Where the Renaissance Cradles David
Florence – “Firenze” in Italian - is a city with such a vast history that you’d expect it to be Texas-sized in area when it fact, it’s comfortably compact. The city’s most famous attractions are all within easy walking distance from the centrally located main train station, Santa Maria del Novella, named for the gothic church right across the piazza.
Hungry from your journey? You’re just steps away from fresh Tuscan food. From the piazza, turn left and walk 2 or 3 blocks to check out the Mercato Centrale. Delicate, handmade pastas, handpicked fruits and vegetables and more will have you wishing your hotel room had a kitchen.
A few blocks northeast of the market, in the lively San Marco neighborhood, is the Accademia Gallery, home to the original David by Michelangelo. Nothing, and we mean nothing can prepare you for the omnipotent power this sculpture will have one you. Bring a tissue.
The art and beauty of Florence is around every narrow street and public square. You can’t help by be overpowered by the sheer magnitude. Like when you stumble upon the imposing Duomo by Brunelleschi. Stop and see the details, like the famed gilded doors by Ghirbreti that took over 20 years to complete.
For more gilded treasures, continue to the Ponte Vecchio where centuries-old storefronts glitter with gold. Even when a store is shut, the doors themselves glitter too. With golden trinkets in hand, you’ll need to carry them home in something stylish. Lorenzo Street alongside the Basilica San Lorenzo is home to an outdoor market, where stalls sell soft, sumptuous leather goods. And while you may be tempted to save your money for Ferragamo or Gucci, you’ll definitely get quality leather items here for a fraction of a designer bag.
Continue south from the Basilica towards the Arno River. On the river bank, spanning a couple of city blocks, is the Uffizi Gallery. Known the world over for its works by Leonardo daVinci, Botticelli, Giotto, Correggio, Michelangelo, the building itself is a de Medici marvel. It’s also conveniently located between two of the family’s palaces – the Palazzo Vecchio and the Palazzo Pitti.
As anywhere in Italy, don’t miss sampling the regional dishes, paired with a Tuscan wine at one of the city’s many enotecas. Savor gelato and dolce in between sightseeing. For the evening, pick an elegant restaurant in the Oltrarno area or someplace more lively off the Piazza del Repubblica.
Florence is really center boot To the north, Venice in two hours. Rome? About 90 minutes south, both on Le Frecce. And fashion capital Milan? Just one hour, 45 minutes. For a ride with a slower pace, take the train through the cypress trees of Tuscany. Visit Siena and its beautiful square. Pisa’s Leaning Tower in just an hour. Toward the coastline, the Cinque Terre beckons with rugged, seaside beauty.
This is your renaissance. A chance to travel, eat and live like a local. What could be more bellissima?
Contributed by: Jean, Business Development; “The only way of catching a train I ever discovered is to miss the train before.” G.K. Chesterton