Uffizi Gallery was begun by Giorgio Vasari in 1560 for Cosimo I de'Medici as the offices for the Florentine magistrates. The cortile (internal ourtyard) is long and narrow and open to the Arno River at irs far end through a Doric screen that articulates the space wthout blocking it.
The Gallery collection contains works of the world most prominent artists, such as: Leonardo, Giotto, Botticelli, Titian, Michelangelo, Raphael, Cimabue, Duccio, Caravaggio, ....and many more.
Giotto di Bondone (1266-1337), better known as Giotto was an painter and and architect from Florence. He is generally considered the first in a line of great artists who contributed to the Italian Renaissance.
Niccola Pisano (1220-1284), was an Italian sculptor whose work is noted for its classical Roman sculptural style. He is considered to the the founder of modern sculpture.
"Golden view" is famous piano bar situated in Via Dei Bardi, Oltrarno, just a few metres from Ponte Vecchio. Besides fine espresso and sorted wines it offers fine snacks based on a seafood. This on the picture is window shop of the "Golden view's" kitchen, which overlooking Via Dei Bardi. I just couldn't resist not to take this picture when passing by.
Yeah, visiting places like Florenece probably is dream of every traveller or tourist and one of world's a must see destinations. But then the question is are we tourists and visitors welcomed by the locals, especially in a pick of a season months when streets of Florence are overcrowded by those who aren't always neccessarily polite?
Do we take into the consideration fact that some locals must work in their offices while in front of it stands group of tourists who are listening strident yelling of their tourist guide? Are we tourists always sensitive regarding mothers who walking their babies? And finaly, wheter would be very happy if the relatively small amount of space we have to share with many visitors?
Benvenuto Cellini, born in Florence (1500-1571), was goldsmith, sculptor, painter, musician and soldier. He was one of the most important atrists of Mennerism. Apart from being the most significant goldsmith of his time, Cellini was also great sculptor who's work "Perseus with the Head of Medusa" can be seen in Loggia dei Lanzi.
Cellini was perhaps best known for his personal bravery and roughneck behaviour. He had significant role in the defense of Pope, in the attack upon Rome by Charles III, Duke of Bourbon. Cellini himself shot and injured Philibert, Prince of Orange and allegedly Charles III. Later on Cellini had many affrays in which he killed several people, but fact that was protected by the Popes have saved his life.
When you are planning your trip and looking for tickets, it can be rather confusing to know which are the reputable ticket dealers and which are the ones to stay away from. Some ticket agents seem to charge hefty prices and claim to help you avoid the lines. However, I prefer to use the official ticket site for whatever city I am visiting. For Florence, this is found online at www.FirenzeMusei.it. Purchasing online from the official site for the museums gives me a feeling of confidence should there be a problem when I arrive. At least I know where to find the museum for help – I’m not sure if the unofficial online ticket agent will be nearby to help out if there is a problem.
In the busy tourist season, it is a good idea to get your tickets in advance to avoid the long lines at the ticket windows. Of course, this means that you have decide your itinerary in advance; those who are of a more spontaneous nature may not like this plan. For those like me who like to have all the details lined up in advance, online ticket purchases are perfect!
The first museum of our class was full of sculptures by artists such as Michelangelo, Donatello, and Ghiberti - the Bargello.
The Firenze card is an attempt to make it easy for visitors to Florence to purchase one card and gain access to multiple museums. The primary benefit in crowded tourist season is that you may bypass the long lines and enter the museum through a special entrance.
However, in my opinion, many of these cards do not save you any money and may wind up costing you money. For example, the Firenze card is €50 and covers nearly 50 museums in Florence. However, you only have 72 hours from the time you enter the first museum to use it. Therefore, in order to make it pay for itself, you really have to rush to get to as many museums as possible in the allotted time. A quick adding of the museums we covered in our week long class that are covered by the Firenze card did not come close to covering the price of the card. However, there are numerous museums we did not enter that may be of interest to other travelers.
Below are the museums covered by the Firenze card (per the Firenze Card website Jul 2012):
Museo di Palazzo Vecchio
Museo Stefano Bardini
Palazzo Medici Riccardi
Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi
Museo Marino Marini
Museo Nazionale Alinari della Fotografia
Museo di Santa Maria Novella
Fondazione Salvatore Romano
Galleria degli Uffizi
Galleria Palatina e Appartamenti Monumentali
Galleria d'arte moderna
Museo Giardino di Boboli
Museo degli Argenti
Museo delle Porcellane
Galleria del Costume
Museo Archeologico Nazionale
Museo dell'Opificio delle Pietre Dure
Museo di Palazzo Davanzati
Museo di San Marco
Museo Nazionale del Bargello
Cenacolo Andrea del Sarto
Cenacolo del Ghirlandaio
Cenacolo del Fuligno
Cenacolo di Sant'Apollonia
Chiostro dello Scalzo
Complesso Monumentale Orsanmichele
Villa Medicea di Cerreto Guidi e Museo storico della caccia e del territorio
Villa Medicea della Petraia
Giardino della Villa Medicea di Castello
Museo di Casa Martelli
Collezione Contini Bonacossi
Villa Medicea di Poggio a Caiano
Villa Corsini a Castello
Sinagoga e Museo Ebraico
Museo e Istituto Fiorentino di Preistoria Paolo Graziosi
Museo del Bigallo
Museo di Storia Naturale, Sezione di Mineralogia e Litologia
Museo Bandini di Fiesole
Area e Museo Civico Archeologico di Fiesole
Museo di Storia Naturale, Sezione di Antropologia ed Etnologia
Museo di Storia Naturale, Sezione di Geologia e Paleontologia
Museo di Storia Naturale, Sezione di Zoologia La Specola
Museo di Storia Naturale, Orto Botanico
Fondazione Scienza e Tecnica
You can also check out Florence’s official museum website for prices, admission times, and other details to help you determine if the Firenze Card is for you or not.
The Firenze card isn’t for everyone and, if you are only wanting to see a few things, especially in the summer when crowds are at their largest, consider purchasing your tickets online in advance.
There is lots of fine art in Florence – in museums, in churches, in other buildings, outside. And there are lots of people that want to take pictures of this art.
Many places will permit you to take photos but without a flash. And that is with good reason – over time the constant flashes will damage the paintings. It would be the same as keeping the lights on it – over time, damage occurs. And we want these wonderful pieces of art to remain as is so future generations can enjoy them. And even if flash is allowed, if you don’t need to use it, then try to get along without it – think of it as prolonging the life of the artwork.
However, a number of places do not permit photography or videos of any kind – not cameras, not cell phone cameras, nothing, nada, zero. Please adhere to these restrictions. Many of the more well attended tourist attractions have guards that look for cameras – and they do not hesitate to call you out. I personally watched several people in our group have these guards come right up to them and get in their faces about taking photos.
Most places have a sign at the entrance that lets you know if photography is allowed, permitted without flash, or prohibited. If in doubt, ask.
Some of the places that do not permit photography at all:
Santa Maria Novella Church (okay in the cloisters)
Chapel of the Magi in the Medici Palace (the rest of the palace is allowed without flash)
San Lorenzo Church
Orsanmichele Church (although it was okay in the upstairs)
San Marco Museum (cloisters are okay)
Palazzo Pitti (outside in the courtyard and the gardens are okay)
Photography is allowed without a flash in:
Laurentian Library reading room and vestibule
Santa Croce Church and Museum
Photography with flash allowed:
most places outside
climbing up the dome of the Cathedral
Be mindful of other people in your photos – not everyone likes their picture taken. And try to take your photo quickly so you do not disturb others. Most places do not allow tripods, so you may not want to even bring one with you.
If you can’t take photos in the place you are in, just relax and enjoy the reason you came – to see the beautiful artwork and architecture in Florence!
I had planned ahead for specific photos, but I also planned ahead for a number of other things on my trip to Florence. Researching in advance and coming prepared with books, maps, and audio guides goes a long way to making your visit to Florence less hectic.
As I planned my trip to Florence, I was hoping to get some good photos from various vantage points in the city. The weather, although wintertime, cooperated with me and we didn’t experience rainy days, although we did have some clouds so my photos didn’t always have the blue skies and fluffy white clouds in the background that I like so much. But the sun was bright when it was out and that usually worked to my advantage. Timing being everything with the sun, there were some things I just couldn’t control in order to have the sun at the right angle for my photos since I was following a preset agenda for the university course. Fortunately, there are so many great places to get photos in Florence, no matter where you are in the city you have opportunities for good photos.
Some of my favorite places for photos:
~ At the top of the Duomo. Okay, it meant climbing up the steps to the top of the dome, but it was worth it! We went around noon so the sun would be high in the sky, allowing me to take photos pretty much all the way around the top of the dome, both of the city and the surrounding countryside.
~From the Piazzale Michelangelo or San Miniato al Monte. Both are on the hill on the opposite side of the Arno River from the Duomo. This is THE place to get the city photos of Florence with the Duomo in the center. We were there in the later afternoon and the sun was perfect. After our tour of San Miniato, the sun had set so we were able to get the same photos with a night sky and the city lights on.
~The third floor of Orsanmichele can give you some interesting photos of the Duomo – you are almost level with the Duomo from this vantage point. The downside is that you have to shoot from inside a window and the museum is only open on Monday afternoons.
~For great photos of the Ponte Vecchio, head to the next bridge over, Ponte Santa Trinita. Day or night, the photos are beautiful from this location. I especially enjoyed the night photos with the reflection of the colored lights from the bridge in the river.
Of course, great photos are all around; just look around you and you’ll see photo opportunities. The secret is to enjoy taking the photos and to have some incredible visual reminders to go with the amazing memories you create while in Florence.
While we are on the subject of taking photos, let’s go over some tips for taking photos in the churches and museums.
As the sign in the picture clearly states. If you want your ice cream and a seat be prepared to spend 4 Euros more per ice cream for the privilege of using one of the tables. Maybe you want a table to rest your weary feet or maybe to do some extended people watching. Whatever your reason you will pay extra.
This held true for a number of different places we saw through Italy, so if in doubt if it will cost you to sit at a table, look around for a friendly sign or if you do not see one just ask!
Get used to the grafittis on the walls, on business establishments, on apartment buildings, on the streets...These grafittis are all over Florence. Sometimes these grafittis don't make sense, no meanings. I guess some bored Italian took a large pentel pen or spray paint and write on the wall to make a statement that has no sense.
To clean this up is expensive and labor-wise, takes a lot of time.
Since I grew up in Asia, I had a culture of bargaining and haggling products that I buy. I don't usually pay what the seller tells me. I firmly negotiate the price and most of the time, I get the discount. Everywhere I travel, I get the negotiated price!
When I was in Florence, I bought gifts (mini-jewelry boxes), scarves, leather book covers, coin purses at discounted prices. When fellow travellers asked me how much I paid for them, they were surprised that I bought my gift items 40 percent lower than what they paid for the same item.
"Italian" sellers in Florence night markets don't give discounts as much as those immigrants sellers. "Italian sellers" are not usually into haggling! One got mad at me when I tried to haggle a leather book cover 50 percent of the retail value.
Most of the sellers at the night market in Florence are from Africa. I liked "negotiating" with them because they were very friendly. And, they were used to it, too.
Also, one of the tip is that make sure to compare prices first before you lock in the negotiated price that you wanted to pay. Also, compliment the seller (I can detect immediately if he is the owner of the stall/store or not. If he is willing to negotiate, he is the owner. If not, I leave and go to another store).
One can be confused with different names this palace have; Palazzo Pazzi, Palazzo Congiura or Palazzo mai finito - (Palace Pazzi, the Palace of Conspiacy, the Palace never complited).
Pazzi family were bankers with the support from Pope Sixtus IV and King of Neaples, and held important position in the Renaissance Florence but it wasn't good enough, they wanted much more. They aim was to seize political and economic power from the Medici. In this palace the conspiracy against the Medici's was hatched and planned in 1478; Giuliani de Medici was killed while Lorenzo il magnifico managed to escape. After conspiracy failed the retribution was brutal; public execution of most conspirators, all Pazzi property was confiscated and the Pazzi name destroyed. De' Medici become even stronger then before.
The palace was built by the architect Giuliano da Maiano, designed in the style of Brunelleschi.
Originally it was home of the Guelph family Ruggerini who had to abandoned it in 1260, after the battle at Montaperti. It was built almost as the fortress but then reconstructed at the end of the 13th century by family Gianfigliazzi, who were the owners of the palace until 1764.
From the beginnings of the 18th century the palace was used as Accademia dei Nobili, hospiting many famous people, such as Alessandro Manzoni, Vittorio Alfieri and the king Loiuis Buonaparte.
Nowadays the palace is used as a hotel.
Palazzo Bartolini Salimbeni was the first palace in Florence built according to the Roman Renaissance style. It was designed and built by the architect Baccio d'Agnolo, from 1520-1523 and he was paid two florins per day. The new style caused much criticism to the architect d'Agnolo, leading him to add the Latin inscription "Carpere promptius quam imitari" (critisizing is easier than imitating). The windows have another inscription in Italian saying "per non dormire" (in order not to sleep), which was the motto of the Salimbeni family. It is reference to the members of Salimbeni family habit to postpone sleeping to affairs.
The palace Spini Ferroni, built from 1289 for the rich cloth merchant and banker Geri Spini, was the largest private-owned palace in Florence. The design of the building has been attributed to Arnolfo di Cambio.
Later on the palace was divided between the two branches of the Spini and the section facing the square of Santa Trinita was sold in 17th century to marquis Ferroni. After a period as a hotel, in 1846 the comune of Florence bought it and was used for offices during the period when Florence was capital of Italy, from 1865-1871.
In 1930 the palace was bought by Salvatore Ferragamo, the famous shoe designer, and from 1995 its second floor houses the museum founded by Ferragamo.