Finally I can write for you about my favourite Italian city. When I pronounce this word my heart starts to beat faster and I get excited. In my eyes it’s the most beautiful city in the world and it’s captured deep in my heart. The first time I visited the birthplace of the Renaissance, in 2009, I got so deeply impressed by the history, art and cuisine that I wanted to return over and over again, and soon you will understand why.
But first let me tell you some facts about Florence. It is the capital of the Tuscany region and ex capital of the Kingdom of Italy.
As I wanted to discover the history of the city more and more, I decided to move there during the summertime.
Some of the most famous attractions are the Domed Cathedral (Santa Maria del Fiore), the gorgeous Old Bridge (Ponte Vecchio) where I used to go at the sunset and admire the Arno river.
Piazza della Signoria one of the biggest and most important in Florence and it is named after Palazzo Della Signora, which is now called the Palazzo Vecchio with the replica of Michelangelo’s David standing brilliantly in front.
Just imagine that you can see an open sided gallery of multiples statues, including the Fountain of the Neptune, each represent an historical event. From there you can walk straight to the Uffizi Gallery where you can find the statue of Leonardo da Vinci, and from there you enter the museum.
Some other important sights are Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, Basilica of Santa Croce, Piazza della Repubblica
Each day I spend exploring the streets, I can only feel that the entire old city is a museum. Thanks to the Medici family which commissioned works to Botticelli, Michelangelo and Da Vinci, we are now able to admire all these wonderful buildings, squares, statues and bridges – all of them sculpted with an artist’s eye.Florence is a city, but it’s also a living canvas for some of the greatest artists the world has ever known.
The beautiful presence of everything around you, from the walking streets to the cathedral, is uniquely powerful in a way that modern cities cannot be. That’s why when I come here, I always take the time to sit in a café, drink an espresso and admire the historical masterpieces. I close my eyes and imagine how the Florentines must have walked around the historical center, surrounded by magnificent sights in every direction.
The buildings are very well maintained and the city invests large amounts of money every year to preserve the beauty of these treasures. A magical view over the city greets you if you take a bus or your car up to the Piazzale Michelangelo, a small square which embraces the incredible beauty of this city, giving you an unforgettable panoramic scene.
Of course the city has much more to offer than this, as it is an important Italian fashion city. Gucci, the biggest selling brand in Italy, was founded here in 1921. That’s why it is a must for every real fashion victim that has a little extra time to spend a day in the Gucci Museum located at the Piazza della Signoria.
Emilio Pucci, Roberto Cavalli, Patrizia Pepe and Salvatore Ferragamo are founded in Florence and still have their headquarters there, to name just the most important. The beautiful boutiques of these wonderful designers are located on the Via de’ Tornabuoni. I will never forget when Celine launched the Boston bag, and I had been strolling around the city to find the store and to fall in love with this bag.
Because Florence is an Italian city, I have to mention again about ice-cream. I was not surprised at all to find out that the family which invented the ice cream live in Florence. Their small business is still running and it’s called Gelateria Vivoli, the oldest ice cream shop in Italy. There you can find some original homemade flavors such as rice ice cream, basil ice cream, black sesame ice cream but also delicious homemade pastries. Everyday they have new flavors to try and I truly recommend this place.
Gelateria Grom is another alternative and as I mentioned in my Padua article, they have one of the best pistachio ice cream.
I hope I managed to wake your curiosity to visit Florence, a place I carry so deep in my heart.
Hat from a local market