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Florence

Marcy Williams Published: May 30, 2010

As our final tour in Italy, we traveled to the famous areas of Florence that include historic works of art, the most notable being by Michelangelo.

The cupola atop the Cathedral in the Piazza del Duomo in Florence.
The cupola atop the Cathedral in the Piazza del Duomo in Florence.
The Baptistry in Florence is famous for its bronze gates.
The Baptistry in Florence is famous for its bronze gates.
The Bell Tower has 414 steps, slightly shorter than the Cathedral.
The Bell Tower has 414 steps, slightly shorter than the Cathedral.

The Accademia Gallery houses the 17-foot tall Statue of David and shows the true genius of Michelangelo.  It reveals his understanding of the human body and must be viewed from all sides to realize just how superlative that genius was.

Our walking tour of Florence included the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore  in the Piazza del Duomo, the second largest cathedral in the world.  We did not choose to climb the 463 steps to the Cupola Gallery, though the panoramic view from that height is said to be spectacular.

Next to the Cathedral is the Bell Tower.  It is free-standing and decorated by colored marble and picturesque statuary.  Bell towers are usually the highest point, but this one has 414 steps, slightly shorter than the Cathedral’s cupola.

There is also the octagonal Baptistry in the Piazza Duomo.  It has three bronze gates on the east side that were referred to as the “Gates of Paradise” by Michelangelo.

Ponte Vecchio spans the Arno River.
Ponte Vecchio spans the Arno River.
Piazza Santa Croce is notable for its tombs of famous citizens.
Piazza Santa Croce is notable for its tombs of famous citizens.

We included several other points of interest in our tour:

* Piazza della Signoria, Florence’s largest square.  The Neptune Fountain is a famous landmark here.

* Palazzo Vecchio contains a copy of Michelangelo’s Statue of David and today is the City Hall of Florence.

* Piazza Santa Croce is notable for its tombs of famous citizens like Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli.

* Ponte Vecchio is the oldest bridge in Florence.  It is lined with 42 goldsmiths’ shops and spans the Arno River.

This was just a ‘taste’ of Florence, only a few of the historic sights in the sixth largest city of Italy. I now understand why people who have visited Italy have told me that Florence was their favorite.


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