Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A day in Florence

It's Tuesday so we must be in Florence! We took our lives into our hands and let Dick drive us into Florence. It's always a harrowing experience but even more so during morning rush hour traffic. We had 10:30 a.m. reservations to see Michelangelo's David at the Accademia. What an incredible piece of art. No pictures allowed so you'll just have to head over to Florence and see him in person. Once that was checked off our list, we headed down to the Duomo.

The Duomo (The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore)is one of the main reasons people visit Florence. Designed by Brunelleschi its construction started in 1296 and took almost 150 years to complete. It is 153 m long and 38 m wide making it the 4th largest cathedral of the world. The exterior is faced with marble panels in various shades of green and pink bordered by white and has an elaborate 19th century Gothic Revival facade by.

The cathedral complex includes the Baptistry and Giotto's Campanile. The three buildings are part of the UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE covering the Historic Centre of Florence . The basilica is one of Italy's largest churches, and until the modern era, the dome was one of the largest in the world, being surpassed in width only by that of the Pantheon in Rome. It remains the largest brick dome ever constructed.

The line to go into the Duomo. It was scorching hot on this day so we decided to bypass the crowds that were going into the Duomo....

and make a climb instead to cupola. 463 steps to the top...but it was one of the highlights of our visit to Florence.

Once inside, you are treated to the magnificent paintings of the inside of the's amazing because you are up close and personal to these beautiful pieces of art...although they are pretty scary depictions of heaven and hell.

The obligatory group shot of us outside the cupola....the beautiful tuscan hills behind us. We had beautiful weather the entire week...although the day in Florence was the warmest.

A view of Giotto's Campanile from the Duomo.

Another beautiful Catholic Church, the Basilica of Santa Croce, is seen the distance.

The Uffizi Gallery in the distance.

One last look through an ancient window.

With the cupola climb behind us, it is time to head out to the Piazza Dell Signora, a popular spot for tourists and one of the city’s most splendid piazzas which has been the hub of Florence political life since the 13th century. It is filled with replicas of famous sculptures and historical buildings including Palazzo Vecchio, a copy of Michelangelo’s David and the Neptune fountain.

One of the things I love about travelling in Europe (or anywhere else) is being able to watch the world go by. I love this pic taken at the Piazza della Signora because it's an example of how diverse the world is...and how wonderful it is to visit places that you can experience all of the different cultures surrounding you.

It's a hot day, remember? So a little bit of R&R is needed at the piazza.

After our quick break at the piazza, we headed off to find lunch and something cold to drink. I don't know what the actually Italian name of this restaurant is, but we all got a kick out of the English translation.

We finally made it to the Basilica de Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross) is the principal Franciscan church in Florence and a minor basilica of the Roman Catholic Church . The site, when first chosen, was in marshland outside the city walls and is the burial place of some of the most illustrious Italians, such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Machavelli and Marconi, thus it is known also as the Temple of the Italian Glories. It is also the largest Franciscan church in the world but unfortunately, today was not our day to visit. The church was surrounded by Italian secret police because the Italian President was visiting that very same day. Oh well...maybe next time!

I love the "living statues" all around Europe. This guy had just finished getting must have been 100 degrees and he was sweating like crazy but once he got all of his gear on he was strictly professional. The amount of work that these guys put into these is amazing! Donna was the lucky recipient of his attentions since she's the one who dropped the coin in his basket.

Two sisters in Florence!

A scorching day on the Ponte Vecchio.



design by