At a conference in Siena, I had the opportunity for an excursion to Florence, Italy. Siena and Florence, Italy are rivals separated by an easy one-hour train ride. Although I had not prepared for this side trip, I didn’t want to miss walking in the seat of Italian Renaissance masters Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Botticelli. The city is easily walkable from the train station, to the Duomo, Accademia, Uffizi, and Ponte Vecchio. This style of touring was different for me, going into a city blind, with no experience, and no guide. I will certainly not pretend to be an expert on Florence, Italy but hope you will enjoy the photo walk and share your own thoughts and experiences.
The Florence, Italy train station (Firenze Santa Maria Novella) is an easy walk to the Piazza del Duomo. Construction of the marble covered cathedral began in the late 13th Century, and continued for hundreds of years afterwards. The distinctive dome was placed in the 15th Century.
While the front facade of the building was not completed until the 19th Century.
From the Duomo, I headed a few blocks north to Accademia Gallery, home of Michelangelo’s masterpiece – the sculpture of David. No photos were allowed inside, so I purchased a guidebook and admired the David in addition to the four sculptures of “Slaves.” For some reason, they reminded me of my graduate school training. Leaving the Accademia, I headed south, back towards the Duomo, and stumbled upon the San Lorenzo leather market.
The leather market was a wonderful place to pick up souvenirs for the family, leather belts, purses, and even a purple leather bound journal for my daughter. I was headed to the Uffizi Gallery and ultimately the Arno River beyond to see the Ponte Vecchio. Before reaching the Uffizi, I stumbled into the Piazza della Signoria. The wonderful thing about Florence was turning a corner, or exiting a narrow street, and coming face to face with incredible art and displays. Of course, this Piazza is a well-known tourist attraction, but it was an astounding surprise coming across it unknown.
The Piazza serves as the gateway to the Uffizi Gallery, and the sculpture garden is considered an outdoor room of the gallery. The Uffizi is an art museum filled with Renaissance masterpieces from da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, and, my personal favorite, “The Birth of Venus” by Botticelli.
Again, no photos were allowed inside the art museum. Although I was able to capture a couple from the rooftop terrace looking back towards the way I had just traveled.
And on to the Arno River and the Ponte Vecchio, my next destination.
After admiring the overwhelming display of art, it was time to move on, get some fresh air, and consolidate the experience in my memory. I strolled along the Arno, seeing the Ponte Vecchio in the distance. An arched bridge lined with shops selling gold and jewelry.
I walked across the bridge. Found a cafe on the other side, and enjoyed a gelato while taking in my surroundings. It was time to make my way back to the train station to return to Siena, but I couldn’t help stopping at one more plaza, the Piazza della Repubblica.
A dish of pasta, sitting outside by the carousel, watching people go by, was a perfect end of the day in Florence. For more photos of my visit to Florence, Italy, click here or on any of the images in the gallery below.