The Renaissance town of Florence is seeped in beauty, history and
culture. Look at it from a distance from the hills covered with olive
trees and cypresses where its possible to distinguish the outline
of its monuments and reddish roofs on both sides of the Arno.
A town so rich in works of art its hard to know
where to begin to sightsee. The Gothic Cathedral in front of the
Baptistery of San Giovanni is beautiful. The Palazzo Vecchio in
Piazza della Sigonoria represents Florentine medieval architecture.
The Uffizzi Gallery housing art from the Middle Ages to Renaissance
should not be missed. Beyond the Arno, through Ponte Vecchio to
Palazzo Pitti, Palazzo Strozzi and Palazzo Medici, all well worth
a visit. Santa Maria Novello, Basilica di San Lorenzo, the Medici
Tombs by Michelangelo, Santa Croce – rich in Giotto's frescoes,
are to name but a few more churches that must be seen.
There are three renowned festivals. On Easter
Sunday a dove descends on a wire from the high altar of the cathedral
and ignites a cart full of fireworks to commemorate the First Crusade.
Floats are paraded and crickets are sold in cages and released on
the Sunday after Ascension Day. The ‘Maggio Musicale Fiorentino'
runs from late April to early July and is the major festival of
classical music, opera and ballet.
The hotels work on a graded system, five stars
being the best. Three stars will offer a nice comfortable room with
en-suite bathroom. Florence also has youth hostels as well as ‘albergo
diurno' which are day hostels.
The nightlife is full and varied. Whatever you
are looking for, you will be able to find it. Parking is hard in
Florence, so better wander around on foot or with the help of a