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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Florence 2012

Florence was established by the Roman general and consul, Lucius Cornelius Sulla in 80 BC.

The city did not have a major influence during Roman times but came into its own during medieval and renaissance times.

A centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of the time, Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, and has been called the Athens of the Middle Ages. A turbulent political history includes periods of rule by the powerful Medici family, and numerous religious and republican revolutions. From 1865 to 1870 the city was also the capital of the recently established Kingdom of Italy.
Source: Wikipedia

As in many Italian cities, Florence contains some wonderful squares (piazzas) including Piazza Di Santa Croce and Piazza della Signoria :

Piazza Di Santa Croce

... takes its name from the Basilica of Santa Croce that overlooks the square.

The Basilica is the largest Franciscan church in the world. Its most notable features are its sixteen chapels, many of them decorated with frescoes by Giotto and his pupils, and its tombs and cenotaphs. It is the burial place of some of the most illustrious Italians, such as Michelangelo Buonarroti, Niccolò Machiavelli, Enrico Fermi, Galileo Galilei, Ugo Foscolo, Guglielmo Marconi, Luigi Cherubini, Leon Battista Alberti, Vittorio Alfieri, Gioacchino Rossini, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Lorenzo Bartolini, Pier Antonio Micheli, Bartolomeo Cristofori, Giovanni Gentile, thus it is known also as the Temple of the Italian Glories (Tempio dell'Itale Glorie). Source: Wikipedia



The video finishes with the statue of Dante Alighieri (poet, prose writer, literary theorist, moral philosopher, and political thinker) who was born in Florence though is buried in Ravenna.

Piazza della Signoria



Piazza della Signoria is an L-shaped square surrounded by Palazzos (palaces) ...

... the focal point of the origin and of the history of the Florentine Republic and still maintains its reputation as the political hub of the city.[1] It is the meeting place of Florentines as well as the numerous tourists. Source: Wikipedia.

It also contains many sculptures including a copy of Michaelangelo's David. The photo (at right) is where the original was first located, in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, but it was later moved to the Academy of Fine Arts. Another copy can be seen in the background of this photo.

Other sculptures in the square include Perseus with the Head of Medusa which can be viewed here.


Two of the major landmarks of Florence can be seen in the photograph of the city below. On the left, spanning the river Arno is the Ponte Vecchio. To the right the dome of the cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore, stands clearly on the cities skyline.



Ponte Vecchio

... a Medieval stone closed-spandrel segmental arch bridge over the Arno River, in Florence, Italy, noted for still having shops built along it, as was once common. Butchers initially occupied the shops; the present tenants are jewellers, art dealers and souvenir sellers ... Source: Wikipedia



(Click to enlarge)

Here is a video taken at one end of the bridge. Can you determine which road is the bridge?



San Gimignano

About 60 kms from Florence lies the beautiful hill town of San Gimignano. On our second day in Florence we traveled through the Tuscan countryside ...



... to visit the town.

It sits on a hill which means that its famous towers are clearly visible from a distance.



The towers ...



... were built during medieval times by the rich and powerful families to flaunt their wealth.

We entered the town through the main gate in the city wall ...



... and found the main square ...



... which houses a famous gelato shop ...



... and enjoyed the views over the surrounding countryside ...

... before heading back to Florence for the afternoon.

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For more reference on San Gimignano see links: here , here and here

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Click on this link for my photos of Florence. _________________________________________________

Next stop Pisa and its famous tower

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