaissance art.
|(Masterpiece of the Renaissance)|
|(Many tourists visiting the cathedral)|
|(Santa Croce of Florence)|
Then, as now, most of the action in Florence took place between Piazza del Duomo and Piazza della Signoria, the city’s civic heart. Here, in the historic centre, Dante – forefather of the Italian language – first glimpsed his muse, Beatrice. Here, the Florentine Republic rose and fell. And here, Savonarola’s Bonfire of the Vanities blazed. Florence, for all her timeless charm, is no stranger to destruction. In 1944, all her bridges, save the Ponte Vecchio, were bombed by the Nazis, in an attempt to stall the advance of the allies. In 1966, the banks of the River Arno burst, flooding the city with her muddied waters and devastating homes and artwork.
|(Lunch at a local restaurant)|
|(One of the many historical statues)|
|(Early morning rain in Florence)|
|(Opportunity for shopping)|
|(An apron for souvenir)|