24 Hours to Fall in Love with Florence
Florence is a middle-sized city located on the banks of the River Arno in a picturesque valley surrounded by hills. Since the city is located almost in the middle of the Italian Peninsula, it’s well connected by highways and railway lines with the major Italian cities such as Rome, Milan, Genova etc. So, it wouldn’t be a problem for you to visit several Italian cities during one holiday.
Florence is well known as a birthplace of Renaissance and a home of the most famous artists of those times such as Brunelleschi, Leonardo, Masaccio, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Donatello and others. The city is one of the world’s best-preserved centers of Renaissance art and architecture.
There is a large number of art galleries, majestic buildings and beautiful churches. In total, Florence can boast of almost 170 museums including the famous Uffizi Gallery and Gallery of Art Academy.
Despite all diversity of cultural attractions in Florence, you can visit the major ones even during one day, since the city is quite compact. In fact, most attractions are located within walking distance from each other, but still, if you travel on your own, you need to have good time management and organization skills. Let’s take a detailed look at the most interesting city landmarks you just can’t pass by.
Florence Cathedral (Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral)
Being considered the symbol of Tuscan capital, the Florence Cathedral amazes tourists with its beauty and sizes, whereas modern architects still can’t come to a consensus about how this giant dome was built.
Construction of the cathedral started in the 1296, and facade decoration was finished only in the end of the 19th century.
First architect involved in the building was Arnolfo di Cambio. Thanks to his efforts, most of the work on walls construction was successfully finished until he died in 1310. Another famous Italian architect, Giotto di Bondone, continued Arnolfo’s work 30 years later.
After his death and about 11 years of plague epidemic, two more architects were involved in the project until the walls were finished in the beginning of the 15th century, and it only remained to build a dome.
Because of the large sizes of the dome, the task of its creating was overwhelming for medieval construction machinery. Solution was offered by Filippo Brunelleschi. He even invented and embodied into the reality a series of innovative mechanisms allowing lifting the whole parts of the dome to a great height.
So, in total 6 centuries were spent on the building of the cathedral, famous for its outstanding dome and fascinating play of colors of the its exterior finish.
As a result, current residents of Florence as well as all city’s guests get an opportunity to admire a unique temple that can fit up to 30,000 people and has a dome consisting of more than 4 million!
In fact, Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral that has a width of 90 meters and a length of 153 meters is like an extensive city square completely covered with one enormous dome.
Uffizi Gallery and Gallery of Art Academy
Uffizi Gallery is among the world’s most famous museums thank to a huge number of unique artworks that are stored in it. Most of the exhibits belong to the Renaissance period. The Gallery is visited by more than a million people each year and is rightfully considered the one of the most popular Italian museums. A major reason of its great renown is a large collection of paintings written by famous Italian artists such as Botticelli, Giotto, Cimabue, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael.
The collection stored in the Uffizi Gallery is so huge that it will take days to observe the whole of it. Even taking into account that you have allocated only one day for exploring Florence, you still will need to spend about 2-3 hours on visiting the Gallery to see at least the major masterpieces.
In comparison with the Uffizi Gallery, the Gallery of Art Academy isn’t a museum in the literal sense of the word.
At first, it was conceived as a gallery of sculptures and paintings designed especially for students of the Art Academy. Here, the young artists could familiarize themselves with the works of well-known masters of the past centuries. Gallery also stored the best works of the students and their teachers.
Gradually, over 200,000 years of its existence, the Gallery of Art Academy has turned into a famous Italian museum that can even compete with the Uffizi Gallery in popularity!
It isn’t a secret that the most important exhibit in the Gallery of Art Academy is David by Michelangelo. The 5 meters high sculpture is installed in a specially designed hall. It’s interesting to know that at first the statue was located on the Signoria square and was moved to the Gallery only in 1873. So, almost 400 years it was open to wind and weather and could be easily damaged by vandals.
A visit to Art Academy Gallery will also delight you with a rich collection of paintings of 14-15th centuries brought from various churches of Florence, collection of Gothic painting of the 14th century and a few artworks by modern artists.
Michelangelo Square is an ideal place to end a wonderful day spent in Florence. It’s located at the top of the hill and offers the best view of the Florence Cathedral and the city in general. It’s especially beautiful here in the evening, when the sun goes down and the city lights literally lie on the palm of your hand.
This spot is also a favorite place of numerous masters of brush and photographers. The square itself isn’t something special. Here you’ll see a copy of David by Michelangelo made of bronze and a few sculptures-allegories of the seasons of the year.
Regardless of the city you are going to visit after Florence, you might be interested in renting a car. Nowadays, it’s an affordable and a very convenient way to arrange your own independent journey.
Author Bio: Lily Berns likes to share her views to get effective vacation and she suggests using RentalCars24H.com service for enjoying your trip.