Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Day in Florence: Where to Go, What to Eat

" much intelligence Man once imposed upon the forms of the earth, when he set up the stones of Florence in the billowing expanse of the Tuscan olive-groves." Andre Malraux

Florence, the capital of the Tuscan region, is one of the most visited cities in Europe.  It is synonymous with works of art and good wine, and has inspired artists for centuries.  If you are a Renaissance enthusiast or just want to walk the streets of Michelangelo and Botticelli, Florence (in Italian: Firenze) will captivate you in no time!

Of course with more than one million works of Renaissance art housed in over 70 museums and countless churches, you will have to pick and choose what you want to see.  Depending on the time of the year, the museums can get very crowded so it's better to book your visit ahead of time.  Click here for the official reservations page.  Please note that state-run museums close on Mondays.  The famous David statue by Michelangelo is housed in the Galleria dell'Accademia museum, even though replicas of the David can be found all around town if you want to see the original you need to plan ahead and make a reservation.  The famous painting by Botticelli "The Birth of Venus" is housed in the Uffizi GalleryBooking your tickets in advance will help during high tourist season.

There is so much to see in Florence it's hard to narrow down the list of places to visit, however the following are landmarks of the city you cannot miss:

Il Duomo: Located in the heart of Florence, its colors differentiate it from other cathedrals in Italy.

Piazza della Signoria: The main square of Florence where you will find a replica of Michelangelo's David as well as Palazzo Vecchio, Florence's town hall.  You will also find the Loggia dei Lanzi a building with an open facade composed of arches that was originally design to hold public meetings.   The arches give the traveler a perfect shaded place to pause and view the statues with which it's adorned.  My children engaged in their own art/history discussion while contemplating the statue of Perseus holding Medusa's head.  The open spaces of the Piazza della Signoria make it a perfect spot to regroup while taking it all in.

Ponte Vecchio:  Crossing the Arno river, Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge), is a symbol of the city.  The sidewalks of this pedestrian only bridge are occupied by jewelry stores and souvenir shops.  On the other side of the river you'll find good neighborhood restaurants with reasonable prices.  

Of course while in Florence don't pass the opportunity to try their most famous dish Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Steak, Florence-style).  My husband, a recurrent patron, recommends Perseus at Viale Don Minzoni 10.  It's a 20 minute walk from the historic center, but after eating a monster steak the walk is always welcomed.


1 comment:

  1. I am taking note of the tips for my next visit to Firenze!!