My Easter holiday this year has involved a family trip to Florence in Italy, the centre of the Renaissance. I don’t think I am exaggerating when I say there is a huge amount of things to do and see in this city, so I wanted to just outline my favourite things I found in my brief time there.
Il Duomo de Firenze and Giotto’s Campanile
(Don’t worry, this basically just means the big cathedral in Florence and its bell tower!) This church is the iconic image of the city, and with its bricked dome and Gothic exterior it is an impressive sight. (Although, inside it is surprisingly simple.) We also paid to go up the Campanile – it’s great just for the view alone, although the work out of climbing up and down the 414 steps is an added bonus! I chose not to go up the Dome (heights aren’t really my thing!) although it is possible to do so, and you get a great view of the fresco which covers the inner dome.
Galleries: Uffizi & Accademia
Art galleries are the standard here (but what else would you expect with the Renaissance?) and they all hold some beautiful pieces. The Uffizi Gallery is the biggest and most well-known – it’s huge and has some of the most well known Renaissance pieces, like Botticelli’s The Birth Venus and Primavera. This place took a long time to get round, but coming out of it I felt like I had learnt so much about the evolution of art into the Renaissance period.
The Academia is a lot smaller, and centres around Michelangelo and his masterpiece David. In fact, the room in which it stands, was built specifically for this very statue. And it truly is a spectacular creation to look at, from all angles – it seems to change as you move around it.
Ponte Vecchio & Others
Ponte Vecchio is the famous bridge of Florence (doesn’t every city have one?), although I didn’t realise I was on it at first! Surrounded by all the jewellers shops that sit on the bridge, it feels like you’re on any other shopping street.
We also wondered around lots of squares, including the Piazzo della Signoria (in front of the Old Palace), which holds lots of statues and an impressive fountain. Somehow, we found ourselves wondering into this square a lot…
The English Cemetry was another highlight, with the grave of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and two Shakespeare’s relatives. (Anyone who has been following this blog for a while will realise I like going to cemeteries – like my trip to Paris!)
Florence is a gorgeous, full of beautiful buildings and stunning masterpieces – both big and small. The Renaissance seems to surround you every step you take, which is honestly, rather inspiring.
On a side note, we also found ourselves in Pisa to get the plane back home, so we couldn’t help but visit the site of the Leaning Tower.
We got tickets to go up, and it was such a surreal experience. As we walked up the spiralling stairs inside, we could feel the shift in gravity that comes with the whole leaning thing… It was also terrifying. (Being afraid of heights and feeling the pull of gravity that makes you feel like it’s trying to pull you off the top… Well, it’s not an experience I think I will repeat any tine soon, that’s for sure!)