(Sept 14, 2013)
Florence is a city famous for its architectural and artistic heritage. So our 2nd day in Florence was all about exploring the places showcasing the culture of this city.
First up, visiting the Uffizzi Gallery and Accademia museums. The Uffizzi is one of the oldest and most famous art museums in Europe. While Accademia houses various sculptures, the most popular one being Michelangelo’s David.
If like me you don’t care much for art, just skip the Uffizzi gallery and go straight to Accademia to see the David statue. Although you have probably seen heaps of images of this sculpture, it cannot compare to seeing the real thing. What amazed me with this is the actual scale of the sculpture.. It was HUGE!! And to think this was made by hand.. amazing!
No picture taking allowed inside, but a lot of the sculptures here have smaller scale replicas which you can find in Piazza Signoria.(I wonder.. is there a specific reason why a lot of the sculptures they did before was all nudes?)
What I soon discover in my trip around Italy, all cities have their own famous piazzas. In Florence the well known ones is Piazza Signoria (shown above) and Piazza Duomo which is where the Gothic church Santa Maria del Fiori is. The churches I’m used to are just plain white buildings that have a cross sign on it. But here in Italy the church exterior is in itself works of art with the color, patterns and carvings built into it.
The inside is just as amazing to look at.. (thankfully pictures are allowed) Inside the church there’s an option to climb up and get another good vantage point for views of the city. (Get ready the walk was is tiring). That tall tower there is Giotto’s Campanile (bell tower), which you can also enter and climb up for a city view that includes the church.
This still left more than enough time to do some shopping (Florence is said to be well known for quality leather products), and gelato from Vivoli.
Florence can also serve as a good base for daytrips outside of the city. I saw a lot of brochures of day tours to Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa and Cinque Terre. There’s also a bus that can take you to an outlet mall outside of Florence.
I allotted one day in Florence specifically for a daytrip to a place my officemates told me about… Which I will write about separately in my next post.
1. Uffizzi Gallery and Accademia have long queues, so if you have limited time make a booking to reserve a time when you can visit. We did that beforehand and it was a real time saver to just bypass the long queue.
2. Also, get some sort of guide (whether the audio guide or a tour guide) when exploring the museum. We didn’t do that and ended up getting bored after a while just looking at random paintings and sculptures.
3. The sights above were all done within the day and still left us around 2-3 hours to rest before heading off to dinner. I think there are other museums/exhibits that you can go look at. Or if you’re up for it try climbing the Giotto Campanile too for a different view.