DUOMO (La Cattedrale di S....
DUOMO (La Cattedrale di S. Maria del Fiore)
Florence's Duomo, or cathedral, completed in 1327, is the fourth largest church in the world, and its domed roof is symbolic of the meeting of Renaissance craft and culture. Engineered by the architect and sculptor Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446), using specially invented machines, the cupola (dome) was one of the greatest achievements of the Italian Renaissance. Its octagonal form has a diameter of 46.5m (153ft) at the base, and was completed in 1436; it is possible to climb to the top of the dome for magnificent views over the city. The vast interior boasts sculptures by Renaissance masters such as Paolo Uccello, Andrea del Castagno, Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari. The Duomo stands on the remains of an older cathedral, which can be seen in the archaeological area revealed beneath the floor. The bronze doors of the battistero (baptistry), the oldest building in Florence, were cast by Lorenzo Ghiberti in the early part of the 15th century and were described by Michelangelo as fit to be the gates to paradise. The nearby campanile (bell tower) is decorated inside with frescoes by Giotto and Donatello, amongst others.
Battistero: Mon-Sat 12:00-19:00, Sun 08:30-14:00.
Campanile: Daily 09:00-19:30.
Cupola: Mon-Fri 08:30-19:00, Sat 08:30-17:40.
Duomo: Mon-Wed and Fri 10:00-17:00, Thurs 10:00-17:30, Sat 10:00-16:45, Sun 13:00-16:45.
Fortezza and Giardino da Basso
Altough it's not possible to visit the Fortress, there is a beautiful garden (giardino) beside it in case you happen to be in that area (the hotel I have in the Hotel section is very close), and you want to relax after a busy day.
From Santa Maria Novella railway station, take Via Nazionale until you reach Piazza della Independenza, then, turn left and after a few meters, you will find the gardens.
Great Leather Coats
Supposedly a storefront to a factory that sells to Saks Fifth Avenue in the States. Owned by Gianni di Valentino and run by Gianni and his cousins Thomas and Samuel. All are young and quite handsome and play on this fact with the ladies. Wonderful leather jackets that feel like butter in the latest fashion colors and styles. $200-$300 US. These jackets are not cheap.
I bring this tip for the buses that link Florence with the Airport and with other cities such as Siena. In this particular case, it's better to go to that city by bus rather than by train.
The Bus station is opposite the train station and a few meters away from one of the Tourism Office in Florence.
For the bus to the Airport:
This is the station where the buses to Siena leave from.
Vegetarian...like you've never tasted!
The best vegetarian restaurant I've been to! After going for all those heavy meals, the delicious gelato..we had to eat lighter for a night! So, to the Il Vegetariano we went. This place was packed! We were 4 people, and so while one of us saved us a spot at one of the wooden tables, the rest headed to the back of the restaurant to get the food! This restaurant is completely self-service. Customers set up their own table (forks, knives, etc.), select their food by choosing from the daily selections which are penned on the wipe board, behind the cash register, pay before you eat...then head to another counter where you are handed your plates!!
The ambience is friendly, and you just feel like you're sitting at home with a bunch of good friends enjoying a delicious and healthy meal! Not to be missed! Although the menu changes constantly...at the time we were there..we had the mouth-watering spicy Tunisian-style couscous with vegetables, a quichelike pizza rustica of ricotta, olives, tomatoes, and mushrooms; or a plate with farro (emmer) and a hot salad of spinach, onions, sprouts, and bean-curd chunks sautéed in soy sauce.
We didn't get to try the desserts..but if they are anything like the food...then YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMY!