Florence, like most Italian cities and towns, is a wonderful mix of old and new. Creativity and art surround you as you walk the city’s streets. The shopping isn’t bad either!
We passed a poster advertising “The Florence Experiment” — a temporary exhibit in the courtyard of Palazzo Strozzi. We peeked into the courtyard, just to see what it actually was. As it turns out, it was a huge slide, which one rode, set in the middle of the courtyard. There was no one there, at the time. We chose not to ride, but it might have been fun, especially at night, when the slide would be illuminated.
The Cinema Odeon, on Via degli Anselmi, is housed in Palazzo dello Strozzino. The movie theater opened on December 14th, 1922. It was one of the first movie theaters in Italy, and is still considered one of the most beautiful in all of Europe.
Piazza della Repubblica sits on what was originally the site of the Roman Forum. During the medieval period, it became the neighborhood known as the Ghetto. The square, as we see it today, dates from 1885.
The Colonna della Dovizia, or Column of Abundance, marks the center of the city. The column dates from 1431, but the statue, sitting on top of it, is a copy, the original now housed inside of a bank, on Via dell’Oriuolo.
We had timed entrance tickets to the Accademia, so we quickly walked past the beautiful Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. This cathedral dates from 1296. It was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, with the impressive dome being supplied later by Filippo Brunelleschi. Giotto is responsible for the lovely campanile that sits in the same piazza. The Baptistery of Saint John is also on the square. All of these attractions attract large crowds, and so, a few hours should be set aside to properly visit them. We decided to save them for another trip.
Most people, when visiting Florence, make it a point to see Michelangelo’s masterpiece, “David.” The statue is housed in the Galleria dell’Accademia. This is the second most visited museum, in all of Italy. It is important to buy tickets in advance, as they limit the number of people who are allowed to enter, and if you don’t already have a ticket, you will find yourself standing in a very long line, outside, possibly for hours, in the hope that you just may get to go in. It is much easier to buy your ticket in advance. That said, if you do buy tickets in advance, it is also important to arrive at the time printed on your ticket! Do not be late! Your entrance time is limited, and so you should make certain that you are there, ready to go in, when you are supposed to be.
The Galleria is full of important art! Plan on spending at least a few hours inside. You begin your visit in the Hall of the Colossus. The centerpiece of the room is a plaster cast of Giambologna’s magnificent “Rape of the Sabines.” On the walls of the room, there are paintings from artists like Perugino, Filippino Lippi, and Botticelli.
A small hallway leads you to the Museo degli Strumenti Musicali, or the Museum of Musical Instruments. This is a must for music lovers! The collection is made up of instruments that belonged to the Medici Court. Included are instruments by Stradivarius, as well as other masters, such as Bartolomeo Cristofori, the inventor of the piano.
A series of paintings, by Anton Domenico Gabbiani, depict some of the musicians hired by the Medici Court.
Next up: More from the Galleria dell’Accademia, including the incredible statue of David, by Michelangelo!
Note: This blog is written in English and Spanish, and the author takes no responsibility for the quality of any other translations which may appear. If you have enjoyed this post, please, check out our archives for additional posts from Florence, as well as other Italian destinations. Grazie!