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Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Brief Guide To Florence - Italy

Photograph og Ponte Vecchio at night. Florence...Image via Wikipedia

Author: Matthew Talbot

This opulent city situated on the River Arno is the capital of the province of Florence and the Italian territory of Tuscany. Florence (Firenze in Italian) is significantly known as the "Jewel of the Renaissance", it was the centre of European finance and trade during the medieval time. The historic centre of Florence is one of the most popular destination in Italy for good reason, and was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1982. With a Eurail pass you can experience the diverse culture of Florence. You'll drown in the city's abundance of food, music, art, science, philosophy, fashion and religion.

History Of Florence
Established by Julius Caesar during 59 BC, Florence was then a settlement of Caesar's veteran warriors. Back then it was call "Florentia" and the streets closely resembled an army camp. Florence was also the home of the most notable noble family in history, the Medici, which revolutionized culture and arts. During the Second World War, Germans occupied Florence and was declared as an open city. In 1994, German soldiers bombed the bridges along the Arno River which links the district of Oltrano to the entire city, thus making it hard for British Troops to pass. Fortunately, Charle Steinhuslin, Florence's consulate of 26 countries persuaded the German general that the Ponte Vecchio was too exquisite to be blown away.
Things To Do In Florence
When in Florence, start by climbing the 463 steps of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore which will literally take your breath away because of its magnificent exterior and interesting statues. Then there's the Uffizi Gallery where a collection of Botticelli paintings are on display. Be advised that the lines are long. Visit the Ponte Vecchio, the bridge lined with several shops that sells silver and gold jewelry – a nice souvenir for someone special. Check out the Bargello Museum, where you'll see Michelangelo's early works including the "Bacchus". However, if you want to see Michelangelo's David then pass by the Accademia dell'Arte del Disegno. After that you can visit the tombs in Florence, especially in Santa Croce where the sarcophagi of Machiavelli, Galileo, Ghiberti, Rossini, and Michelangelo are. Drop by the Laurentian Library, its grand staircase was brilliantly designed by Michelangelo himself. There are countless of museums, palazzos, villas and theaters and cinemas in Florence, they are literally overflowing – when you're done visiting the city's sites, don't forget to enjoy a scoop or two of Gelato.
Getting To And Around Florence
There are several modes of transportation in Florence that will take you from one breathtaking spot to another. There are the LI-NEA and ATAF buses. There are also taxis, provided by Taxi Socota and Taxi Radio – just take note that you might not be able to catch a cab in Florence, so it's better if you call. Then there is the central station of Florence called the Firenze Santa Maria Novela which is near Florence's countless tourist spots. With a Eurail Pass you can travel to Florence via the Italian Railways - Trenitalia.
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