Thursday, July 24, 2014

Florence In a Day


Italy is one of the best travel destinations in all of Europe, thus having a getaway here is surely an exciting and fun experience. There are plenty of amazing places that you can visit together with your loved ones in this country. People who want an absolutely relaxing getaway will definitely love this country. One of the best places to visit here in Italy is Florence.

Overflowing with history, art and culture, Florence is a city that’s very hard to do justice to in a single day. A visit to the Uffizi museum alone could easily eat a day or two into any itinerary. If you’re fortunate enough to visit Florence for the first time, but unfortunate enough to have only a single day to savour the delights of this city, you will need to ensure that you have a plan. The centre of Florence is pretty compact, so the best way to see it, without missing a thing is by foot. If you don’t have a map or a guidebook and you’re not the type that enjoys aimless wandering, make your first stop of the day one of the tourist offices where you can pick up a free map of Florence.

Starting off in the main Piazza, you’ll easily spot the famous Duomo, with its magnificent terracotta coloured cupola. If you are there early enough to avoid the crowds and feel you can face the 463 steps I’d recommend starting your tour by climbing up into dome for a spectacular view of the city. The Duomo is probably the most distinctive feature of Florence’s skyline and is the result of years of work spanning six centuries. Once you’ve taken in the view, catch your breath with a leisurely stroll around the streets surrounding the Duomo, and then take a walk to the nearby Piazza della Signoria. Here you’ll find a unique outdoor gallery of sculptures, including Neptune’s Fountain and a copy of the famous Statue of David. You’ll also find the Palazzo Vecchio (the Old Palace) here. This was built in the early 14th century and is still used today for its original purpose, as a Town Hall.

The Uffizi Museum
Just beside the Palazzo you’ll find the Uffizi museum, with its unrivalled collection of Renaissance art. Alongside the Uffizi you’ll find the River Arno, with its many bridges. If you take a right turn you’ll arrive at the Ponte Vecchio, the famed bridge that houses a multitude of goldsmiths and jewellery shops, with its medieval workshops overhanging the bridge. Once you’ve crossed the bridge, you’ll arrive in the area called Oltrano, where you’ll find the Palazzo Pitti, a large 16th century palace. The palace was originally home to the Medici family who ruled Florence almost continuously between 1434 and 1743 and it now houses several important museums and galleries.

You may want to finish your day by taking a relaxing stroll in the Boboli gardens, which can be accessed through the Palazzo Pitti. These gardens were laid out in 1550 for the Medici a year after they bought the Palazzo Pitti and were opened to the public in 1766. Many parts of the gardens give stunning vistas over Florence and make a welcome retreat after a day of escorted tours of Italian treasures. If you have the time, it’s worth returning to view the Ponte Vecchio at sunset, followed by a walk along the bridge after dusk, when the lights on the bridge reflect on the River Arno and everything seems almost magical. And of course forĀ vacation rentals Tuscany is just perfect.