While preparing for my first visit to Florence, I had read and heard that I could spend a week or two frantically rushing from one museum to another and still not get the chance to see all the art there is in this magical city. Instead of this filling me with excitement, the idea made me nervous. I mean, I could only spare a week – and not even a full one but something like 5.5 days and here someone was claiming that even 2 weeks are not enough. Additionally, I also hated the idea of having to frenziedly rush from place to place trying to see all there is. Thankfully, when I landed in Florence, I instantly fell in love with the place. This gave me the leverage to pull myself together and have a wonderful time. Though I never got the chance to see everything I had hoped to, I can’t deny that visiting these places quenched my thirst for Florence’s renowned art.
The Piazza Della Signoria (dedicated to Michelangelo)
This is perhaps the most popular place to enjoy an unobstructed view or Arno valley and Florence itself. I got there on foot, hiking through Oltrarno a neighborhood across Arno River. My walking efforts never went unrewarded. I got to see the meticulous scenery of Tuscan hills from a bird’s eye view. The scenery at Piazza Della Signoria was breathtaking. It is and will always be the heart of Florence. This exquisite L shaped arena had astonishing points of interest. The fountain of Neptune- which is actually a replica of Michelangelo’s statue of David, the Uffizi gallery – a meticulous museum with an astounding collection of Italian art (which I had no option but visit) and several other sculptures. Needless to say, the artistic presence in this place was choking. I also got to enjoy opera, jazz and classical concerts during the nights. The maestro was clapping, jumping and feverishly enjoying not only the orchestra but also the euphoric world.
The Uffizi Gallery
As a person with deep regard for art, the Uffizi art gallery was definitely a number one pick to visit in Florence. I mean, it houses the largest collection of Italian paintings on earth and I felt it was worth the time and effort. The experience was surreal. Being inside a building full of Botticelli paintings made me feel like I was part of the art itself. However, since this is a must visit for many who tour Florence, there were long lines but I could have easily avoided this by booking my tickets in advance. Perhaps, I will do this next time I plan on visiting the place. All in all, this is one art museum worth planning for in advance if you have plans of visiting Florence.
The Medici heritage
Being an enthusiastic fan of history, I know Florence has been the epicenter for religious and political tumults as well numerous power shifts, its golden age coincided with the advent of renaissance. In this era, Florence was the place to be; an independently governed city-state, decorated with impressive technology, art, and science. As a result, the city grew into a tremendous hub for innovation largely due to funding from the Medici family. Honestly, as an avid fan of Da Vinci’s Demons, I wanted to experience this history in person. I found out that Medici’s heritage is still prominent, eternalized by places like the Palazzo Medici Riccardo – which was actually Medici’s old palace, Medici chapels, and Boboli gardens. They are the most imposing landmarks in the area and I found it hard not to be swept away into the renaissance era.
I never got the time to visit Ponte Vecchio neither did I climb Brunelleschi’s dome because it was plagued by lines which almost circled the entire cathedral. However, how optimistic I was, I had to spend a day or two in these two places which wasn’t a very smart idea considering I was working on borrowed time. Nonetheless, for some reason, I wanted to visit the Galleria dell’Academia because it housed the original statue of Michelangelo’s David. He was imposing than I had ever imagined though I hated the whole experience since the corridors were flooded with so many people admiring sacred art.
Needless to say, Florence is unlike any other city in Italy. It is a historical center buzzing with huge crowds, all in a bid to quench their thirst for renaissance art. My experience was beyond expectation and there is no doubt I will be back for more.