|Replica of Michelangelo's David outside Palazzo Vecchio in Florence where original once stood.|
|Florence skyline seen from Boboli Gardens in Oltrarno.|
|Santa Maria del Fiore - aka the Duomo in Florence, Italy|
|Looking 90 meters toward the heaven inside Brunelleschi's Dome. The fresco is Vasari's "Last Judgment."|
Outside, the renowned Gates of Paradise adorn the eastern doors of this eight-sided building. Designed and completed by Ghiberti in 1452, the Gates of Paradise comprise 10 panels that depict the stories of the Old Testament. Did you know Michelangelo coined the phrase Gates of Paradise to describe their stunning beauty? Unfortunately, due to erosion and weathering, the original panels were moved inside the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, a museum just behind the Duomo and open to the public. What remains on the exterior of the Baptistery are striking reproductions down to the finest detail.
|Ghiberti's "Gates of Paradise" on the eastern doors of the Baptistery.|
Toward the Arno River, lies the Piazza Vecchio. Here, you’ll find the Palazzo Vecchio with a replica of Michelangelo’s David and Hercules standing guard at the entrance. You’ll also find the Uffizi Museum where the Medici family housed their personal collection of art amassed during their reign of Florence, some dating back to early Gothic. Inside, gaze upon Botticelli’s larger-than-life “Birth of Venus” and “Primavera.”
|The Uffizi Museum surrounds the courtyard with the Arno River just beyond the arch.|
|The 14th-century Ponte Vecchio.|
Finally, in between all of the fascinating Renaissance discoveries, be sure to stop and taste a delicious Gelato or two or three. Heck, why not sample them all. I have heard plenty of visitors proclaim that Florence has the best in the world!
|Santa Croce – Michelangelo's and Galileo's final resting place.|
Tips to know before you go:
Check out Rick Steves' Amazon Store and the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Florence & Tuscany for tourist sight information, maps, tips and recommendations, not to mention photos. Also, be sure to make reservations for your museum visits (Uffizi and Accademia) prior to leaving home, otherwise you risk standing in 3-hour queues. There is a nominal charge but check with your hotel first because they can and will make reservations for you and at no cost.
Arrivederci from Florence, Italy!