Florence. City of artists. Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Dante, Machiavelli and more. City of churches, city of its cathedral. THE cathedral. Il Duomo, with the biggest brick dome in the world. Well, from what I’ve heard, technically it’s not a dome. Florence. City of tourists and crowded streets. Or just a museum. When a city has such a huge amount of monuments, it’s not a city anymore, it’s a museum. Btw, how do people live in a city like this? How they’re going for walks, to work, to do shopping, to a restaurant? How do they function in a city which is dominated by monuments and tourists?
10:00am. Crowds in the front of the cathedral. Crowds around the Baptistery of St. John, one of the oldest buildings in the city. Crowds, crowds everywhere. And it was May, so not the highest season. Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral is probably the only church in the area with a free admission, so the line was humongous. Churches are not very fascinating for me (let’s face it, they’re mostly the same), but I’d really like to enter Il Duomo. A huge dome, which was built 100 years after the construction has started, has to be impressive. And Brunełłeschi, who designed it, wasn’t really an architect, but a goldsmith. I like this kind of stories. Unfortunately, I didn’t enter.
So maybe Ponte Vecchio? A bridge known for tiny houses built on both sides, where goldsmiths had their stands. Today Ponte Vecchio is full of jewelry stores and people. It’s even worse than next to the cathedral. And it’s way better to admire the bridge from the distance, when you can actually see how it looks like.
Uffizi Gallery. For additional 4 EUR you can buy a tickets in a presale, somewhere next to the Orsanmichele church and the line will be probably much shorter than in a gallery itself. Probably my opinion about the gallery is a bit controversial. I didn’t really like it. I don’t appreciate medieval paintings, because I don’t consider them as art, rather as a craft. So I was hoping to see painting from Renaissance. What a disappointment: many halls were closed. Great, good to know. At least views from the higher floors of the Gallery were spectacular. But please, clean these windows.
Next stop – Piazza della Signoria. A final confirmation that Florence is not a city, but a museum. One sculputre, another sculpture, more sculptures. A copy of David by Michelangelo, fountain of Neptune, more sculptures. I have to admit, it’s impressive. Finally I don’t have to follow crowds, I can just walk around and stare at everything.
After all this walking it’s time to eat. One of my tips and tricks in every city is to search for restaurants not on a main street, but on smaller ones. In Florence it simply doesn’t work. There’s no food and no gelato anywhere else than on a main street, so I ended up picking my lunch (gelato) next to Il Duomo.
Last but not least, Boboli Garden, almost 11 hectares of a park on a hill. The entrance is in Palazzo Pitti (and in my mind I kept saying Pizzi, for no reason, so I may have a problem), which is in Piazza Pitti, which is just huge… Both palace and square are huge. Gigantic. Just as gigantic as a line for the tickets. But there’s gelato nearby, so I can wait. Pitti Palace was built by a banker, Mr Pitti. As his house. Unfortunately Mr Pitti died and Medici family, his worst enemies, took over the palace and rebuilt it.
Boboli Garden is worth visiting even for the views. Pictures will explain more:
I wouldn’t be myself if I wouldn’t complain. And this time I’m not complaining about the grass, it was cut. But seriously, weeds in the alleys are not necessary.