Italy, Florence – The Cradle of Renaissance I
Last week we introduced you the Renaissance town of Siena and mentioned Florence was its great competitor. To make a better idea of Florence (or Firenze if you will), we together hit its streets today.
It is nto easy to tell where to start in this city full of interesting places. We talk about David by Michelangelo, which is the most famous statue in the world, Ponte Vecchio Bridge crossing the Arno river or Satna Maria del Fiore cathedral.
Florence began to flourish under the rule of the Medici family. Then it was a political as well as economic and cultural power. Famous artists such as Michelangelo, Botticelli or Leonardo da Vinci lived and worked here. However, touring the city is not only history. Local night life is attractive too. There are great restaruants and vibrant culral life.
So, where to start? What about at the statue of David. Michelangelo (by full name Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni) created it between the years 1501 and 1504. His posture is unlike other Renaissance statues of David depicting him after the battle with Goliath. Michelangelo shows David before the clash. He holds a stone in his left hand. His right hand resting on the shoulder holds a slingshot. The statue is 5,7 m tall and stands on a 2,5 meter piedestal. For a long time, it was placed on Piazza della Signoria. In the second half of the 19th century it would be removed and placed to Galleria dell'Accademia di Firenze.
Galleria dell'Accademia di Firenze is the second most visited art museum in Italy. There is much more than the statue of David on display. You may see other statues by Michelangelo, or paintings by famous Florentine artists of the 14th to 17th century (Paolo Uccello or Sandro Botticelli). The museum also displays a large collection on Orthodox icons collected by the Grand Dukes of the House of Lorraine.
After the statue of David, we move to St John's Baptistery (Battistero di San Giovanni), an octagonal 12th century strucutre. Its facade is made of marble, inside there are beautiful mosaics. The door is especially amazing with its bronze panels made by Lorenzo Ghilberti a prominent 15th century Florentine sculptor. Many members of the House of Medici were baptised here as well as the famous poet Dante Alighieri, the creator of the most important medieval poem of the Divine Comedy.
Next Friday we make another walk in Florence.
GPS: 43°46'37.0"N 11°15'30.2"E
Text: Maxim Kucer
Photos: Wikipedia.org: Lucarelli, Ricardo Andre Frantz, Ricardo Andre Frantz (2), Sailko, David Gaya, Giorgio Galeotti
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The most famous Italian city of Emilia-Romagna region, the name of which we associate with the delicious tastes of ham or cheese. This town will offer you not only gastronomic experiences. Before we taste the delicacies of this area, we will bite into exploring the rich history and monuments of Parma.
The romantic town of Montepulciano has saved its medieval looks, great pleasure for anyone who loves history. However, it is not known for history only for it is great producer of pork, cheese, honey, and mostly wine. Nobile di Montepulciano Wine is considered the best what Italy offers.
Today, we take you to one of the oldest towns in Italy. Its history dates back to the mysterious Etruscan civilization. Later it would became a Roman colony and it would get under Florintian rule, as many other towns in Tuscany. Piazza della Republica is the heart of the town with its opulent Palazzo del Popolo and Palazzo Comunale.
90 kilometers westwards from Florence there is the city of Livorno. Home to 160 thousand is an interesting place to spend a vacation at.
Lucca is a town of many lords in the past – be it Romans, Ostrogoths, Lombardians, Franks, or once powerful Florence, or Napoleon who made the town a gift to his sister.
Setting out from the birthplace of the famous music composer Giuseppe Verdi - Le Roncole - we go to the town Busseto, mere kilometers away. It played an important role not only in the musical but also personal life of the famous composer.
We haven't left Busseto yet. We moved from its center to the outskirts of the city and to Sant'Agata three miles away. There is a farmhouse where fill the missing pieces of our knowledge of Verdi's life.
Tuscany is magical land and is home to many amazing cities worth visiting.
Do you like parma ham and parmesan cheese? Now you know that these two delicacies were born in the city of Parma. The nearly two-thousand-year-old town lies between the Apennines and the Padoa plain and is the capital of the north-Italian region of Emilia Romagna.
You will recognize Volterra right away because it looks over the surrounding hills. In good weather, you can even see the distant island of Corsica.
The Basilica of San Lorenzo in Florence is one of the most remarkable works of Western architecture. It also includes the New Baptism, the Old Communion, the Princely Chapel and the Medici Library. In addition to their architectural importance, these buildings also contain outstanding artistic treasures.
All of you must have heard about Francis of Assisi. The monk famous for his austere lifestyle founded the Minor Order known as the Franciscans which follows his strict rule of life in community and poverty. The saint's tomb is situated in this very town, the town of Assisi.
Arezzo is located mere 80 kilometers south of Florence. Yet this one is a destination often overlooked by tourists.
Last time we mentioned that Ravenna is the city of mosaics. Nowhere else in the world are there so many mosaics except for in Istanbul. Also, we mentioned that music festivals take place here.
Ravenna is one of the most historic cities in Italy. Between the years 402 and 476 it was the capital of the Western Roman Empire. Today, it is home to almost 160 thousand people. Every year a summer opera and classical music festival takes place here.
We return to Florence, Italy, to see other interesting places.
Siena is situated in central Tuscany, the cradle of Reneissance. Its people are often considered a nation within a nation.
In the first part on Pisa, we saw three main sights situated one next to another. This time we are not going far either.
In the antiquity, Pisa was an important Roman port. However, the Arno River has silted up since. Now, there is a 10 kilometer gap between the city and the sea. It is very likely that you know Pisa as the home of the leaning tower. However, it is possible that you don't know that Campo Santo cemetary or local cathedral are other major sights around here.
Cinque Terre is national park and listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You will fall in love with this Italian region. There are not monumental landmarks of antiquity or Middle-Ages as you may see in Rome, Bologna or Pisa. Yet still local atmosphere is splendid. Cinque Terre is an area consisting of five beautiful towns (Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso al Mare). Not long ago (in the 1960s), tourists almost didn't know about them. Even if they did, it would be very difficult to reach them, i.e. only by boat. Today, you may travel there by car but don't expect your ride to be an easy one.
Today we take another look at the beautiful city of Bologna.
Tourists often consider Bologna to be the most attractive city in Italia. One of the reasons for that is local great food which reached international fame. But before we get to it, let's take a look around.
The last day in Rome was the perfect day for a trip off the city. We visited two different places. After Villa d‘Este we decided to set off to Frascati. There is Villa Aldobrandini. Frascati is situated 20 kilometers southeast of Rome. A train departs from roma Termini to here regularly. The ride takes half an hour. But bear in mind that the train departs from a pretty remote platform. So don't go to the train station at the last minute.
We were about to stay five days in Rome. So we intended to make some trips around Rome. We received some advice at the visitor's center which led us to visit the town of Cerveteri. The town is situated in the Lazio region about 40 kilometers from Rome. It takes us about an hour by train to reach Marina di Cerveteri station (the train departs several times every day from Roma Termini station). Then you need to reach a bus stop (100 from the train station). A free of charge minibus departs from here to the historic center of Cerveteri (to Piazza Aldo Moro). The ride takes about 20 minutes.
We decided to leave Rome on Sunday for Tivoli, a town about 40 kilometers away. Formerly, this was a place where Rome's rich went to recreate because they had their summer residence there. Today, tourists are most intrigued to visit the magnificent Renaissance villa – Villa d'Este.
Join us in our visit to the heart of Italy and enjoy all its amazing architectonic pieces. Unfort...