Florence, the capital of the Italy’s central region of Tuscany, is where the era of European Renaissance began to flourish. Hence, the city boasts their finest collections of Renaissance art masterpieces exhibited in museums such as Uffizi Gallery and Galleria dell’Accademia and others, painted on the walls of palaces, churches, and convents. But nothing compares to the magnificent Brunelleschi’s cupola of enormous Florence Duomo, also called the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. The red-tiled dome is a remarkable architectural accomplishment which defined Florence’s cityscape.
With just a day in the marvelous city of Florence, I need to squeeze my itinerary to fit all the significant landmarks on the time I have to discover the city’s best. Though the place could be covered by walking, a day is certainly just a scratch on its surface. Having some breakfast in an osteria while having a good view of the significant Gothic church in Tuscany called Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, is the best way to start the day. The Dominican Church displays wonderful frescoes painted by great Italian artists.
The highlight of my visit in this Tuscan city was the sight of the Florence Duomo. Aside for its immense cupola, the combination of pink, white, and green colors of its exterior marble walls is exquisite. The elaborated ornamentations of the cathedral boost up further its elegance.
Advancing my steps in the narrow streets of Florence, I reached Piazza della Republica which is one of the central squares of the city. There is a carousel situated in the middle and several cafes around the area. Like the other piazzas found in Europe, it was full of people passing by and others are whiling away their time appreciating street performers. Few strides away from this square, I found Pallazo Vecchio. This palace has always been the town hall of the city since the reign of the Medici family. Just in front of this symbolic building is a historical square called Piazza della Signoria. Here, several symbolic statues are displayed, including the replica of Michelangelo’s David and Ammannati’s Fountain of Neptune.
As it was already late in the afternoon and my stomach started to growl, I moved to Mercato Centrale to grab some quick lunch. Nobody will run out of food options in this place for vendors showcase a wide variety of Tuscan bites. After taking a full lunch, I spent some time looking for souvenirs in an outdoor section of San Lorenzo market, which is surrounding Mercato Centrale. I had few good buys and had made me decide to start moving to another place before it will burn a hole in my pocket.
Though museums don’t appeal to me that much, I have planned to get inside Uffizi Gallery to see famous Renaissance paintings in which the city is known for. However, upon seeing the queue, I decided to change my plan and walk along the Arno River before heading to Ponte Vecchio, which is just adjacent to the museum. This old, iconic bridge is the only one left undestroyed across the Arno River, after World War II. There are a lot of small shops on Ponte Vecchio selling gold jewelries which had attracted my interest.
Just by crossing the bridge, I arrived at Oltrarno, which is another area of Florence, south of River Arno. Another historical center is found in this quarter, the Palazzo Pitti, which was constructed for the Pitti family. It was later sold to the Medicis and thus becoming the official residence of the royal family. Today, the enormous palace houses a number of museums that contains impressive collection of artworks. One could also relax with beautiful greeneries behind the building where there is a huge garden called Boboli.
Before dusk starts to penetrate, I wanted to make sure I will catch that breathtaking sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo. It’s around 30 minute-walk to reach the famous square from my location. It is situated uphill which truly offered a panoramic view of Florence. This is probably the best way to end the day: keeping an eye on the wonderful skyline of Florence while watching the sun falling down the horizon.