Impressions of Firenze.

Firenze_1

I wasn’t sure what title to give this account of our one-day walk through Firenze (Florence) in July 2013. We were merely passing by on our way back home (after visiting Sardegna) and the scorching heat (temperatures around 45°C, that’s around 113 degrees Fahrenheit) wasn’t really motivating us for long walks and intensive visits. We were also traveling with our (then) 3-year old daughter, Febe, so we didn’t visit any musea either. Instead, we decided on a walk through the city centre, followed by a visit to the Boboli gardens for some peace and quiet (and because it was then just declared UNESCO world heritage). The city was completely overcrowded with tourists, which made it more difficult to visit as well, since we had Febe in the stroller with us.

I (Maarten) had been here before, but for the girls it was their first time. And even I found it jaw-dropping again, especially the immensity of the duomo. Again, just like the first time when I visited the city on a school trip, I had the feeling that even though I walked for hours in this superb city, I hadn’t even scratched the surface of all its treasures. Nevertheless, it was an overwhelming and (culturally) refreshing experience, despite the heat… Personally, I have always regarded Rome as my all-time favourite city, but what Firenze lacks in ancient Roman monuments it makes up for in Renaissance splendour.

I don’t think a complete synthesis of our trip through the city has any relevance here, given that it can only be considered incomplete and incoherent. Therefore, I will only present some impressions with a short explanation. It’s a combination of roughly 3 themes. First of all, I can’t but at least show some pictures of the highlights and some overviews of the city. Secondly, some details that struck me because they bring together so much cultural richness on a small scale, or because they were funny, or simply beautiful. The third theme is family 🙂 They will be placed here in a seemingly random order, only because that was the chronological order for that day. I left out the Boboli gardens, as they will be part of our next story.

And again: yes, I am aware this is only a small selection of what Firenze really has to offer. We need to come back here, especially now that we have read Dan Brown’s “Inferno”. So, we are looking forward to a winter visit or a visit in springtime one day…

Febe and mommy. Picture taken on Piazzale Michelangelo, simply the best place for an overview of the city.
Febe and mommy. Picture taken on Piazzale Michelangelo, simply the best place for an overview of the city.
Same spot. With daddy.
Same spot. With daddy.
A door knocker, somewhere in the narrow streets of Firenze.
A door knocker, somewhere in the narrow streets of Firenze.
The heart of Firenze: the duomo, or Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, with its dome engineered by Brunelleschi.
The heart of Firenze: the duomo, or Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, with its dome engineered by Brunelleschi.
Front: lion and Perseus at Loggia dei Lanzi. Back: Hercules and Cacus in front of the Palazzo Vecchio.
Front: lion and Perseus at Loggia dei Lanzi. Back: Hercules and Cacus in front of the Palazzo Vecchio.
Piazza della Signoria with the equestrian statue of Cosimo I.
Piazza della Signoria with the equestrian statue of Cosimo I.
Ancient wall art from the streets of Firenze.
Ancient wall art from the streets of Firenze.
Piazza della Signoria, with the Fountain of Neptune in the front.
Piazza della Signoria, with the Fountain of Neptune in the front.
Lions of the Loggia dei Lanzi (Piazza della Signoria).
Lions of the Loggia dei Lanzi (Piazza della Signoria).
David of Michelangelo (copy) at the entrance of the Palazzo Vecchio.
David of Michelangelo (copy) at the entrance of the Palazzo Vecchio.
Saint John the Evangelist, at the Orsanmichele church.
Saint John the Evangelist, at the Orsanmichele church.
Inside the Palazzo Vecchio.
Inside the Palazzo Vecchio.
The Palazzo Medici Riccardi, the renaissance palace of the influential Medici family in Firenze.
The Palazzo Medici Riccardi, the renaissance palace of the influential Medici family in Firenze.
Cathedral complex on the Piazza del Duomo.
Cathedral complex on the Piazza del Duomo.
Part of the Duomo or Santa Maria del Fiore, with the dome by Brunelleschi.
Part of the Duomo or Santa Maria del Fiore, with the dome by Brunelleschi.
Brunelleschi's dome in all its glory.
Brunelleschi’s dome in all its glory.
Giotto's campanile and Brunelleschi's dome, decorating the sky.
Giotto’s campanile and Brunelleschi’s dome, decorating the sky.
The campanile, an idea of Giotto.
The campanile, an idea of Giotto.
Noah (detail of the Gates of Paradise by Ghiberti).
Noah (detail of the Gates of Paradise by Ghiberti).
Baptistery of St.-John.
Baptistery of St.-John.
Double fun for our little Febe!
Double fun for our little Febe!
Statue of Giotto, one of many at the Uffizi gallery.
Statue of Giotto, one of many at the Uffizi gallery.
Ponte Vecchio over the Arno, home to jewellers.
Ponte Vecchio over the Arno, home to jewellers.
Gold overload on the Ponte Vecchio.
Gold overload on the Ponte Vecchio.
The Renaissance Palazzo Pitti, also bought by the Medici Family.
The Renaissance Palazzo Pitti, also bought by the Medici Family.

Historic centre of Florence (nr. 174)

Firenze is the symbol and cradle of the Renaissance. This medieval merchant-city flourished under the de’ Medici family, local rulers in the 15th and 16th century, its golden age. In that time, many impressive buildings were constructed here, which gave this city its splendour as a cultural, economical and spiritual centre. The magnificent architecture and other works of art of the city greatly influenced Italian architecture at that time, attracting famous architects, sculptors and painters (e.g. Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Donatello, Botticello…). Later on, the example of Firenze influenced architecture and art throughout the European mainland.


 

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