Thursday, 2 November 2017

Travel - Florence photo diary

The birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, Florence can boast a wealth of artistic masterpieces including Michelangelo’s "David" and Botticelli’s "The Birth of Venus". Despite it's long and intriguing history and beautiful buildings I just didn't fall in love with Florence during my visit which probably explains why it has taken me so long to write about my trip way back in April. Don't get me wrong, I loved certain aspects of the city but it isn't a place I long to return to. 

Maybe I'm getting a bit grumpy in my old age but I much prefer holidays to remote locations or towns with a more relaxed feel - I loved my trip to Lucca the day after we visited Florence as it was far less busy and I felt like I could take my time to explore and go at my own pace without a crowd of tourists swarming around me.

I would like to be a bit more positive and say that I am glad I visited the city as I was able to view some spectaular architecture and art - it is a very visually exiting city. 

exterior photo of Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore with layers of coloured marble

Florence has a history dating back to Roman times. It was founded by Julius Caesar in 59 BC, was dominated by the powerful Medici family and famous Florentines include Galileo and Michelangelo.

The iconic sight in Florence is unmissable - the Il Duomo di Firenze or Santa Maria del Fiore can be viewed from most parts of the city. It is free to visit but expect a queue as the cathedral complex is part of the UNESCO World Hertiage site in Florence. The basilica is one of Italy's largest churches and has the largest brick dome ever constructed. The marble fa├žade is stunning and similar in style to churches throughout Tuscany including those I visited in Lucca and Pisa. 



The Ponte Vecchio, or Old Bridge is also and iconic sight and was the only bridge across the Arno in Florence until 1218. During World War II the Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge across the Arno that the Germans did not destroy when fleeing the city.

Pontivecchio Bridge in Florence


In a bid to keep costs of our day excursion to Florence low I planned the trip to coincide with 'Sunday at the Museum'. In Italy you can take advantage of free entry to state museums on the first Sunday of each month. Entrance to the Uffizi is 12 euros in low season and 20 euros in high season - a considerable saving was made by visiting on a Sunday which meant more in the kitty for Aperol spritz.
The Uffizi is the most visited museum in Italy and has one of the world’s most impressive collections of Italian Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces including The Birth of Venus. The building hosts up to 10,000 guests each day and was originally designed to be a workplace for the Medici family. The unusual U shaped building houses paintings and sculptures by Leonardo da Vinci, Giotto, Caravaggio and Michelangelo. Not only is the art breathtaking but the building is lavishly decorated too - a real feast for the eyes. 

Uffizi Gallery Museum of Florence, Italy


Uffizi Gallery Museum of Florence, Italy[




Sandro Botticelli's masterpiece, the Primavera

I totally hogged the space in front of this painting for at least 15 minutes - I loved the detail on Flora's gown. If you are short on time during your visit I recommend heading straight for the top floor as that's where the most precious collections are kept and you can then make your way through the rest of the museum if you have time at the end. My two hour stroll around the Uffizi made the trip to Florence worthwhile. 



Overall I enjoyed my day out in Florence but the crowds of people were completely overwhelming for me. If I ever return I think I'll venture out of the city centre or to quieter places of interest like the Pitti Palace and gardens.

Are there any European cities that you found underwhelming? (or overhwmeling in my case)
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Gemma
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12 comments:

  1. I love Italy! But yes, it does get rather busy and crowded at the popular sites. Photos look amazing though x

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  2. I love Florence, such a shame that you didn't so much. Perhaps if you had more time you would have discovered some of the other sights which are off the beaten track.

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  3. I can totally understand the overwhelming crowds of people, but i'm glad you were still able to enjoy the beauty that is Florence. your pictures look great!

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  4. Some of my family members have just come back from Italy and they mentioned how crowded and busy it can be, so I completely get you. But Florence does look like a beautiful place x

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  5. I struggle with crowded places too, I love these photos you’ve taken. I am glad you had a lovely time, despite it being super busy x

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  6. Such gorgeous photos - Florence is beautiful isn't it? I completely understand the crowd thing though, it can be totally overwhelming

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  7. I liked Florence but, like you, preferred Lucca, and Volterra was gorgeous too. I found Monaco a HUGE disappointment - shallow, snobby and obscenely priced. I'd dreamed of travelling their my entire life, but the people were so miserable and unfriendly. Big waste of time and money! x

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  8. Wow those buildings are stunning. I would love to visit one day x

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  9. What an amazing place. It's on my list to visit - thanks for the warning about the crowds though.

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  10. Looks like you had an awesome day there and I love all these photos I love to read more about this place and to have an information about their culture and History

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  11. Florence looks absolutely amazing! I definitely want to go next year but maybe outside of main tourist season (I'm not great with crowds).
    C x
    CurvyGirlThin.com

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  12. Florence is one of my favourites, love all the pictures you have taken especially of ponte vecchio!

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