Visiting the top sights of Firenze

Florence Travel Blog

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Outside the Duomo, Kodak moment #1 check!

Oh God what a weird hotel! It felt more like a home, a stranger's home? The room was clean, but kind of... a bit too unprofessional looking to be a hotel. During the night, I suddenly ran out of breath and opened the door just to breathe in some fresh air. I woke up around 8a that morning, it was sunny and breezy and a bit chilly. But I did know that I'm going to like it.

I decided against paying 10 Euro at the hotel for b'fast, and instead opted to have it outside somewhere, after all time WAS precious. Grabbed my DK eyewitness city map, and with the weather like this, something told me I won't be needing my jacket or my umbrella. The city, at least the centre seems very easy to navigate. Today was dedicated to just sightseeing around Firenze, and as any first timer would do.

The ceiling
.. start at the centre of the city with the majestic Duomo and its family. These ecclesiastical structures can be found between Piazzas del Duomo and San Giovanni. The Duomo is actually the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore and its red tiled dome has become the trademark of the town. Open any tourist book, buy a postcard, and you'll find it there. Observe it upfront and close enough, you'll know why. This church was built in the late 13th Century and finished somewhere mid 15th, and some last minute touchups continued till the 19th! The thing that struck me the most about this place though wasn't even the dome, it was the symmetric pink-green-white marble/mosaic. It's been so beautifully done I could only GAPE in amazement.
View of the Campanile
But it was about 9a and I wanted to get to the top before the crowds start to come.

The climb to the top of the Duomo was a bit...erm.. tricky! You first stop by to see the painted ceilings, and then continue to the very top. This place was a feast for the photogs. Early morning, bright sunshine, clear skies, trust me...you really couldn't ask for better. I spent about 30 minutes here, took tons of panoramic pictures (I started panicing at one point that my memory card might run out of space), met tons of nice strangers (all yanks), and got down around 10am. Spent some time around this area again, taking pictures. My favourite was the one with the bronze doors. The pictures basically represent scenes from the New Testament: Annunciatnion, Adoration and Christ debating the elders in the temple with all of this story flowing in bronze.

Kodak Moment #2 check...boy I'm on fire!
So many tourists! The travel books weren't kidding!

From here, I walked to a place that one of the guys I met atop the Duomo had recommended - Piazza  Michelangelo. This is another postcard spot, as you can see from the pictures. The very first walk itself, and I could see both the gelato and the pizza stalls selling and promoting like crazy. But this was another spot just crying for pano shots (memory, memory!! I need more gigs), and I walked back around 1130am right in time for my appointment @ the Uffizi Gallery. Before this, I had my first Italian pizza! It wasn't anything spesh though, I'll tell you that.

The Uffizi ticketing system is a bit weird... you first stand in the queue for the prebooked tickets, and then you go to another door for the "pre booked" visitors.

View of the city from the Duomo
  No pictures allowed inside the gallery, not that it stopped me! I don't have much to say about the Uffizi Gallery. A friend of mine had warned (?) me that Italian art is really all about the nudes, and he wasn't kidding. Almost all the highlights-paintings @ the Uffizi were of such sort. I cruised through the paintings in about 2 hours, I was thinking it would last much longer. I don't know if it was the museum fatigue (heaven knows I've seen a bunch in my life) or that, well that's how long it's supposed to take. But what I enjoyed about this gallery were things like the ceilings and the walls.. .very colourful and aptly decorated. I also got a great Frommers' style picture of Ponte Vecchio.

I finished off around 2pm, and headed out for some more pictures around the Duomo area.

View of the city from the Duomo
It's so noisy and crowded and touristy, I loved all of it. I really was beginning to like this place, I'm so glad I chose Italy as a tourist spot. I had my first gelato here. I have to say, it's good but it's really really overrated. I wasn't that sold on it.

From here on, the next spot, and one of my favourites was the Baptistry. My God this is brilliant! Those portraits on the wall, on the ceiling, each telling a different story.  Something that people don't realise about this place is that it has an Islam influence too, what with the tiling on the floor being done in an Islam prayer mat kind of way. From here, the next stop was the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo. This is quite pricey for the stuff that's inside. But I did enjoy seeing the Pieta which was never completed by Michelangelo.

Another shot of the Duomo
Other work was very average.

From here, it was... well back  to the Duomo but this time, to the tall tower - Campanile where I wanted to get more shots of the city as well as the Duomo building itself. Spent about 30 minutes here - more of the same (kind of pictures) but still enjoyed it. I think the weather, and the fact that the whole city was clay tiled made the experience really appealing.

Continued walking along the main touristy area, peeped in to a bunch of churches (but let's be honest, see one and you've seen them all). And I decided that it was time to HEAD OUT of Firenze, onto the very pretty Fiesole.

davegeddis says:
Great blog article!
Posted on: Jul 23, 2011
X_Drive says:
I hate going anywhere that does not allow pictures! :D
Posted on: Jul 24, 2010
travelman727 says:
Great blog, Vikram :-) Your pics bring back many happy memories!
Posted on: Jul 23, 2010
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Outside the Duomo, Kodak moment #1…
Outside the Duomo, Kodak moment #…
The ceiling
The ceiling
View of the Campanile
View of the Campanile
Kodak Moment #2 check...boy Im on…
Kodak Moment #2 check...boy I'm o…
View of the city from the Duomo
View of the city from the Duomo
View of the city from the Duomo
View of the city from the Duomo
Another shot of the Duomo
Another shot of the Duomo
Front facade of the Duomo
Front facade of the Duomo
The Gates of paradise
The Gates of paradise
Random shot of a narrow typical Fl…
Random shot of a narrow typical F…
From Piazza San Michelangelo... Ko…
From Piazza San Michelangelo... K…
From Piazza San Michelangelo
From Piazza San Michelangelo
From Piazza San Michelangelo
From Piazza San Michelangelo
Another random shot of Firenze. Am…
Another random shot of Firenze. A…
Piazza Della Signoria
Piazza Della Signoria
Palazzo Vecchio
Palazzo Vecchio
My first shot of pizza in Italy. W…
My first shot of pizza in Italy. …
My first pizza
My first pizza
Discreet shot of La Primavera @ th…
Discreet shot of La Primavera @ t…
The Uffizi Gallery
The Uffizi Gallery
Rather brilliant shot of Ponte Vec…
Rather brilliant shot of Ponte Ve…
Holy Family (painted 1504 by Miche…
Holy Family (painted 1504 by Mich…
Venus of Urbino, painted by Titian…
Venus of Urbino, painted by Titia…
Piazza Della Republica
Piazza Della Republica
Another shot of the Duomo... shoot…
Another shot of the Duomo... shoo…
Campinale
Campinale
the inner walls of the Baptistry
the inner walls of the Baptistry
Loved this painting...
Loved this painting...
Pieta, housed in the Museo dell…
"Pieta", housed in the Museo dell…
The Italian fascination for ink, a…
The Italian fascination for ink, …
Far off shot of the Baptistry
Far off shot of the Baptistry
Another shot of the Duomo ceiling
Another shot of the Duomo ceiling
The Duomo, taken from the Campinale
The Duomo, taken from the Campinale
The Duomo, taken from the Campinale
The Duomo, taken from the Campinale
Another view of the town from the …
Another view of the town from the…
Duomo
Duomo
San Lorenzo
San Lorenzo
Florence
photo by: monky