“The Cradle of the Renaissance”, the most museum city in Italy, the city of spring – what only epithets and nicknames Florence deserved, and all of them are extremely flattering. I must say, quite deservedly: even in winter, this city located in the Tuscan valleys calls for life. Here you breathe differently, you feel yourself differently, even sunlight, the scourge of all artists, falls somehow especially, differently. And you understand this best of all when walking along the narrow streets of Florence, when every now and then, here and there, the roof of the Duomo flashes in the gap. – perhaps one of the most majestic cathedrals in the country. By the way, it is also atypical – completely covered with pale green, white and pinkish marble plates with a rich terracotta roof, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore literally pushes you into the arms of color, art and love. Love for Florence. Actually, this cathedral is the heart of the city. If we continue the theme of the human body, then its main vital organs will be located on Piazza della Signoria. Here, by the way, are the main attractions of Florence: the brutal jagged “Old Palace” Palazzo Vecchio, the fountain of Neptune, the holy of holies of art historians – the Uffizi Gallery, as well as David, Hercules, Polyxena, Perseus and similar ancient sculptures (alas, only copies).
We will send the lungs to the southern bank of the Arno, where the most grandiose palace of the city of Pitti and the breathtaking Boboli Gardens are located – evergreen and fragrant in Tuscany. Nearby is an observation deck on Piazzale Michelangelo, from where the best views of Florence open. Naturally. These beauties are connected by the same legendary Ponte Vecchio (“Old Bridge”) with its famous Vasari Corridor, a secret passage specially built for the Medici dynasty.
Temples of Florence
According to wholevehicles, the soul of the city is revealed in its many cathedrals, chapels, baptisteries and churches. The most-most – of course, Santa Maria del Fiore – this Gothic cathedral is best viewed from the observation deck in Piazzale Michelangelo. Up close, it is simply impossible to fit the juicy colossus of the temple into the camera lens. How impossible it is not to fall in love with this architectural masterpiece. Nearby is the same Giotto bell tower, for the sake of a view of which thousands of tourists overpay decent money to hotels. And, of course, the tiny (compared to the Duomo) San Giovanni Baptistery is a baptismal house where all the eminent babies of the Florentine Republic screamed indecently during Baptism.
Two more significant temples of the city (in addition to a dozen amazing churches with masterpieces of one significance or another) are the basilicas of San Lorenzo and Santa Croce. The first, so to speak, is famous for the tombs of members of the Medici clan. The latter contains the famous “Pantheon of Florence” – the graves of the most famous citizens of Florence, including Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Galileo, Rossini and Dante.
Museums in Florence
Among other things, Florence has a huge number of museums.
The Uffizi Gallery in Piazza Senoria is not only one of the oldest museums in Italy, but also the most complete and significant collection of Italian paintings in the world. The Museum of San Marco is famous for the frescoes and murals of the great Dominicans Fra Beato Angelico and Fra Bartolomeo, as well as the cells of Savonarola. Of interest are the Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts, where the original of that very David stands, from the contemplation of which schoolchildren, ladies and art critics blush (alas, all for different reasons).
Pitti Palace, as well as Vecchio, have gathered under their roof a whole string of museums, one of the most interesting is the Pitti Gallery in the royal apartments. It is worth visiting the memorial collections, because Florence, like no other city, is famous for its eminent citizens. For example, you can go to the Medici Museum, which is in the Medici-Ricardi Palace. Or the house-museum of Michelangelo Buonarotti. It was here that the great sculptor and painter created his early creations – the Madonna della Scala reliefs and the Battle of the Centaurs. Michelangelo’s personal library and a collection of drawings signed personally by the hand of a genius – as a bonus. Another worthy exhibition at the Dante Alighieri House Museum. The building itself is already remarkable – it is something like a tower, where one of the greatest Italian poets was born and where his priceless manuscripts are kept.
- What to see in Florence – Venice – Rimini
Florence for children
Florence is an amazing city for children and parents. While the former will enthusiastically absorb first-class Italian ice cream and Florentine chocolate, the latter can tell them with no less rapture about the fires that were burned in Piazza della Signoria, about the drawing that Michelangelo quickly scribbled after Hercules, about medieval intrigues, massacres and the triumph of good. In a word, Florence is a city of fairy tales, and museum collections directly confirm this. First of all, it is worth going to the Museo Dei Ragazzi (“ Museum for Boys ”), where, however, young ladies are not forbidden to enter. Both of them will be dressed as knights with equal agility or taught how to conduct experiments with a vacuum. Continuing the theme of chivalry, it is worth a look at the Stibbert Museum – a magnificent collection of Western weapons and Japanese armor. You can finish the boyish leitmotif in the museum of the Piaggio scooter brand – that’s where you can’t drag dads and guys by the ears (located in Pontedera, a 40-minute drive from Florence).
At the Children’s Museum in Palazzo Vecchio, the children will be looked after by the gloomy “owner” of the house – Cosimo Medici, who will lead them through the secret corridors and rooms of the palace, and will allow them to try on raincoats, dresses and masks of the 16th century. Curious children will certainly be interested in ancient compasses, astrolabes and maps in the Galileo Museum.
You can escape from the museum exhibits in the Pinocchio park in Collodi (an hour by car). The main must-see is Toyland, which tells about the adventures of a cocky wooden boy, as well as a large playground, a shop and a giant chess board. 10 kilometers from Collodi is the excellent spa resort of Montecatini Terme, where parents should stop by for some relaxing treatment.
Families with toddlers will remember their holidays in Florence for a long time if you take them to one of the play areas, where everything is thought out for children’s relaxation: from soft zones to games of star wars. One covered area – La Carozza di Hans – is located on the south bank of the Arno, quite far from the center. La bottega dei ragazzi is somewhat smaller, but it is literally 300 meters from the Duomo. On Mondays and Thursdays from 15:00 to 19:00 there – time 0+.