Florence…The Flower of the Renaissance

Hello to all of my friends around the world. May your days be bright and warm like they are here on the sunny side of the Cloud!

I like to think of beautiful things and when I do, I often think about one of my favourite places; Florence, Italy. Florence once defined beauty as the capital of the Renaissance. It is a magnificent place to visit!

The area around Florence was originally settled by the Etruscans in the Third Century BCE. It was not in its current location, however, until 59 BCE when it was founded by Julius Caesar as a place to settle some of his war veterans. It was originally called ‘Fluentia’ because it was sited between two rivers but it was later called ‘Florentia’ which means ‘flowering’.

Whichever way you look is stunning!

The flowering of the City really began with the rule of the Medici banking family during the Fifteenth Century when Florence was the birthplace of the Renaissance. Great artists and thinkers including Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Raphael, Brunelleschi, Boccaccio and Machiavelli all left their mark on the world from Florence. The city retains its Renaissance architecture and character.

There are so many sights to see in Florence that you should have a plan. I won’t mention all of its attractions, but there are a few ‘must sees’. The Piazza Della Signoria is the beating heart of Florence and a good place to begin your explorations.

Florence is the home of Renaissance Masterpieces!

The Piazza, with its copy of Michelangelo’s David, is the site of the “Bonfire of the Vanities” which took place in February 1497. It is also the site where the ‘mad monk’ was later burned at the stake as a heretic. Let’s just say that it will fire your imagination! By the way, you should visit the Galleria Dell ’Accademia with its collection of artworks by Michelangelo; including the original statue of David. It is just a few hundred meters away from the Piazza.

Surrounding the Piazza Della Signoria is the Palazzo Vecchio, the former ‘City Hall’ of Florence, the Loggia Dei Lanzi, a porch filled with beautiful statues and, behind the Loggia is my favourite, the Uffizi Gallery.

The Uffizi is simply one of the most wonderful art museums anywhere. It was originally stocked with works collected by the Medici family but it was expanded later and contains one of the most spectacular and approachable art collections in the world! The Uffizi is large and you’ll want to spend time roaming its halls for treasures, so please ensure you schedule enough time to explore its riches.

Here’s a pro-tip: the lines at the Uffizi can be biblical in their length because the number of visitors is tightly controlled. Ask the concierge at your hotel to book you tickets at the best time to visit during your trip. The expense of an extra tip will be worth it when you bypass the lines at your allotted entry time!

The Piazza Del Duomo with its stunning Santa Maria del Fiore domed church (which is quite simply known as ‘The Duomo’) is another must see. The dome was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi and is a masterpiece! I enjoy looking up in awe at the paintings inside the dome but there is always a long line to climb the stairs to enjoy the view from outside.

I Duomo why I love Florence so much!

Check out the designer Mall in Leccio

Nearby is the Basilica of Santa Croce which is the resting place of such luminaries as Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli and Rossini. Take time to stop at the Campanile and the Baptistery which are also nearby. Also, the Galileo Museum offers fantastic displays covering the life and discoveries of one of the City’s most illustrious citizens. Crossing the Arno river at the Ponte Vecchio, you should stop to admire the Fountain of Neptune which is fed by a still-functioning Roman aqueduct.

Here’s another pro-tip: when you want a break from the Renaissance, take the free shuttlebus to the nearby village of Leccio to visit The Mall; a luxury outlet with some of the world’s best prices on fashion goods. You’ll find some great bargains and it’s only thirty minutes away from Florence!

Visiting Florence is easy but you must plan ahead. Florence is served by a convenient airport but it doesn’t have a lot of major airline services. You can fly into Milan, but then you are 3.5 hours away by car or Rome where you are 2.5 hours away. There are convenient train services into Florence from either hub including a fast train from Rome that makes a day-trip of Florence. So, you must decide to visit via plane, train or automobile. I usually rent a car and take the easy drive from Rome northwards through the beautiful Umbrian and then Tuscan regions.

There are a wide range of hotels and hostels throughout the metropolitan area. The hotels range from the affordable, budget venues to the ultra-plush, luxury palaces. The Hotel Cosimo de’ Medici and the Pitti Palace al Ponte Vecchio are at the high-end of the spectrum for comfort and for price. I like the Hotel Degli Orafi. It is just a slightly longer walk to the Piazza Della Signoria but it has all of the comfort and grandeur of a renaissance palace.

I just want to eat this every day!

In general, the further distant the property is from the Piazza Della Signoria, the less expensive it will be.

You must try the world-famous food and drink of Florence. The Chianti region is close by and some of the best vintages of the Sangiovese wines are affordable in the City. Florence is the home of the ‘Super Tuscan’ wines. Florence is also known for its meats and cheeses including the fabulous prosciutto, salame and parmesan cheese. The great Tuscan food will fuel you for walking adventures throughout this beautiful city. There is an ‘Aperitivo Culture’ which means that a small plate of food is given with each cocktail or glass of wine. This offers a fantastic way to sample the tastes of the region but may spoil your dinner for later!

Renaissance means ‘re-birth’. I suggest that you go through your own re-birth; awakening your sense of beauty and awe by a trip to fabulous Florence!

 

Love,

Isabella

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Isabella’s Checklist

What to see: Piazza Della Signoria, Uffizi Gallery & The Duomo (http://www.firenzeturismo.it/en/)    

Where to stay: Hotel Cosimo de’ Medici, Hotel Degli Orafi (http://www.cosimodemedici.com/https://www.hoteldegliorafi.it/en

Where to party: Enjoy aperitivo almost anywhere!

Where to eat:The Buddha Bar, Maison du Danemark (http://www.buddhabar.com, https://www.maisondudanemark.dk)

What to buy: Designer Italian fashions at the Mall in Leccio (https://firenze.themall.it/en/outlet-italy/brands )

Experience the Renaissance in Florence!
Isabella’s Checklist

What to see: Piazza Della Signoria, Uffizi Gallery & The Duomo (http://www.firenzeturismo.it/en/)    

Where to stay: Hotel Cosimo de’ Medici, Hotel Degli Orafi (http://www.cosimodemedici.com/https://www.hoteldegliorafi.it/en

Where to party: Enjoy aperitivo almost anywhere!

Where to eat:The Buddha Bar, Maison du Danemark (http://www.buddhabar.com, https://www.maisondudanemark.dk)

What to buy: Designer Italian fashions at the Mall in Leccio (https://firenze.themall.it/en/outlet-italy/brands )

Experience the Renaissance in Florence!

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