Justly famous for its art and its architecture, Florence still harbours some lesser known gems for the curious traveller.
I live in the northern reaches of Tuscany and although I had always wanted to go there, I had never been to Florence.
I love history and the period covering the Middle Ages and the Renaissance is one of my favourites because it revolves around Italy, and Florence in particular. Patrons like the Medicis and great artists Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raffaello, Botticelli and Masaccio have created masterpieces that are destined to last forever.
My girlfriend is an illustrator and a student of art history and eventually, we made it together to Florence.
The city is wonderful and full of history at every step. Standing in front of Brunelleschi’s dome atop of Florence Cathedral, I felt great pride in being Italian and being able to see with my own eyes that product of human intelligence and ingenuity. Brunelleschi’s dome is the largest masonry dome ever built and is 45m wide at its base.
Visiting all of Florence’s attractions in just one day is an impossible task so we chose to visit only the ones most important to us. First on our list was the Ponte Vecchio bridge spanning the
smooth-flowing Arno river lit by gentle sunlight. The Ponte Vecchio is the main bridge of the city and is instantly recognisable for the shops that are built along its length and that now house jewellers, art dealers and souvenir sellers.
After the Ponte Vecchio we decided to spend some time in Boboli Gardens, the green lungs of the city, where you can see the whole view of the city from above and have a relaxing picnic. Boboli is, I think, a hidden treasure in Florence and should be more widely known as it is truly a parallel world away from the city and a great place to rest and recuperate.
The most important point of our trip, however, was the vision that is Michelangelo’s David at the Academy Museum. To me, that work is the perfect synthesis of art.
I don’t have the words to describe the perfection of that work and the breadth of Michelangelo’s talent. Moreover, this towering statue was made in an era when there were no machines; all the work had to be done by hand. An incredible achievement and proof of the genius of the Italian sculptor.
Florence is also known for the people who live there, they are sunny, energetic and with a distinctive dialect that always brings a smile to your face.
The city has a rich history, to visit it in the right way you need them to spend at least a few days and full-time focus on its exploration. Public transportation is efficient, and each service is delivered in a friendly manner. Florence knows that it is a city that attracts tourists from all over the world and can exploit its potential.
My short trip to Florence left me with a strange feeling. On one hand I was glad I visited, while on the other I was disappointed because I wanted to see more. This desire to return, to discover a new place, a new attraction, another hidden corner of the city, is the spring that has pushed me to write this article and encourage you to visit Florence, a unique experience.
By Marco Frediani
I love comics, horror story, professional wrestling, writing and life in general.