It is only mildly surprising that Florence was the birthplace of
creator Carlo Lorenzini, also known as Carlo Collodi (but not in theTuscan village from which he took his name). Another Florentine native was Realist painter John Singer Sargent, born to American parentsin Florence in 1856.Florence's leather and its beef steak, the famous
bistecca alla fiorentina
, come from the Chianina cow, a huge, pure white animal with large,expressive brown eyes.
Because Florence is one of the most visited cities in Italy, advance booking is highly recommended.The center does have a good number of hotels, and they'll put you within walking distance of just about everything. Staying in the center ofthe city will obviously be the costliest option, but even Florence's suburbs are expensive. The hotels on the hillsides at the outskirts of the cityare relaxing, but your trip into the city may be slowed by traffic.Note that most hotels in the center do not have parking areas, but instead have agreements with private garages that charge about 25 eurosper day, on average.
See & Do
Visitors rarely allot enough time for Florence, partly because until you've been there, it's difficult to comprehend how much there is toexperience in the city. Any visit, brief or extended, should begin with the magnificent Duomo. Don't be content with admiring its stunningexterior: Go inside and gaze at the frescoes and take in the view from the top of the dome.Afterward, check out the exquisite detail of the famed bronze doors of the adjacent Baptistery. The striking Palazzo Vecchio on Piazza dellaSignoria still functions as city hall. Take a tour and learn about the palace's integral role in Florentine history
as well as the reason for itsunusual trapezoidal dimensions.The most celebrated art museum in the city is the Uffizi Gallery, considered by many to be, along with the Louvre and El Prado, one of themost important museums in the world. The Uffizi has 13th- to 18th-century Italian and European masterworks
paintings by Botticelli, Hugovan der Goes, Titian, Rubens, Caravaggio, Raphael and Rembrandt, among others. The line at the Uffizi can get very long, so we stronglyencourage advance reservations.Another fabulous art museum is the Bargello, with its impressive collection of medieval and Renaissance armor, furnishings and sculpture
including Donatello's lion sculpture, the
, the symbol of Florence. The Accademia, near Piazza San Marco, is chiefly known forhousing Michelangelo's
, although his many other sculptures there are worth the visit in their own right.Cross the Arno on the Ponte Vecchio, which has spanned the river since 1345. The bridge still has shops and rooms jutting out over thesides
a common feature in the Middle Ages, although few examples remain today. The Vasari Corridor, which runs above the bridge, linksthe Uffizi with the Palazzo Pitti.Sights on the other side of the Arno include the Palazzo Pitti, the archetype of all European royal residences and one of the best preserved,with beautifully decorated baroque interiors and the gorgeous Boboli Gardens on the hillside behind it. Be sure to see the Palazzo's PalatineGallery, which contains 16th- and 17th-century paintings by Raphael, Titian, Veronese, Rubens and Van Dyck.The fully furnished Royal Apartments date back to the last kings of Italy. Don't confuse the Palazzo Pitti with the Medici Palace by Michelozzoon Via Cavour or the Medici Chapels, which are connected to the Church of San Lorenzo
but both are also well worth a visit.
Courtesy of: Elena NemtsovaTripcatcher Copyright ©2012 Northstar Travel Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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