I rode a train from Termini Station in Rome to Santa Maria Novella Station in Florence, the Cradle of Renaissance. With no fixed plans, I let my feet take me to wherever it will lead me. That means getting lost for hours and hours upon my arrival in the hometown of Michelangelo and other great known painters.
My journey started from Piazza Signoria, where the beautiful Ammannati’s Neptune fountain stands. Neptune or Nettuno is the Roman god of the sea; he is surrounded by sea nymphs and horses.
In this piazza, there’s an outdoor gallery called Loggia della Signoria detta dei Lanzi. This gallery showcases Renaissance sculptures like Benvenuto Cellini’ Perseus amd Giambologna’s Rape of the Sabine Women and Hercules and the Centaur. The gallery is for free and is open from 8am to 7pm only.
Adjacent to this gallery is Palazzo Vecchio, where Bandinelli’s Hercules and Cacus, and Michaelangelo’s David will greet you at the main entrance. Unfortunately, the “David” in this place is only a replica, the original one is in Accademia, which I missed to see.
I crossed Ponte Vecchio, an old bridge with glittering jewelry shops. On my way to Piazzale Michaelangiolo, the necklaces and bracelets sparkled as I look at the window stores as if they were telling me to buy them.
After a long walk, I finally arrived at Piazzale Michelangelo/Michelangiolo (the street signs says it’s Piazzale Michelangiolo but the board sign in the piazzale is Michelangelo). It’s a piazza to pay tribute to the genius artist Michelangelo Buonarotti.
There’s also a terrace in this piazza where you can see the panoramic view of Florence.
I walked back to the other side and crossed Ponte Alle Grazie; a good spot to take a photo of Ponte Vecchio, the most photographed bridge in Florence.
I arrived at Uffizi Gallery, the famous and finest art gallery in Florence. The frescoed ceilings have intricate designs and the white marbled statues have been carved beautifully.
Aside from Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo’s stunning paintings, my personal favourite is Sandro Boticelli’s The Birth of Venus.
After appreciating the rich art that’s in Uffizi Gallery, I headed to Florence Cathedral but I got lost. In the process of finding my way, I stumbled upon this artist on the street, finishing her masterpiece of the Holy Family.
So I walked again and found myself in Piazza della Repubblica where horses graciously circle around the carousel.
After walking street after street, I finally ended up in Santa Maria del Fiore also known as Florence Cathedral or simply the Duomo. I wandered around the church with a gelato and a camera on hand as I appreciate its exterior covered with white, green and pink marble. The mosaic design of the church makes it unique and outstanding.
I finished my gelato and googled my way to Gusta Pizza near Santo Spirito to meet my host. I am not good with maps and as usual, I got lost again. I walked to unknown streets and found myself back at Duomo.
I passed by Piazza Signoria which is beautiful at night with less crowd.
Finally, after crossing Arno River at Ponte della Grazie, I arrived at Gusta Pizza and bought some Margherita. The restaurant was jam-packed with locals so I ate in front of Santo Spirito where I met my host.
This was a tiring but fulfilling day for me, I got to see a lot of places, both day and night. I missed to see Accademia and the sunset, but still it’s a beautiful day.
I’ll talk about Pisa, Italy on my next post. Stay tuned! 😉