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Trip Report Florence - City Sights Travel Report

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Today, Florence has evolved as a popular travel destination with waves and waves of tourists. Bustling restaurants, overpriced souvenir stores, street hawkers of cheap knock-offs and pleather handbags could be found everywhere in between the old town pedestrian roads… Somehow the city was managed to be kept like a time capsule with architecture back to the Gothic times. The old town was still compact and packed with countless fine arts – cathedral, churches, mansions, palaces… it takes days, or even months, for a visitor to look at them all in an area within walking distance.

*Route for the day*
Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore > Giotto's Campanile > Florence Baptistery > Repubblica Square > Basilica of Santa Maria Novella > Accademia Gallery > Michelangelo Square
There are a lot of spectacular cathedrals in the world yet few of them have the softness and tenderness like the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. Laid by marble stones in a combination of white, pink and green, the cathedral manifests the value of Renaissance to the utmost – classic, elegant, and free. The cathedral took 175 years to build and the most impressive structure is definitely the dome – a striking and eye-catching part of the cathedral and dominates the city’s skyline. … It’s even more fascinating that the architect left no sketch or evidence behind about how the architectural wonder was done, and so his technique of building a dome remained a mystery. Not only was it an architectural wonder, the dome was also a remarkable artistic achievement with the fresco of “Last Judgment”, painted by Giorgio Vasari and completed by his student Frederico Zuccari. The complexity of the dome deserves a closer look, and I would recommend visitors to climb up the 463 staircases to the top of the cathedral. On route, visitors could get real close to the paintings and enjoy a spectacular and unobstructed panoramic view of the city of Florence.
*Oh, David!*
Everyone knows David, and there are a lot of Davids all over town. For example, there is one standing proudly outdoor in the Piazza Della Signoria, yet that one is not the original David. The “David di Michelangelo” that everyone knows is now displayed in the Accademia Gallery (Gallery of the Academy of Florence), and basically that is “the thing” in the gallery people (meant me) would pay to see. The queue outside the Academy could be impressive, so pre-purchase tickets on-line to save the hassle!...
*Wow, Firenze and the sunset*
…I ended my first day in town with a beautiful sunset view of the city at another place named after Michelangelo. Michelangelo Square is a place in the city that actually requires public transportation uphill. The square had another duplication of “David” standing in the middle of the space, but everyone on site was too busy admiring the gorgeous view of the Florence old town over the Arno River.
*Places to see for the 2nd day onwards*
Basilica of San Lorenzo > Capelle Medicee > Palazzo Medici-Riccardi > Antique Street / Fashion Street > Pitti Palace / Palatina Gallery > Boboli Gardens > Chiesa of Santa Croce > Piazza Della Signoria > Uffizi Gallery and beyond…
*The Medici experience...*
The Medici family, the ruler of Florence throughout the Renaissance period, played a predominant role in the development of the art of the city. It only makes sense that the family had quite a collection in their own mansion. Palazzo Medici Riccardi had been the residence of the Medici family for a hundred years since 1460. The exterior of the building was, in fact, quite low-key and execute their family power behind the scene. Inside, however, was filled with surprises and amazing artworks….
*The Arno River*
Walked through the Piazza Della Repubblica, both Via Della Vigna Nuova (Fashion Street, designer brands, boutiques, cake shops..) and Via de' Fossi (Antique Street, old toys, books, etc.) led strollers to the riverside of the Arno River. I enjoyed the walk along the river towards the oldest bridge in Florence, Ponte Vecchio, which connects to the other side of the city to Palazzo Pitti. The shops on both sides of the bridge sold antiques and jewelry… more like a window-shopping experience for me – but after my visit to the Uffizi Gallery (My top 10 picks of an art gallery), W.o.W., a great ending of my visit in Florence!

Check out knycx_journeying blog for photos and a detailed trip report: http://wp.me/p5Lw9a-LD

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