Florence – The Birthplace of the Renaissance – Day 3 – Part 4

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We became fans of a television show, on Netflix, called “Somebody Feed Phil.”  On one of the episodes, which focused on Florence, they spotlighted the Vivoli Gelateria.  The gelato looked so good, when we saw the episode, that we made a point of hunting the place out.  It was fairly easy to find, located only a few steps away from Piazza di Santa Croce.  I recommend anyone who likes gelato to make a trip to this establishment.  The gelato is seriously good!  The crema (cream) flavor was our favorite!

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On the facade of the same building that houses the gelateria, there is a plaque that commemorates Giovanni Duprè, the famous scupltor, and his hauntingly beautiful statue of a defeated Abel, which was begun in a room of the building.

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One of my favorite spots, whenever I am in Florence, is Piazza di Santa Croce.  The lovely square is lined with elegant palazzos on three ends, and by the Basilica di Santa Croce on the other.  While we did not actually visit the basilica on this trip, make no mistake about it.  We will cover it in depth, when we return to this lovely city!

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The statue of Dante, in front of the basilica, is by Enrico Pazzi.

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A few steps away, in Piazza dei Cavalleggeri, is the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze, which is the largest public library in all of Italy.  The library dates from 1714.

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We made our way over to Piazza della Signoria.  Now, this piazza holds some of the most popular sights in all of Florence, such as the fascinating Palazzo Vecchio, and one of the world’s most attended museums — The Uffizi!  In the middle of the piazza, there is a bronze equestrian monument to Cosimo I de’ Medici, by Giambologna.

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For me, the highlight to any visit to Piazza della Signoria is visiting the Loggia dei Lanzi, or the Loggia della Signoria, as it is also called.  This is a sort of open-air, art gallery, housing masterpieces, famous all around the world, including the original statue carved by Giambologna, “The Rape of the Sabines.”  A plaster cast of the piece is on view in the Accademia, but until you see the original, you cannot appreciate the power and force that the artist was able to convey, working with the stone.

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Another masterpiece housed in the Loggia is Benvenuto Cellini’s “Perseus,” which depicts the hero holding up the head of Medusa, who he has just killed, and whose body lies at his feet.

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Menelaus, supporting the body of Patroclus, is an ancient Roman sculptural group that was discovered in Rome, and brought to Florence.

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We made our way past the Uffizi, to the Ponte Vecchio, perhaps one of the most famous landmarks in Florence.

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The Ponte Vecchio, or “Old Bridge,” dates from 1345.  At first, the shops that lined the bridge were mainly made up of butchers and herbalists.  Today, these are gone, and have been replaced by goldsmiths.  The Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge that was not destroyed by the Germans, during their retreat from Florence, at the end of World War II.  Again, this is one of the most popular sights in the city, and trying to cross the bridge, in the middle of the day, can be quite an undertaking, with the crowds of tourists that flock here.  The bridge is best enjoyed late at night, when most people are in bed, asleep.

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For dinner, we ended up at Trattoria Pandemonio di Casa Brogi, a charming family-run place near the apartment.  We ordered a pork dish, and a Osso Buco.  Both were delicious!

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Next up: We head to Pisa!

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 more posts from Florence, as well as other Italian destinations.  Grazie!

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