Monday, 2 April 2007

The Top Sights in Florence

There are many places to visit in Florence, but here are some of the top sites which you don't want to miss on your next trip!

The Ponte Vecchio, or “Old Bridge” was built in 1345. This is the most famous and most frequently photographed bridge in Florence and the only one that wasn’t destroyed in World War II. The bridge itself houses many goldsmiths, jeweller’s shops and medieval workshops that overhang the bridge. The best time to view the bridge is at sunset, followed by a walk along the bridge after dusk, when the lights on the bridge reflect on the River Arno and everything seems almost magical.

The magnificent cathedral or Duomo is the most distinctive feature of Florence’s skyline and is the result of years of work over six centuries. The building was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio at the end of the 13th century and is located in the north end of the Piazza della Signoria. If you’re feeling fit you may want to climb the 463 steps into the dome or the 414 steps up to the adjacent bell tower to take in a fantastic view of the city.

The Piazza della Signoria is a lively square with many restaurants, bars and ice cream shops and is a must to see. The square has been the political centre of Florence for centuries and is dominated by the Palazzo Vecchio with a copy of the statue of David by Michelangelo in front of the palace. The entrance to the Uffizi Gallery is just off the square. Right next to the Piazza della Signoria is the promenade Via dei Calzaiuoli, a lively shopping street, connecting with the Duomo of Florence – a popular place in the evenings with locals and visitors alike. During the summer visitors can go on a romantic carriage ride through Florence, beginning in Piazza della Signoria.

The Palazzo Vecchio, or Old Palace is an impressive building, built by Arnolfo di Cambio during the 13th and 14th centuries. It is the main complex in the Piazza della Signoria and is so called to distinguish itself from the Palazzo Pitti, the “new” palace.Inside the Palazzo Vecchio lies the Room of the Lilies, Elenora di Toledo's Rooms and the inner courtyard with the Putto Fountain and Michelangelo's statue The Victory. Even if you don’t have time to visit Palazzo Vecchio, it is worthwhile going into the inner courtyard to see the Putto Fountain.

The Uffizi Gallery is one of the most popular museums in Florence and a must for those who like paintings. It was originally designed by Giorgio Vasari in 1559 for Cosimo I de' Medici as offices of the government judiciary. The Uffizi is home to the finest collection of Renaissance paintings in the world and boasts around 1700 paintings and 300 sculptures, as well as a number of tapestries and some furniture and ceramics. There are 45 rooms containing works from famous artists such as Michelangelo, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Dante, Titian and Rubens.

No comments: