17 November 2011

Florence 2.0

October 2008 - I find myself once again in Florence, Italy. A year ago, to the month, I was living in Florence, seeing these landmarks every day of my life. It was so weird to go back - as with anything, it felt the same, only different. It's like I no longer belonged and I was just one of the millions a year who only visit for a day. But I was so excited to be back, especially with my best friend Christy, so that I could show her around some of my favorite places. It was nice to actually know the area and have a plan of action for sightseeing, as opposed to not really knowing where to go and just wandering aimlessly. I previously listed the best museums and churches to visit in Florence...so, now I bring you the best things to do in Florence in about two hours (having spent virtually no money!).

Start at Piazzale Michelangelo for a postcard view of the city. It's gorgeous and peaceful up here and it lets you get an idea of the layout of the city.

                                                               Piazzale Michelangelo                          ©CM

                                                        One of the copies of the David         ©CM

Next, make your way down to Santa Croce and we'll complete a large circle from here. Start out making a left on Via De Benci - there are some cute shops and great architecture, everywhere you look. Soon, you'll see Via Dei Neri, make a right here. I just HAD to go down this street, as it's the one I lived on the previous year. There also is an amazing gelato shop near the end of this street - Gelateria dei Neri. Of all the gelato I had in Florence, this was the creamiest! 

Once you have your ice cream, continue onward, make a left at Vei de' Castellani and shortly thereafter, making a right at the river. This is an astounding sight and the very next bridge you'll hit is the famous Ponte Vecchio! You just have to see the Ponte Vecchio while you're here - it's such a beautiful and famous bridge (the only one not destroyed in World War II). Admire the architecture and the gold shops before heading back up the street leading out of the Ponte Vecchio, Via por Santa Maria and making a right at Via Calimaruzza, - here you will find my favorite landmark - the Palazzo Vecchio and the adjoining Piazza della Signoria.

                        Perseus and the Head of Medusa, with the Palazzo Vecchio in the back    ©CM


                  Palazzo Vecchio              ©CM                                                Rape of the Sabine Woman        ©CM

                         Rape of the Sabine Woman - look at the marble work! Beautiful!      ©CM

                                           Another close up of Rape of the Sabine Woman         ©CM

                  The Rape of Polyxena            ©CM                                    Perseus and the Head of Medusa     

                            Close up of The Rape of Polyxena - the drapery was gorgeous.    ©CM

Close up of Perseus and the Head of Medusa

Poor David was under scaffolding during this trip                  Hercules Beating the Centaur Nessus   ©CM

                  Close up of Hercules Beating the Centaur Nessus - I love the arch of the back       ©CM

   Neptune Fountain, next to the Palazzo Veccio                                   The Duomo, at sunset

I spent quite a lot of time in Piazza della Signoria - reminiscing, enjoying the art, etc. It stills remains probably my very favorite spot in Florence. If you can bear the thought of tearing yourself away from here, make a right on Via dei Calzaiuoli, admiring the Piazza della Reuppblica on your left, before finding yourself in the presence of the Duomo - Florence's giant! We made it to the Duomo at sunset, which was perfect timing to enjoy this beautifully decorated Basilica. Walk around, take a good look at its beauty - and if you do have time to go inside, perhaps consider going inside the Baptistery instead (located right next to the Duomo). Christy and I had time to inside neither, so we continued on, making a right on Via del Proconsolo (a street near the dome end of the Duomo) and soon thereafter, a left on the small street Via dell'Anguillara, before finding ourselves, once again in front of the Santa Croce (the meeting place for most tours.) If you have time, go inside the church. Unfortunately, we did not have the time to go inside, but I felt no great loss, as I had been inside before (and loved it!). So, my friends...if you only have a few hours in Florence, this is what I consider a fabulous, albeit fast-paced, afternoon.

                                                                  Florence's Duomo                              ©CM


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