Italy Florence (Firenze) 2001.06.18 - 06.20

Home of Michelangelo

Home to Michelangelo, Machiavelli, and the Medici, Florence is a hub of art, culture, and history. Like Rome, trying to see all the sites of Florence requires planning and dedicated days of site seeing. Our stay was restricted to 2 days because an upcoming fashion show from June 21 filled every hotel in the city from that day forward.

Florence is small enough to see all sites by foot. The main attraction is the green and pink marbled duomo. The exterior is covered with detailed frescos, carvings, and statues. Comparatively, the interior is surprisingly sparce. A climb to the top of the dome or bell tower for a view of the city costs ITL 10,000.

Other highlights we visited were the Basilica di Santa Novella with various interior frescos, the Museo del Bargello with several sculpted woks by Michelangelo, Benvenuto Cellini, and Donatello, the Galleria dell'Accademia with Michelangelo's David, and the stunning Cappelle Medicee, a chapel decorated with inlaid patterned marble and semiprecious stones for the Medici tombs . Cappelle Medicee also contains 3 of Michelangelo's sculptures. Even with the high ITL 11,000 admission fee, Cappelle Medicee is not to be missed.

Florence is on the Roma-Milano line so most trains traveling though the northern half of Italy stop here.

The duomo rises above the surrounding buildings of Florence. Views from the top of the dome or the bell tower are superb.

Chiesa di Santa Maria Novella is directly in front of the Florence train station. The marble, frescos, and glass are well worth a visit.

The Verrocchio Putto statue is the centerpiece of the frescoed courtyard of Palazzo Vecchio.

Piazzale Michelangelo, where this statue stands, overlooks Florence. Many couples enjoy the gorgeous sunset from this point.

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