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25 Jan 2008

Florence ( Firenze) - Attractions Guide

List of most of the attractions in Florence (Firenze) with quick information:

IF12 City: Florence
Name of Attraction: Baptistry

Details: The Baptistry, Piazza di San Giovanni The Baptistry is the oval?shaped building in front Il Duomo and is best?known for its doors telling the 'Story of Moses'. Dating back to the 12th century, its frescoes and golden mosaics inside will leave you mesmerised.

Open Mon?Sat 12pm to 6.30pm, Sun
admission €3.

IFHH City: Florence
Name of Attraction: Bed & Bed Peterson

Details: Via Guido Monaco 25
Florence 50144, Italy

IF01 City: Florence
Name of Attraction: Cappella Brancacci (Brancacci Chapel)

Details: The area on the other side of the river, known as Oltrarno, was not even a part of Florence until the city walls expanded in the 12th century, to encompass it. Even today, Oltrarno has a character of its own. The slower pace of life is accompanied by less showy buildings and fewer tourists, rewarding the adventurous with a taste of everyday life in Florence. The reason most visitors make the trek across the river, however, is to see the famous Brancacci Chapel, which is situated inside the church of Santa Maria del Carmine. Miraculously salvaged from a fire in the 18th century, the chapel is home to frescoes by Masaccio, his pupil Masolino and Filippino Lippi. Masaccio’s crisp retelling of The Tribute Money, set against the background of Renaissance Florence, is snappily executed with bright colours and comic asides, in sharp contrast to his mournful Expulsion from Paradise. Both the Paradise fresco and Masolino’s Temptation of Adam and Eve were propelled into the public eye in the late 1980s, when they underwent restoration to remove the bogus foliage, added on by prudish Victorians, to cover up the genitalia. Visits to the chapel are restricted to 15 minutes.
Location: Piazza del Carmine
Tel: (055) 238 2195 or 276 8224.
Transport: Bus D.
Opening hours: Mon and Wed-Sat 1000-1700 (reservation required), Sun 1300-1700.
Admission: €4, concessions available.

IF02 City: Florence
Name of Attraction: Cappelle Medicee (Medici Chapels)

Details: The stunning Medici Chapels were built by the powerful Medici family, to serve as their mausoleums and were intended to reflect the immense wealth and influence of this mighty family. The Chapel of the Princes is decorated with semi-precious stones and dotted with works of art, while the New Sacresty was designed by Michelangelo. Entering the chapels is rather like stepping into a large box of jewellery.
Location: Piazza Madonna degli Aldobrandini 6
Tel: (055) 238 8602.
Transport: Bus A.
Opening hours: Tues-Sat 0815-1700, second and fourth Mon of each month 0815-1700, first, third and fifth Sun of each month 0815-1700.
Admission: €6, concessions available.

IF03 City: Florence
Name of Attraction: Galleria degli Uffizi (Uffizi Gallery)

Details: The most important art collection in Italy and one of the richest in the world is usually heralded by the burr of foreign tongues from the queues of tourists that snake across the courtyard. Located in Vasari’s majestic Uffizi Palace, the Uffizi Gallery houses the Medici art collection bequeathed to Florence in 1737, on the condition that it never leaves the city. The impressive résumé of Italian and in particular Florentine art is arranged to illustrate how evolving techniques and ideas influenced the artists. The huge collection is really too big for one to tackle at a single sitting, however, visitors with limited time should ensure they take a peek at rooms seven to 18. These include some of the city’s biggest draws – Botticelli’s mythological masterpieces, The Birth of Venus and Primavera (Spring) and Leonardo Da Vinci’s Annunciation. Early rooms concentrate on medieval art with a particular bent towards the Sienese school, exemplified by Duccio, Martini and Giotto. The latter end of the gallery features work from the Umbrian and Venetian schools, including Titian, Tintoretto and Raphael.
Location: Piazzale degli Uffizi 6
Tel: (055) 238 8651 (294 883 to book tickets in advance) Fax: (055) 238 8699.
www.uffizi.firenze.it or www.polomuseale.firenze.it/uffizi
Transport: Bus 23 or B.
Opening hours: Tues-Sun 08.15-18.35 (last entry 1800).
Admission: €9.50 (plus €3 to reserve in advance), concessions available.

IF04 City: Florence
Name of Attraction: Galleria dell’Accademia (Accademia Gallery)

Details: While Florence offers a panoply of artworks, most people associate the city with just one masterpiece – Michelangelo’s David. The huge statue occupies pride of place in the city’s Accademia Gallery, dwarfing the multitude of chattering tourists who stand in awe before him. The statue was carved from a single block of marble in 1502, when the artist was just 29 years old. Its exaggerated size and musculature is a symbol of the new-born Republic that briefly cast out the Medici – the city’s ‘Goliath’. Also in the gallery are Michelangelo’s unfinished Slaves, which stand captive in blocks of marble, from which their forms seem to struggle to escape.
Location: Via Ricasoli 60
Tel: (055) 238 8612. Fax: (050) 238 8609.
Transport: Bus 1 or 17, or C.
Opening hours: Tues-Sun 0815-1850.
Admission: €6.50 (€9.50 in summer), concessions available.

IF05 City: Florence
Name of Attraction: Museo di San Marco (San Marco Museum)

Details: Rebuilt at the behest of Cosimo de Medici, this Dominican convent was home to Fra Angelico, as well as the fanatical Girolamo Savonarola. The ‘mad monk’ famously preached damnation upon the Florentines and exhorted them to burn their books and paintings on the Bonfire of the Vanities. Savonarola is depicted in a haunting portrait in the Corsini Gallery, himself being burned at the stake in Piazza della Signoria. More important are the works of Fra Angelico, a gentle and devout monk whose luminous frescoes, painted as a focal point for the monks’ meditations, adorn each of the preserved monk’s cells. The deep religious conviction inherent within each fresco is emphasised by the stark simplicity of their setting. At the head of the stairs lies the most powerful of them all, The Annunciation, a striking representation of the young Mary’s fear and astonishment as she learns she is to be the Mother of Christ.
Location: Piazza San Marco 3
Tel: (055) 238 8608. Fax: (055) 238 8704.
Transport: Bus C, 1, 6 or 10.
Opening hours: Tues-Fri 0815-1350, Sat 0815-1850, second and fourth Sun of each month 0815-1900, first, third and fifth Mon of each month 0815-1350.
Admission: €4, concessions available.

IF06 City: Florence
Name of Attraction: Museo Nazionale del Bargello (Bargello National Museum)

Details: The grim façade of the Palazzo del Bargello, formerly the city’s jail and torture chamber, is a daunting introduction to Tuscany’s most impressive collection of Renaissance sculpture. Masterpieces by Cellini, Donatello and Michelangelo are arranged over three floors and overflow into the Palace’s handsome courtyard, where many a Florentine lost his head. Donatello captures the spirit of the early Renaissance best, with his sensual David and his watchful St George, who once graced the façade of Orsanmichele. Cellini’s exquisite bronze statuary outshines the somewhat staid Michelangelo on display, while Giambologna’s Mercury should not be missed. Two bronze panels by Ghiberti and Brunelleschi, depicting the Sacrifice of Isaac, provide a compelling comparison. Both artists entered the panels in a competition to win the commission to cast the north doors of the Baptistery. Both won, although Brunelleschi refused to work in partnership with Ghiberti and instead went on to construct the cathedral dome – a veritable artistic snub.
Location: Via del Proconsolo 4
Tel: (055) 238 8606. Fax: (051) 238 8756.
Transport: Bus 14.
Opening hours: Tues-Fri 0815-1350, last entry 1320, open on the second and fourth Mon of each month and on the first, third and fifth Sun of each month.
Admission: €4, concessions available.

IF07 City: Florence
Name of Attraction: Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square)

Details: Brunelleschi’s gravity-defying dome dominates the Florence skyline and defines the city. The double-skinned dome that sits atop the city’s candy-coloured Duomo (cathedral) was an architectural breakthrough, since Brunelleschi invented an entirely new way of counteracting the weight of the dome, thus building the largest self-supporting dome since classical times. The cathedral (built under the proviso that it be the largest house of worship in Christendom, a feat eventually claimed by St Peter’s Cathedral in Rome) took 150 years to complete. Its original façade was pulled down on the orders of Ferdinand I in 1587. The Duomo remained faceless for nearly 300 years, until 1887. Described by Ruskin as a ‘Chinese puzzle’, the lavish pink, white and green marble frontage belies a cavernous interior that is surprisingly free from decoration. Once inside, most people look heavenward – pausing to admire Giorgio Vasari’s recently restored frescoes in the cupola – before climbing the 463 steps for a spectacular view over the city. Tall, slender and straight-backed, the Campanile (bell tower) is the graceful sidekick to Brunelleschi’s stout Duomo. Built according to Giotto’s designs, in 1334, the Campanile was completed after its creator’s death, by Andrea Pisano and Francesco Talenti. The tower is decorated with two garlands of bas-reliefs, strung around its rose-tinted façade. Higher up, sculptures of the Prophets and Sybils, carved by Donatello, look down upon the city below. The original pieces are now in the Grande Museo dell’Opera del Duomo (Cathedral Museum). Visitors can climb the 414 steps of the Campanile, for the rewarding views over the piazza, which afford a closer inspection of the Duomo and Brunelleschi’s rusty crown, once described by the architect Alberti as ‘large enough to shelter all the people of Tuscany in its shadow.’ The adjacent Baptistery completes the trio. This provided the inspiration for both the Campanile and Duomo façades. Originally believed to be a pagan temple, the octagonal building is the oldest in Florence. It is famous for its gilded bronze doors, particularly those on the east side, dubbed the Gates of Paradise. Executed by Lorenzo Ghiberti (‘with the greatest diligence and the greatest love’) over a period of 27 years, each of the 10 bronze bas-reliefs tells a story from the Old Testament, with astonishing realism and compassion. Nowadays, most are copies, the originals having been moved to the Cathedral Museum for restoration and safekeeping. Ghiberti, the most self-satisfied of artists, preserved his own balding image in the frame of the door, fourth in from the left-hand side.
Location: Piazza del Duomo Duomo (Cathedral) Cupola (Dome) Grande Museo dell’Opera del Duomo (Cathedral Museum) Piazza del Duomo 9 Campanile (Bell Tower) Baptistery Piazza di San Giovanni
Tel: (055) 230 2885.
Transport: Bus 14 or 23.
Opening hours: Mon-Wed and Fri 1000-1700, Thurs 1000-1630, Sat 1000-1645 (1st Sat each month 1000-1530), Sun 1330-1645 (last entry 40 minutes before closing). Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0830-1900, Sat 0830-1740 (first Sat each month 0830-1600) (last entry 40
Admission: Free. Admission: €6, concessions available. Admission: €6, concessions available. Admission: €6, concessions available. Admission: €3, concessions available.

IF13 City: Florence
Name of Attraction: Piazza della Signoria


IF14 City: Florence
Name of Attraction: Piazzale Michelangelo.


IF08 City: Florence
Name of Attraction: Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens

Details: Across the river, in Oltrarno, lies the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens. Built in 1440, for the wealthy Pitti family, this monstrous palace was intended as a challenge to the omnipotent Medici. The architectural snub was short-lived, however, when the family fortunes dwindled and the palace was acquired by their rivals. It is best for visitors to start early in the day, as the palace now houses a number of museums and galleries, including the lavishly decorated State Apartments. Most visitors only make it around the Galleria Palatina, which houses yet more paintings from the Medici collection. Rubens, Titian and Raphael, wrapped in heavy gilt frames, vie for attention amid frescoed ceilings and opulent furnishings. Museums on site are the Galleria d’Arte Moderna (Gallery of Modern Art), Galleria del Costume (Costume Gallery), Museo degli Argenti (Silver Museum) and Museo delle Porcellane (Porcelain Museum). Visitors at saturation point might choose to skip all the galleries and head straight for the Boboli Gardens, a haven of fountains, grottoes and shady walks, populated by local cats and perfect for sun-drenched picnics. The carpet of medieval Florence rolls away beyond the palace – visitors are advised to crack open the Chianti, unwrap the salami and slip back into the Middle Ages.
Location: Piazza Pitti Galleria del Costume Museo degli Argenti Museo delle Porcellane Boboli Gardens Galleria Palatina Galleria d’Arte Moderna
Tel: (055) 238 8615 or (055) 244 883. Tel: (055) 238 8713. Fax: (055) 2388713. Tel: (055) 238 8709 or 8761. Fax: (055) 238 8699. Tel: (055) 238 8605. Fax: (055) 238 8699. Tel: (055) 238 8614. Fax: (055) 238 8613. Tel: (055) 238 8601 or 8616. Fax: (055) 26
costume.pitti@virgilio.it E-mail: costume.pitti@virgilio.it E-mail: gam@polomuseale.firenze.it
Website: www. polomuseale.firenze.it/gam Website:
www.polomuseale.firenze.it/palatina Website: www. polomuseale.firenze.it/gam
Transport: Bus D.
Opening hours: As for separate museum opening hours (see below). Opening hours: Tues-Sat 0815-1350, second and fourth Mon 0815-1350 of each month, first, third and fifth Sun of each month 0815-1350. Opening hours: Tues-Sun 0815-1630 Nov-Feb, closes at 173
Admission: Free, €10.50 (combined pass for all museums), concessions available. Admission: €5 (combined with Galleria d’Arte Moderna), concessions available. Admission: €4 (combined with Museo delle Procellane), €6 in peak season, concessions available. Admission: €4 (combined with Museo degli Argenti), €6 in peak season, concessions available. Admission: €4 (combined ticket with Museo degli Argenti and Museo delle Porcellane), €6 in peak season, concessions available. Admission: €8.50, concessions available. Admission: €5 (combined with Galleria del Costume), concessions available.

IF09 City: Florence
Name of Attraction: Ponte Vecchio (Vecchio Bridge)

Details: Even the dogs of war could not bring themselves to destroy the Ponte Vecchio – the only bridge to survive the Nazi bombing of Florence during World War II. Nowadays, the famous 14th-century bridge is literally paved with gold (home to Florence’s gold and silversmiths) and is a prime shopping trap for the city’s affluent tourists. It was Cosimo de Medici who first created the mood for change, when he ordered the previous occupants (a motley crew of butchers, accustomed to throwing their bloody leftovers into the River Arno) to make room for a more genteel trade. High above the shops, a secret passageway known as the Corrodoio Vasariano links the Uffizi Gallery to the Pitti Palace. Built by Vasari, it was intended to shield the powerful Medici family from the Florentine riffraff, as they journeyed from one palace to the other. Lined with portraits of the city’s greatest artists, the passage reopened to the public in 1997, although opening times are erratic due to staffing problems. Visits can be booked on special request, via the tourist office.
Location: Between Via de ‘Guicciardini and Via Por Santa Maria
Transport: Bus B.
Opening hours: Daily 24 hours, on special request (Corrodoio Vasariano).
Admission: Free (bridge and Corrodoio Vasariano).

IF10 City: Florence
Name of Attraction: Santa Croce

Details: The elegant Franciscan church of Santa Croce has tended to overwhelm the visitor and is held responsible for the little known disease, Stendhal’s Condition. When the French writer, Stendhal, visited the church, he suffered a fainting fit brought on by its beauty and apparently this continues to afflict up to 12 visitors a year. Lord Byron reported himself ‘drunk with Beauty’ at the sight of the church, which is attributed to Arnolfo di Cambio, the architect responsible for the Duomo. Its broad piazza, once the site of jousts, wild animal fights and the burning of heretics, is today home to miniature Davids and plaster cast Virgins, as souvenir stalls ply their trade to visitors weakened by stendhalismo. The big draw inside the Gothic interior is death. Some of Italy’s most gifted men are buried here, including Michelangelo (whose body was smuggled out of Rome in a packing case), Machiavelli, Galileo, Rossini and Ghiberti. Dante’s tomb lies empty – the forefather of Italian literature died in Ravenna and the city refused to return his corpse, in spite of Florentine pleas. A series of colourful chapels, their frescoes commissioned by wealthy bankers, lift the gloom. Those in the Bardi Chapel are considered some of Giotto’s best. Outside, in the tranquil cloisters, stands a Renaissance gem, the Pazzi Chapel, designed by Brunelleschi in 1430. The pure geometric design is an indication of the renewed influence of classicism over Gothic forms.
Location: Piazza Santa Croce
Tel: (055) 244 619 or 246 6105.
Transport: Bus 14 or 23.
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 0930-1730, Sun 1300-1730 (last entry 1700). Opening hours: Tues-Sun 0815-1630 Nov-Feb, closes at 1730 Mar, 1830 Apr, May and Oct, 1930 Jun-Sept, also opens 2nd and 3rd Mon of month, closed first and last Mon of each month Opening ho

IF11 City: Florence
Name of Attraction: Santa Maria Novella

Details: The zebra-striped façade of Santa Maria Novella, completed by Leon Battista Alberti in 1470, is the starting point of many a tour of Florence. Situated near the city’s train station, to which it lends its name, the graceful scrolls, Gothic arches and classical pediments combine to form one of Florence’s most dramatic façades. Alongside Santa Croce, Santa Maria Novella (home to the Dominican order) was the most important church in the city. A fresco cycle by the city’s top social painter, Ghirlandaio, depicting the lives of the Virgin Mary and St John the Baptist, is peopled with Florentine society. But the highlight of the lofty interior is Masaccio’s Trinity (1427), a fresco displaying outstanding use of perspective, which marked a breakthrough in Renaissance painting. Miraculously, the flat wall becomes a recessed vault bearing the crucified figure of Christ. Behind him, deep within Masaccio’s coffered chapel, God demands the viewer to acknowledge his sacrifice.
Location: Piazza Santa Maria Novella
Tel: (055) 215 918 or 282 187.
Transport: Bus A, 36 or 37.
Opening hours: Mon-Thurs and Sat 0930-1700, Fri and Sun 1300-1700.
Admission: €4, concessions available.

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