The cultural and historical impact of Florence (or Firenze) is overwhelming. Close up, however, the city is one of Italy's most atmospheric and pleasant, retaining a strong resemblance to the small late-medieval centre that contributed so much to the cultural and political development of Europe and the glory of Florence is firmly rooted in its past.
Its striking buildings, formidable galleries and treasure-crammed churches attest to the Florentine love of display. Even long after it had set on the political and economic horizon, Florence upheld its elegant appearance: its skyline, all russet rooftops and lofty domes, is indeed picturesque.
3 Apr 1999 - Florence, ItalyFlorence is another Italian city steeped in history and culture. Not least of this is the Uffizi Gallery. Most of my time on this one day trip was spent here. This gallery is one of the most important artistic collections in the world and holds work dating from the 1200s. They are also in a remarkably good state of preservation and it is an incredible sensation to look at a picture or a sculpture knowing that people living centuries ago also set eyes on the same image.
It is not only the image itself that is so fascinating; pictures also tell us what people held important at the time and many pictures had a strong religious significance. This is hardly surprising when it is also considered that at the same time that these paintings were been made, numerous Crusades were being campaigned across Europe and the Middle East.
The famous Boticelli paintings 'The Birth of Venus' and 'Allegory of Spring' amongst many others are also on display at this gallery.
Florence - Micheleangelo's David
A massive holding tank for tourists - the Piazza della Signoria is the city's most splendid piazza with the similarly splendid Palazzo Vecchio adjacent. Built between 1299 and 1304 and designed to be the most important civic monument in Florence. Outside this are a number of sculptures though these are now reproductions with the originals kept safely indoors. This particular sculpture is a copy of Micheleangelo's David. This was meant to portray an example of an ideal and perfectly proportioned male.
Florence - Micheleangelo's David from the Uffizi Gallery
From an open window in the Uffizi to the statue of David and Piazza della Signoria.