Travel Articles & Advice
Florence Beauty Redux - A Video And A Simple Novel In 5 Steps For A Once In A Lifetime Experience
A video of Florence historical centre
Probably I'm living in one of the rare cities planned with no other wish except to be just beautiful, and this is deeply rooted in Florence history. If you need some touch of colour before letting your mind free to imagine, you can take a look at this video http://www.lorenzoilmagnifico.net broad-casted by - showing Florence historical centre. The video was made by a local television for an ancient villa of the high Renaissance, converted in hotel. All the buildings in Florence are pretty old!
Let's start from the cradle - Ponte Vecchio survived from the Nazi war
Let's start from the cradle. The first human settlement in Florence was on the bank of the Arno river, in the narrow passage where now rise PONTE VECCHIO. Worldwide famous for the artisan workshops, the bridge is the only survived from World War II, allegedly because of an express order by Hitler, while the German were retreating in 1944.
Civil Wars that shaped the city - Piazza della Signoria and the political side of Florence
Carrying on towards the spiritual heart of Florence, where lies Santa Maria del Fiore Dome, you'll find yourself in PIAZZA DELLA SIGNORIA, the ancient city political centre. This square his dipped in the history of the war between Guelphs, supporting the Papal party, and Ghibellines, supporting the Holy Roman emperor: its characteristic L shape is due to the demolition of 36 Ghibelline houses. Florence has been often shaped by civil wars, nowadays staged by calcio in costume, a cruel sport battle (similar to rugby) between ancient quarters of Florence.
In Piazza della Signoria you rest in front of an en-plain air museum: Loggia dei Lanzi houses under it's tardo-Gothic arches 15 statues. In front of Palazzo Vecchio, the most important historic government building in Florence, you can find a copy of Michelangelo's David and the Ammanniti's Fountain representing Neptune. Florentine call it affectionately "Biancone" (big white) for its pale colour...
The Uffizi Gallery - the walk of the Princes
The true symbol of l'art pour l'art in Florence is the UFFIZI GALLERY, on the east side of Piazza della Signoria. This is the Francesco I de Medici private spot, where he could take a walk surrounded by paintings, sculptures and tapestries: this galley is made of the boundless treasures of the Medici family, giving shelter to masterpieces by Giotto, Botticelli, Leonardo, Raffaello, Michelangelo...a never-ending artistic charm, suspended in front of the Arno river.
A touch of Grace - Piazza del Duomo and the Spiritual side of Florence
Crossing via de' Calzaiouli, you get in PIAZZA DEL DUOMO. Florence Dome has been realized by Brunelleschi in the space of 14 years, and finally consecrated in 1436 by pope Eugenio IV. On the side of the Cathedral, Giotto's bell Tower, 84 meters high, is dressed in white, red and green marbles to lighten the square. Here you are...the centre of the universe :)
The sign of the David - human and divine in an art city
Before coming back to the waters of Ponte Vecchio for a romantic night out, in Via Ricasoli, a side street of Piazza del Duomo, you can visit the ACADEMY GALLERY, housing the Prigioni collection, incomplete artworks by Michelangelo, and the David, symbol of a city that lives in the present a worldwide unique artistic heritage.
It's not a long road. Florence historical centre is small, because every inch was built in history and beauty....I just hope to see you walking soon in these ancient Dantesque streets!
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