A Day in Florence | September 2013

I had a work meeting in Lerici, Italy, and given the many interesting places nearby, I decided to fly out early and spend a day in Florence. Landed in Pisa late on Friday night (around 10pm) and caught the train to Florence. Got into the hotel around 12:30am. Spent all of Saturday exploring the city and caught the Sunday morning train back to Pisa to meet up with colleagues. Despite the short time, I loved Florence for the beautiful art and architecture.

My first stop was the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. I did not go inside the cathedral, but there was enough to admire from the outside.

The church is squeezed in among the buildings — almost difficult to take in the whole grand scale
The intricate details are worth studying for hours
Front entrance

Instead of going inside the cathedral, I opted for climbing the adjacent tower, Giotto’s campanile, figuring that it would offer better views of the duomo itself. The hundreds of steps up the tower were worth it because the views were fantastic.

Halfway up
The view from the top afforded a great angle on the basilica’s dome

Florence is filled with numerous statues all over the city. Especially impressive was the collection in Piazza della Signoria; I could have spent days studying them all.

Florentine statues
Statue at Piazza della Signoria
Statue detail, Piazza della Signoria

Ponte Vecchio is one of the main tourist attractions, but frankly, I failed to see why. Yes, I understand the history, but it’s just a bridge with jewelry shops and street performers, packed with tourists.

Ponte Vecchio

I made my way up to Piazzale Michelangelo to scout out my vantage point for sunset. It provided a great viewpoint for the whole city.

The cathedral
From the piazza, I spied this garden

A quick internet search (thanks to smartphones) showed that it was Giardino Bardini. I spent some time in the quiet solitude of the garden.

Giardino Bardini

After a little break, I returned to Piazzale Michelangelo for sunset. I waited my turn amongst the crowd to get a good spot and parked myself there.

Sunset over Florence
Spectacular blue hour over Florence
Things got even better as the lights came on

I spent the rest of the evening walking around randomly.

Column of Justice
Piazza della Signoria
Palazzo Vecchio

There is much of Florence that I did not see due to my limited time, e.g. the Uffizi, Boboli Gardens, and more. But what I did see was gorgeous, and definitely worth another longer visit someday.

 

 

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