— Florence —
Florence, one of the most important art centers in the world, home of many museums, galleries, churches and palaces of magnificence full of paintings, sculptures, frescoes and other valuable artefacts from the time of the greatest artistic flourishing of the past thousand years.
Famous names from the middle ages and the renaissance - Dante, Machiavelli, Michelangelo, Galileo and many others - still belong to the most sophisticated concepts of modern times. They are a reminder of the city that has had a major influence on the direction of western culture....
The flood of splendid works of art in Florence can be breathtaking, but the city itself is neither overwhelming nor difficult to explore. Most of what you want to see are located in a well-defined area north of the River Arno, which divides central Florence from east to west. Located just off the river over the famous Ponte Vecchio, the Oltrarno district (literally, behind Arno) a separate enclave with a distinct, more traditional and completely unique atmosphere.
North of Arn, everything in the city centers around two main squares: Piazza della Signoria and Piazza del Duomo.
Piazza del Duomo is the place where most people start their Florentine odyssey with three major monuments: the Duomo, Battistero and Campanile (a cathedral, baptistery and bell tower), a system of buildings almost unlike Italy.
Nearby, there is the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, a gallery full of valuable works, which was gradually relocated from these buildings for safety.The Museo Nazionale del Bargello is home to the most beautiful Florentine Renaissance statues, including many of Michelangelo's works.
Outside of Piazza del Duomo, the city is divided into roughly four parts. The base of eastern Florence is the beautiful Piazza Della Signoria, the second-largest in Florence, where you can visit the Galleria Degli Uffizi, the world's richest collection of Renaissance paintings.
The eastern direction is Santa Croce, the most important Florentine temple, thanks to artistic decoration - including frescoes by Giotto - and the tombs of some of the most prominent figures of the city's history. Around the district is a splendid medieval corner, especially in the Sant'Ambrogio neighborhood and the streets between the church and Piazza Della Signoria.
North of Piazza del Duomo, in northern Florence, lies San Lorenzo and Cappelle Medicee, a church and Medici tombs with works by Michelangelo and others. The further north you will find several interesting sites with important sights: the Galleria dell'Academia, the Palazzo Medici - Riccardi (the frescoes cycle by Benozzo Gozzoli) and the Museo di San Marco (paintings by Fra Angelico).
West Florence is a little less interesting, but there is the church of Santa Maria Novella, the second most important Florentine church in Santa Croce, where you can see beautiful paintings and frescoes. Over the river, in Oltrarno stands Palazzo Pitti, whose art gallery is right behind Uffizi , and Cappella Brancacci with the most important cycle of frescoes throughout Florence. There is also the Giardino di Boboli, the most beautiful garden in the city - as well as handicraft shops, antique shops, and quiet streets and squares that are a joy to explore. Finally, do not forget the only place that is not within walking distance of the center - the church of San Miniato al Monte