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By Maria Reverberi

Florence's grandiose culture, art and warm heart will beckon you

Home to the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Uffizi Gallery, Medici Chapels, and the Accademia Gallery, Florence transports you back to a time when the Medici Family ruled the city and commissioned the works of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Botticelli. It is no wonder that groups of tourists flock to Florence’s historic center each year.

Accademia Gallery

The Accademia Gallery will enchant you with Michelangelo’s David standing under a spectacular skylight that beautifully illuminates his piercing eyes, pulsing veins, and spectacular masculine torso. As you peruse the sculpture, you’ll be amazed by its primal and proportional anatomical design.

Hall of Prisoners

Adjacent to David’s skylight, you’ll stroll down the Hall of Prisoners where you’ll come face to face with Michelangelo’s life-size marble statues of Slaves, Prisoners, and Captives. Commissioned by Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Michelangelo’s four Prisoners where carved to be placed in the lower level pillars of the Basilica’s tomb. According to the Accademia, Michelangelo’s ‘Prisoners’ “were to be an allegory of the Soul imprisoned in the Flesh, slave to human weakness”.

Medici Chapels

Continuing in the spirit of Michelangelo, the Medici Chapels house Michelangelo’s New Sacristy where the Dukes Lorenzo and Giuliano Medici were laid to rest. The Chapels are adorned with marble statues of both dukes, the Dawn and Dusk allegories, Night and Day, and the Madonna and Child sitting above a sarcophagus. You’ll revel in the figure of Night, which has been revered as one of Michelangelo’s most flourishing masterpieces.

Uffizi Gallery

The Uffizi, on the other hand, will captivate you by the Gothic collections of Giotto, Cimabue, and Renaissance masterpieces by Piero della Francesca and Sandro Botticelli. The vibrant colors from Botticelli’s Primavera and Birth of Venus will leave you breathless. The Uffizi is home to Filippino Lippi’s Madonna and Child with Two Angels and Titian’s majestic Venus of Urbino. The galleries are vast and require an entire day for you to be able to appreciate all the art, architecture and sculptures.

Santa Maria del Fiore

As you stroll Piazza del Duomo, you’ll come across Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence’s awe-inspiring Gothic cathedral. Distinguished by its Renaissance dome, the cathedral is one of Florence’s major attractions. The Duomo offers tours of its cupola, Baptistry, Bell Tower, and the Museum of the Duomo. The tall tower flanked adjacent to its facade can be seen all around the city and offers picturesque, aerial and panoramic views of the city.

A city full of life

As the sun goes down, the vibrant pink, white and green marble exterior walls echo tranquility, peace, and unity inside the piazza. Often, street musicians perform to small crowds of people sitting on the piazza’s pavement not far from the cathedral. The music can be heard past the Duomo as it blends into the busy streets full of shops, restaurants, and cafes.

And while you wind down for the evening, dine at one of Florence’s many restaurants overlooking il Ponte Vecchio. Enjoy a glass of Brunello di Montalcino (one of Florence’s signature wines) while you observe the street lights reflecting in the Arno River-a stunning reminder of Florence’s modern life embracing its past.

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