Friday, July 19, 2013

What to do in Florence

Firenze, or Florence, is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. Though I lived in Rome for 4 months, and visited Florence for 4 days, I may have loved Florence more.. shhh don't tell anyone. With that being said, I am not an expert on Florence, but I can at least travel around the relatively small, and walk able, city. Like other cities, there is a Duomo and Baptistey which you can visit. Santa Maria dei Fiori, the Duomo, and the Baptistery, are adorned in green, burgandy, and white stones, and are gigantic. These two attractions, and their plaza they share, are normally packed. You can also visit a variety of churches, which are spread out throughout the city. If you are interested in museums, there are many, but the major one would be the Uffizi Gallery, where the famous David is held. Other museum attractions are the Palazzo Vecchio, where the picture above is taken, and Palazzo Pitti, a castle across the Ponte Vecchio (a bridge filled with jewelry shops). If you don't want to visit museums, and love to shop, the leather market, right near the Medici Palace, is for you. The leather market stretches along the street outside of the Medici Chapel, another attraction. At the market, you will find many leather goods, including purses, key chains, wallets, jackets, and more. In this market, you need to barter and lower the prices, you will be able to tell if something is not great quality. Some salesmen will even take a lighter and run the flame across the leather, proving the quality. Don't be astonished that  the same purse is in every stand, some things aren't unique. Also, the sellers may want to take you to their store, which could be right behind their stand, or many streets away. 

Interested in visiting Florence? Here are some tips:

  • Comfortable shoes. Enough said. 
  • Try to get a Firenze pass, honestly I don't know where you can purchase one, but you get access to churches, museums, and the buses with this pass. 
  • Visit the Uffizi Gallery, Santa Maria dei Fiori, and the Baptistry. Make sure you visit all three of these attractions. they are very famous, and if you are short on time, these are the best to get the essence of Florence, the home of the Italian Renaissance.
  • Enjoy the leather market. Walk through first, then start finding your treasures. Don't take too long, some of the salesmen will get nasty and raise their prices. Just walk away if they get mean and annoying, and don't take their bantering too seriously. 

Santa Maria dei Fiori

Ponte Vecchio

Palazzo Pitti

Medici Palace

The David in the Uffizi Gallery, a very sneaky picture taken by me, when the guards weren't looking...

There you have it, a short blurb about Florence and what you can do there! I would definitely go back and visit some of the churches I didn't have a chance to visit while there. It is a beautiful city, and relatively small, but still amazing!

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