Florence in one Day (21 December 2007)

1:21 PM

One full day in Florence. That's our plan. After a night of reading up DK Guide's Florence. I got to know a bit more about Florence. Florence was built by one family, the Medici family. Medici family was powerful and influential family in Florence. The family produced three popes and numerous rules of Florence. They built a lot of the attractions now. Art was able to flourish under the Medici Family.

We started off from our hotel which is near to the train station. Our first stop was Basilica San Lorenzo. It was claimed to be one of the oldest church in Florence and it is also the burial place of several important members of the Medici family. Basilica San Lorenzo was the main church in Florence during last time.

Nearby to Basilica San Lorenzo, there is a Piazza San Lorenzo.
It is a market place where a lot of stalls setup to sell their stuffs.
Florence is famous for the leather products. There are a lot of leather belts, shoes, bags on sale here.

Each stalls will showoff their merchandises by hanging from their stalls. They had variety of products and very colourful.

If you love shopping especially leather product, you will love this place. You will expected to do some bargain. Leather belt cost from EUR13 and above.

After Piazza San Lorenzo, we continued our shopping to Mercanto Centrale. Mercanto Centrale is a market. There are stalls selling local produces, like variety of cheese, meats, fishes, wines, herbs, fruits, etc. Mercanto Centrale has been around for many years already.

If you like to buy some local products, you should come to this market.
We bought a few small bottle of Chianti. Chianti is the famous Florence wine. We were quite surprised that the stall was manned by a Japanese lady who able to speak fluent Italian.
We continued our journey to Palazzo Medici Riccardi. It was well known for its stone masonry. After that, we walked along via Cavour towards north to SS Annunziata. It is a Roman Catholic minor Basilica. There is Piazza della SS Annunziata also which you can see Duomo. We didn't go to Accademia which is nearby. Accademia is famous to house the actual David and other sculture and art collections. There is entrance fee.

The next destination is Duomo. Duomo is one of the main attraction in Florence. It is also known as Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore.

Duomo was the pride of Florence. It was believed that people of Florence wanted to build the biggest and grandest church in Italy during that time. They wanted to show the greatness of Florence.
It took more than 100 years to fully complete this building.

Nearby is Giotto's Bell Tower. This tower is about 85 m tall. You can go up the staircase to the top to have a nice view of Florence.
The horizontal lines separated the tower into 5 levels.

Then there is Florence Baptistry or Battistero di San Giovanni (Baptistry of St John) is believed to be the oldest building in Florence. It is famed for its three sets of magnificient bronze doors.
Each door has panel depicting scene from the life of St John the Baptist.

All these three structures are part of the Duomo, which you shouldn't miss.

After lunch we continued to explored around. There is a statue of wild boar (forgot the name of the place). It is made of bronze. But the nose looks like gold due to believers that if you rub the nose, you will come back to Florence again. We were superstitious, so.. hehehe...

Next we went to Palazzo Strozzi. Strozzi was also a rich family. He wanted to fight with the Medici family to be the richest family. Strozzi was once drove out from Florence by the Medici family. But he managed to amaze his richness from outside of Florence. He came back and built Palazzo Strozzi, to be the biggest palazzo in Florence. Before he can finish, he died, and eventually all his money was spent on building the palazzo.

We walked along the river towards Uffizi. Uffizi housed masterpiece by well known artist during Renaissance period.
Along the building, there are many statues of the famous artists, including Donatelo. There were a strong sense of artist in the Uffizi area. There were many artists drawing and selling their arts at the area. There were some using wire to make model, like a motorcycle.

We continued to cross Ponte Vecchio towards Palazzo Pitti in the south of Arno River.
The Palazzo Vecchio was their original residence of the Medici family, before they moved to Palazzo Pitti, as the south of Arno river was less developed then and the air was fresher.
Palazzo Pitti was the palace for the Medici family. When we were there, the building was partially under restoration.
Boboli Garden is at the back of Palazzo Pitti. We didnt visit the Boboli garden, but I do wonder will it similiar to the scale of Versailles.

We had more or less covered what we wanted to cover in Florence. While resting, I browsed my guide book again.
Based on our guide book, we noticed there is a very famous ice cream shop near Santa Croce. It claimed to be the best ice cream in Florence, some said best in the world.

The shop is hiding somewhere in the small street. The address is 7, via isole delle stinche . Simply googled it, you will find their website. But it might take you a while to locate the shop.

They have many choices of ice cream to choose from.
And the price is reasonable. They claimed to use the fresh ingredient to make the ice cream.

The ice-cream was simply superb. We ordered three scoop ice cream. It was the best we tasted so far, better than those in Rome. It was not sweet, but the taste was very fresh. We loved it!!
In fact we saw a couple of Asian tourists in the shop, must be using the same guide book.

We ended our day in, where else, Piazza della Signoria again. The next day, we will leave for the Venice.

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