Florence is small enough to easily explore in a day. You might want to add an extra day to check out the renowned art galleries – the Uffizi and the Academia. It is my one regret that I wasn’t able to visit these galleries. Both were closed due to a strike on the day we were there. I suppose that just gives me more reason to go back one day!
Our first real stop when we got to Florence was to find something to eat. The market is located beside the San Lorenzo basilica, which was the parish church of the Medici family. Note the unfinished façade which I found unusual. Tombs of members of the Medici family can be found inside, together with that of Donatello’s.
After snapping the photo above, we were off. I was distracted. I wanted to eat and shop and we had very little time. There’s an open market on the street beside San Lorenzo selling leather goods – after scoping out which purse I wanted to get, we went in search of food. We found San Lorenzo market. I can’t remember what kind of sandwich we ate but I sure remember the drinks. Our sandwich came with a small glass of wine which was nice. But Lenny and Lucrezia, a couple from our tour, insisted that we try grappa. So shots were ordered. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Wowzers! It had quite a bit of a kick and we were all happily buzzed for the rest of the afternoon. I’m not an expert on liquors so I can’t even compare it. But, click here for an article I came across from The Globe and Mail on grappa.
The city tour started in front of the Baptistery at Piazza del Duomo. You’ll recall that the three main structures at this piazza are the Duomo and Giotto’s Campanile (which I’ve already written a post on – The Duomo in Florence), and the Baptistery. The Gates of Paradise adorn the Baptistery. “Michelangelo likened the gilded bronze doors of Florence’s Baptistery of San Giovanni to the “Gates of Paradise.” The phrase stuck, for reasons that anyone who has seen them will understand.” Quote from an article from the Smithsonian Magazine. There are 10 panels on the doors, each depicting scenes from the Old Testament. Check out the photos below of some of the panels.
The artist who created this masterpiece is Lorenzo Ghiberti. He’s the one on the left and his son is depicted on the right below.
As we walked down Via Por Santa Maria, here are some of the sights we saw along the way to Ponte Vecchio.
Piazza della Repubblica – this is a fairly new, renovated piazza. Here are some info on it: http://www.visitflorence.com/florence-monuments/piazza-della-repubblica.html
Artists decorating the streets of Florence!
I’ll take a grande pistachio please 🙂
We’re getting close…
Here we are at Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Florence. According to our guide, this was the only bridge that wasn’t destroyed by the Germans in World War II. That’s Uffizi on the left.
See the photo below, that is a corridor above the goldsmith shops and Ponte Vecchio which enabled the Medici family to get from Palazzo Pitti to the Uffizi without having to walk outside. Some info on Ponte Vecchio on this site for you – http://www.visitflorence.com/florence-monuments/ponte-vecchio.html.
Here’s another picture just to get an idea of what it looks like:
This is across the street from the from the photo above:
If you’re looking to shop for gold and leather, your best bet is Florence!