We wasted no time. Bags dropped off at the hotel, the three of us set out to see the town–and it’s beautiful. I never realized what was so special about Florence. Now I do.
The streets are charming, bridges beautiful. There’s enough to see and do yet the city is still small enough to find your way around. But the most interesting thing about this former capital of Italy is the art. There’s so much of it! It’s said that Florence has more art per square meter than any other town in the world. Walking through its museums you’ll find Michelangelo’s David, Botticelli’s Venus and thousands (and thousands) of other paintings and sculptures. The only limit is time and whether your feet can hold out. It also helps to have made reservations in advance, and thanks to Paul, we were all set.
Then there are the churches. Like most of Italy, houses of worship in Florence are magnificent in their own right, especially the gigantic Duomo. Like “Air Force One”, a Duomo doesn’t refer to a singular church. It’s the name for a cathedral style church, usually the biggest and most grand in the city, and the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore is no exception. The fourth largest church in the world, this one wasn’t easy to build. Plans began in the 13th century, revenue raised by taxing people’s wills. But delays due to death and plague took more than 200 years. In fact, at one point in the 14th century, the building was torn down and started over because it was already more than 100 years old. The cathedral was finally complete by 1436 but the trademark green, white and red tiles weren’t added for another 400 years. You know what they say, great art takes time. Lots of it.
The bell tower…we climbed it. More on this later.