“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller” said Ibn Battuta, who is widely recognized as one of the greatest travelers of all time.
I’m not among the greatest travelers of all time, although I want to be, J but I follow his advice and tell you a story about my latest journey on the land of Italy, in the mesmerizing city of Florence.
Firenze, Florence, Florentia, even its name is alluring, is a city that must be seen and felt. The pearl of Tuscany keeps its promise and bewilders you with its magnificent buildings, narrow streets, beautiful castles, quiet gardens, tasty food and great wines.
Although I visited Florence only for two days, it made such an impression on me.
Il Duome is the greatest building in the world, in my opinion. I’ve seen many buildings in different countries but Brunelleschi’s Dome is an unbelievable masterpiece of design and engineering. Taking into consideration the fact that it was completed structurally in 1436 and today is still the tallest building in Florence, Brunelleschi’s solutions for the dome were truly ingenious. And the facade, sculpted in marble in shades of pink, green and white is fascinating. I was standing in front of it and couldn’t take my eyes off. Such intricate piece of art! Every detail perfectly crafted, every square meter was telling a story and yelled perfection. If you want to see the entire city from the Duomo you have to climb its 463 steps but it’s worth it. The view is spectacular!
In front of the Dome, there is the Baptistery, where the famous poet Dante Alighieri was baptized, and Giotto’s Campanile, the Bell Tower. Also, the tower offers an extraordinary view of Firenze. There, you only have to climb 414 steps. J Be careful though, ladies! If there is wind it can ruin your perfectly arranged hairdo.
A breathtaking view of the heart of Tuscany can also be admired from Palazzo Vecchio’s tower. If you have problems climbing the stairs, you can be relieved! In Palazzo Vecchio’s tower they are the fewest.
Exhausted and sweaty, we continued our walk on the narrow and picturesque streets of Florentia capturing every architectural detail of every single building and enjoying every balcony decorated with delicate colored flowers.
Of course, don’t hesitate to step on the famous bridge – Ponte Vecchio – your eyes will be enchanted by all the beautiful jewelry and by the view of the river Arno. In the middle of the bridge you will encounter the bust of Cellini, the famous Italian goldsmith who was born and died in this great city. You have to take a stroll on this lovely bridge during the day but also at night. It’s charming!
In just one day we made 31,000 steps, which is the equivalent of 20 km, more or less. And our journey didn’t stop there.
After we climbed almost 1000 steps, and strolled down Ponte Vecchio we also took a walk in Boboli Gardens. Such a refreshing walk. It was like we were in a fairytale forest, surrounded by trees and meandering paths. Birds were singing and the sun was lighting our way. It felt like we were all alone and the world was ours.
On our last day we visited Palazzo Pitti, build in 1440 for the merchant Luca Pitti, then bought by Cosimo I de’ Medici for his wife Eleonora di Toledo. Here, Cosimo I stored precious art collection and some of them can still be admired in Galleria Palatina, masterpieces of Raffaello, Tiziano and Canova’s Italian Venus. On our way to Basilica of San Lorenzo, the burial place of the Medici family, we went to see Dante’s house, which is not that interesting to visit, but it’s worth it at least to pinpoint its location.
On the other hand, the church is wonderful. Being one of the oldest churches in Florence, it was consecrated in 393, and in 1419 Cosimo the Elder commissioned Brunelleschi with the reconstruction of the church. Here, Donatello is also buried, and you can admire some works of art done by him. Donatello developed a beautiful friendship with Cosimo de Medici and when he died he was buried in the crypt of San Lorenzo, beside Cosimo’s own tomb.
Florence, the town of The Medici family is filled with history and places that tell stories of love, war and betrayal. It’s a city that must be on your bucket list. I know I want to come back. I stayed so little and haven’t seen nearly half of what Firenze has to offer. And if you still aren’t convinced, read Inferno by Dan Brown. There, besides the thrilling action that happens nowadays, Florence will be revealed in its entire beauty, and tales will be told for every corner and street.