Florence is the birthplace of the Renaissance. In this wonderful city artists such as Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo left their tracks in sculpture, paintings and architecture.
In Florence there is so much to see and the help of a guide is strongly recommended if you want to make the most of your days here. This could be a typical walk to give you an overview of the city and get acquainted with it.
We will start from the most ancient spot of the city and at the same time the most recent one: Piazza della Repubblica.
Hard to believe, but this elegant square now surrounded by fancy cafès was called the Forum during the Roman times when Florence was founded. This means it was the political and commercial center of the city with temples, thermal baths, and business opportunities of all kind.
Keeping the tracks of how the city developed after the Roman times through the Middle Age, we will then walk towards the religious center to admire one of the most remarkable example of Romanesque art in Florence: the Baptistery just in front our magnificent Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore, with its imposing and revolutionary Dome by Brunelleschi, symbol of the city all over the world.
I guess it's now expresso-time, let's stop in a cozy cafeteria along the way and have a break for a coffee or a cappuccino...an ice cream for the youngest travelers!
We are now in Piazza Signoria, a outdoor sculptures museum, political heart of the city with its city Hall, Palazzo Vecchio, once residence of the Granduke of Tuscany Cosimo I and now seat of our city government with our young Major Matteo Renzi.
Just near the City Hall, Cosimo I built the judicial offices of the Gran Duky – the Uffizi - which today hosts one of the most famous collection of paintings of the world.
With pre booked tickets we will easily skip the long lines at the entrance and save time to dedicate to the wonderful work of art of the museum. From Giotto, through Masaccio and Botticelli, arriving to Michelangelo, we will follow development of painting from 1300 till 1500, discovering the revolutions of the Renaissance, a magic period for Florence and for the history of art. Besides that, it is fun to learn about traditions and costumes of the past times from a painting, especially with kids...it is amazing how many things they notice, much more than the adults!
Once out of the museum let's have a walk along the river Arno, walking under the Vasari Corridor, a private walkaway connecting Palazzo vecchio, seat of the governement, with Palazzo Pitti, once residence of the Grandukes. Now the Corridor is closed to public for conservatory reasons but it is possible to arrange its private opening. Cross the Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge of Florence and the only not to have been destroyed during the Second world war. This bridge has remained original since 1300. Admire all the gold and jewelery shops on the bridge, which make this structure unique in all the world!
Our attention begins to falter ...I think it's time to think about food...let's make a walk around the area of San Lorenzo, where we will find the biggest food market of the historical center. Immerge yourself into its colors, smells and voices...and you will be ready to taste some typical Florentine food from the stalls: cold cuts, pecorino cheese, bruschettas, olive oil of our hills and last but not the least our Chianti wine. If you want a proper lunch there are many trattorias which I recommend in the area. Outside the market you can take the opportunity to make a bit of shopping: leather, shoes, clothes and many other fashion items are sold in the stalls and if you don't bargain you are still not in the true Italian spirit!
We will then dedicate the afternoon to the area of San Lorenzo, the headquarter of the Medici family who lived in the Medici Riccardi Palace before becoming the Grandukes of the city and moving to Palazzo Vecchio. After visiting the Medici Chapels with the marvelous sculptures by Michelangelo and the Princes Chapel, we continue our tour to the Accademia museum where we will admire another of the most known symbols of the city, the original David by Michelangelo: the prophet-king, symbol of the civic virtues of Florence, the first naked sculptures of such dimension from the Roman times.
Our tours ends here...enchanted by this amazing example of ideal beauty. this was only a part of the city...there are so many other places and areas which are worthwhile to visit. I hope you will have a good memory of my city and that you will come back to discover its hidden treasures...