Eternal beauty of Florence

Eternal beauty of Florence

Florence (Firenze in Italian) is an Italian city, the capital of the region of Tuscany, situated on the hills along the river Arno. Florence area is about 102 km ², the city is home to 366,074 people (as of 2008).
The city was founded by Julius Caesar in 59 BC. in place of an Etruscan settlement. Town planning met strict military camp square layout. The town called «Caste Florence», that is “Thriving military camp”, which later determined the name of the current Florence, meaning “Thriving”. In the Middle Ages, the settlement stayed in shadow of its two more famous neighbors – Lucca and Pisa. However, in the beginning of the XII century, commune  came into florence_sightsforce in Florence, that ment a joint rule of inhabitants. In 1252, economic situation of Florence strengthened so much, that it began to mint the first gold coins – florins, that later became a pan-European currency.

In 1434 Medici  family came to rule in Florence, and played a huge role in the history of the city. The most famous Florentine rulers of this family were Cosimo the Elder and Lorenzo the Magnificent. Medici family turned Florence to the biggest cultural center of Europe, and became the driving force that sparked the beginning of an era in art – the Renaissance. Medici name is still present in the names of museums and palaces of Florence.
In 1860 Florence became part of the United Italy, and from 1865 to 1871, even was its capital.

By the number of extant historical and architectural monuments and extensive collections of works of art, Florence is justly considered a museum city and is called “the Athens of Italy”. Italian sights, located in Florence, amaze and captivate from the first sight. Dante, Machiavelli, Rossini, Botticelli, Michelangelo and Galileo –  geniuses, living and working in Florence are so numerous! Florence’s historic center is a part of UNESCO World Heritage.

Florence preserves many old traditions till these days. One of the most interesting is a footballmarket game in medieval costumes in June. “Skoppio del Carro” – festival of burning wagons and fireworks, is not less amzing, the “Feast of the cricket” in the park on Kashin Annunciation and St. John’s Day – the patron saint of the city, which is celebrated on June 24 are also very exciting.
Today’s Florence is also one of the renowned fashion capitals. Each year here happen such significant events for the fashion world, as the exhibition of “Pret a porter”, “Fabric” and “Small-ware”

Florence: what to see

The Uffizi Gallery

Undoubtedly, one of the most famous sights of Florence is considered the Uffizi Gallery (Galleria degli Uffizi). Building of the Gallery, raised  by Vasari to accommodate various types of government services of Tuscany dukedom, is now a famous museum that possesses the most complete collection of works of art. Uffizi Gallery combined a few architectural objects that existed before: the church of San Piero Skeradzho where Dante and Boccaccio discoursed once; the Mint, that stroke gold florins from the XIII century. Among the treasures stored in the Uffizi Gallery can be seen masterpieces by Giotto, Caravaggio, Titian, Leonardo da Vinci, Rubens, Peruzhdio.

Palazzo Vecchio

FlorencePalazzo Vecchio, also called Old Palace or Palazzo della Signoria, stays by Uffizi Gallery on the north. Construction of the palace was launched in 1294 under the guidance of Arnolfo di Cambio. Initially, this imposing building with thick walls was used as a military fortification that protected priors’ residence. Some time later, especially after Simone del Pollaiuolo, Vasari and Buontalenti working over it, the Palace became the residence of the ruling family of Medici.

Palazzo Pitti

One of the most magnificent palaces of Florence – Pitti Palace (Palazzo Pitti). In the XV century, it was built by an architect Brunelleschi for a Florentine merchant Luca Pitti. During its long history, the Palazzo Pitti changed its owners and was rebuilt several times. Today, this interesting architectural complex is famous for the adjacent Boboli Gardens – fine examples of landscape art of the Renaissance. On the palace several famous museums are located: the Palatine Gallery, where you can see paintings by Titian, Raphael, Tintoretto, Caravaggio, Boboli-FlorenceBotticelli, Filippo Lippi, Velázquez, Van Dyck and Rubens; Gallery of Modern Art, storing remarkable collection of works by Italian artists of XIX-XX centuries. In this very place, in the Palazzo Pitti is situated Silver Museum (jewelry, crystal, china), the Museum of Costume (clothes of different times) and the Museum of Carriages (carriages and coaches XIX-XX centuries).

Florence at all times was associated with its bridges over the Arno River. Now the city has ten bridges over the Arno, four of them were built not so long ago, in the second half of the XXth century. The most famous of Florentine bridges is Ponte Vecchio, or an Old Bridge.

Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio connects the banks of the River Arno at its narrowest point, where used to be three  bridges, destroyed by times and the elements before 1333. Construction of Ponte Vecchio started in 1345 and had a remarkable history. Architects Taddeo Gaddi and Neri di Florence4Fioravanti, who worked on the construction of the Ponte Vecchio, decided to build a bridge by the design unique for their time – with strong 3 arches posts. The idea was successful, for the bridge stands to this day. On both sides of the bridge there are located houses, preserved from the XIV century, the middle of the bridge is free of buildings. It is now a view point, where tourists can admire the Arno river, other Florentine bridges and picturesque city suburbs.

Piazza del Duomo

Cathedral Square (Piazza del Duomo) is the heart of Florence. It dwells a number of famous buildings, including one of the most recognizable buildings in the city:  Florence Cathedral, the 84-meter bell tower by Giotto and the city’s oldest building – Baptistery.

Santa Maria del Fiore

Florence Cathedral, the Duomo or Santa Maria del Fiore, whose a grand dome is one of the recognizable silhouettes of Florence, is located in the Piazza del Duomo. Construction of thebardini-gardens-statues temple began in 1294 and lasted for 81year. The best architects of his time participated in construction of the Cathedral: Giotto, Arnolfo di Cambio, Andrea Pisano. However, the cathedral became world-famous because of octagonal dome of Filippo Brunelleschi of 1420-1436 period. The top of the dome at a height of 91 meters is crowned with a steeple with a ball that was raised there with the help of a device, created by Michelangelo. The façade of the temple in white, pink and green colors was finished only by1887, when Florence was the capital of Italy.

Giotto’s Bell Tower

Not far from the Duomo, there stays a not less remarkable l sight of Florence – Giotto’s bell tower,  of 84 meters heigh. Its facades are decorated with unique four- and six-sided medallions on all sides.

Baptistry of St. John (Battistero di San Giovanni)

palazzo-vecchioNear Santa Maria del Fiore, you can fing the oldest building in the city, mentioned in chronicles of the IX century – the Baptistery of St. John. For over a thousand years, it represents spiritual center of Florence. Baptistery was built in honor of John the Baptist, the patron saint of Florence. Images of antiquity predominate in the interior of the church, but Baptistery doors, that appeared appeared later, became its most famous sight. Doors, or portalsof the Baptistery are decorated by priceless panels, treating biblical subjects. They were created by Andrea Pisano and Lorenzo Ghiberti. Baptistery Byzantine mosaic ceiling dating XIII century is also worth attention.

Church of Santa Maria del Carmine

Santa Maria del Carmine is another famous church in Florence, dedicated to the Madonna of the Carmelite Order. This is a rather dim building, that preserves in its walls unique frescoes, that attract many admirers of Italian art. In the right transept there is located famous Brancacci Chapel, painted by Masolino and, to a greater extent, finished by Lippi.

Church of Santa Croce

Church of Santa Croce (Holy Cross Church) is another unique architectural and artistic ponte vecchio1monument, located in the heart of Florence. It stores the richest works of art. This Gothic church, one of the largest in the city, is also the largest Franciscan church in Italy. Its architect was Arnolfo di Cambio, who laid the foundation stone in 1294. Tourists are attracted by the unique temple chapels, decorated with genius frescoes by famous Italian artists. Inside the church there are also more than 300 tombs of the great Florentines, including Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Dante, Lorenzo Bartolini, Galileo Galilei.

Categories: Italy, World