Arriving in the rain
I have always loved the sound and smell of the rain falling. But, travelling in the rain isn’t my idea of fun, so when I got to Florence in the pouring rain I was disappointed. I only had one day to explore the city, and I was stuck in the tour bus waiting for the rain to die down. Umbrella in hand I got off the bus and meet up with the tour guide. There was no sun but she wore sunglasses a coat and carried an umbrella. She told us that she’s hoping for sun so she chose to wear sunglasses because Italians stay positive. I immediately liked her attitude and it rubbed off on me. As we all started walking she showed us Florence’s magnificent library. I’m a bookworm just seeing the outside made me feel better.
The Churches of Florence
What’s more is that the architecture especially the churches looked like masterpieces to me. The Basilica Di Santa Croce is simultaneously grandiose and gorgeous church. My tour guide explained that it was built in the Gothic style, and has a marble façade. The Jewish architecture Niccolo Matas designed the façade. He added The star of David into the design. The church is also called the Temple of Italian Glories since it’s the burial place of famous Italians; Michelangelo, Galileo and Rossini to name a few are buried in the church. Inside you can also find a monument of Florence Nightingale who was born in Florence.
There are many churches in Florence. In the heart of the city, you can find the Piazza del Duomo. The square hosts the awe-inspiring Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral. The baptistery and bell tower complete the square. From the bell tower, you can get a 360-degree view of Florence and soak up its beauty.
Florence is also a fashionable place. It’s home to a variety of shops catering to every budget. There are outside stalls selling bags and scarves. You can also find leather sandals premade or made for you by the shoemakers of Florence. Shoemakers have outside stalls but they also operate in stores. I bought a dress on sale for about 20 euros and a pair of sandals, without breaking my budget. Do note that stalls located close to tourist destinations are often more expensive. So browse around before buying. And do note that real leather has a unique smell, it feels softer and if you lightly scratch it with the tip of your nail the mark should disappear when rubbing it.
In 1345 the Ponte Vecchio was built. This colourful bridge used to be home to butchery stores. Today it’s lined with jewellery and goldsmith shops. It can get very busy. Given that it’s a picture-perfect spot and from the bridge, you can take a photo with the Arno river in the background. I was lucky that the sun came out as I was walking on the bridge.
All the walking will make you hungry so try out the Bistecca alla Fiorentina translated to Beefsteak Florentine style. It is a popular dish. This T-bone steak is thickly cut and grilled over a wooden or charcoal fire. Given that the steak is thick and very big it’s normally shared by two people. Keep in mind that Italian restaurants and bars charge Coperto. Coperto is an admission charge and it can range from 1 to 5 euros per person. A family of 4 could end up dishing out 20 euros on Coperto. Some places charge both Coperto and a service charge. Restaurants close to tourist spots and main streets usually charge Coperto so maybe grab a bite at a side street restaurant and skip the Coperto. This way you will have more money to buy gelato. To find out where the best places are to eat Bistecca alla Fiorentina click the link: https://www.visitflorence.com/eating-and-drinking-in-florence/where-to-eat-a-good-bistecca.html
Art of Florence
Florence provides a feast for the eyes to just for your stomach. If you love art Florence needs to be on your bucket list. The Uffizi Gallery is where you can view works created by Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raffaello’s, Gitto and Botticelli to name a few. The well-known painting of Venus in a shell is housed at the gallery too. It operates from Tuesday to Sunday between 8:15 till 18:3. From the 1st of March 2018, all Uffizi Gallery tickets get you a ticket to the National Archeological Museum. The ticket will be valid for up to 5 days. The marble statue of David sculpted by Michelangelo in 1504 is housed at the Accademia gallery. The Accademia gallery has the same operating times as the Uffizi. Both galleries are immensely popular, get there early to avoid long queues.
Alternatively, you can admire the Piazza della Signoria it’s free of charge and there are no lines. It’s a wonderful square filled with numerous sculptures. There’s a replica of David and a statue of Perseus slaying Medusa amongst other marvellous sculptures.
A bit of history Niccolo Machiavelli & Florence
Not too far from the Piazza della Signoria stands the statue of Niccolo Machiavelli. Machiavelli was both a politician and political theorist. His best known for his treatise entitled The Prince. The Prince was dedicated to the then governor of Florence, Lorenzo de’ Medici. Machiavelli sought to gain the favour via The Prince treatise. It is a guide which teaches leaders how to govern. The text ignores morality and focuses on power, namely obtaining and maintaining political power. Machiavelli wrote for example “Since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far better to be feared than loved” Machiavelli lived during the Renaissance and was a Renaissance man. He believed that people needed to be educated and enlightened via the arts and social sciences. The guidelines contained in the Prince were never implemented and Machiavelli never regained his political position.
Today Florence is a successful city which developed due to international banking and international cooperation. Ironically Theresa May gave her Brexit speech in Florence. Some reporters have stated that she might have chosen the city to prove that the UK will be undergoing a Renaissance. But, then again maybe she just wanted an excuse to visit Florence. Florence is after all fantastic worth visiting come rain or shine.
The Main Florence tourist information centre is located at the Piazza del Duomo. Address:1 Via Cavour, Florence
Phone:0039 (0)55 290832
It’s open from 9:00-19:00 from Monday to Saturday on Sunday’s it closes at 14:00
Click here to find out more about Florence from its official website:http://www.firenzeturismo.it/en/
A list of the different tourist offices in Florence can be found by clicking on this link:http://www.aboutflorence.com/tourist-offices-in-Florence.html
I hope you like this updated version of my Florence post. I really appreciate your comments and suggestions and thank you so much for reading my blog.
Wishing you happy travels through the journey of life!
xxx Nikki xxx