We hope that you are enjoying our series of articles and guest articles on Italian tourist attractions, covering the entire country except for its major cities. In a sense we have left the best for last. We will describe what to see in Italy’s great cities neighborhood by neighborhood. You may not realize it, but Florence is divided into 9 districts. And each and every one of these districts boasts its own sightseeing attractions. If you have time, visit them all. In any case, read these articles to help plan your trip to Florence. You may be in for some real surprises.
The Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore (Saint Mary of the Flower) Cathedral and its enormous dome dominate the city of Florence. Work on it started at the end of the Thirteenth Century and lasted well over one hundred years. In fact, the Cathedral façade was only completed in 1887. The dome itself weighs over 35,000 tons and uses 4 million bricks. If you are in good shape, climb the 463 steps to the top of the dome for a great view of the city. But don’t risk your health. The Campanile (Bell Tower) also offers a great city view, and is surely less crowded. The Cathedral hosts great art works including a fresco of the Last Judgment. You may want to visit the crypt beneath the Cathedral, which includes an Eleventh Century cemetery.
The Baptistery of Saint Mary of the Flower is one of Florence’s oldest buildings. Although locals claim that it had been a Roman temple dedicated to Mars, it probably originated in the Fourth or Fifth Centuries. Of course parts of it are more recent, such as the Eleventh Century Romanesque arches. The bronze Renaissance doors are now displayed in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, but you will love the copies. Look closely for depictions of Biblical scenes. The east doors even include a small bust that serves as a self-portrait of the artist, Lorenzo Ghiberti, who spent decades creating these most extraordinary doors. I think he’s entitled to sign his work.
The Museo dell’Opera del Duomo houses superb works taken from the Cathedral, the Baptistery and from the Bell Tower. You’ll find works from Donatello (not the teenage mutant Ninja turtle) and Michelangelo’s Pietà, brought here from the Duomo in 1981. We will certainly be coming back for more sights to see in this magnificent part of this superb city.
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his website www.travelitalytravel.com devoted to Italian travel with an accent on fine Italian wine and food. Visit his central wine website www.theworldwidewine.com with weekly reviews of $10 wine and columns devoted to various aspects of wine including wine and food, humor, trivia, organic and kosher wine and lots more.
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