The city of Florence absolutely blew my expectations out of the water. I personally am not super into art, but I have a dramatically higher appreciation for it after having been in the city of Florence and seeing the incredible works of the Renaissance artists who practiced there so many years ago. Before experiencing this part of our journey, I would have never guessed that I would be the last one in our group out of the Uffizi or that I would spend an inordinate amount of time just staring open-mouthed at Michelangelo’s David, but that is the effect the city had on me. Florence itself is a work of art filled to the brim with other works of art. The architects and engineers that designed the city deserve just as much recognition as the artists who painted and sculpted there. Perhaps the greatest example of this is the Florence Cathedral (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore).
The Cathedral is a gorgeous building and includes the Duomo, an architectural wonder and my favorite structure in Florence. The fact that the Duomo is still the largest brick dome ever created even though it was created in the 15th century is astounding. The dome was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, one of my new heroes after seeing it. Another interesting fact is that Brunelleschi essentially created the first crane in order to lift material to the top of the cathedral which is a huge feat of engineering in itself. The Florence Cathedral is basically at the center of Florence and can be seen from almost everywhere in the city. Florence is built around the cathedral, but there are many other wonders to be seen in the city.
Florence is absolutely filled to the brim with works of art. Walking through the city you’ll pass intricate busts of historical figures, beautiful churches full of frescoes, and art galleries that blend right into the scenery of the streets. One such gallery is the Accademia gallery which was actually less than three blocks from our hotel. The Accademia houses David, one of Michelangelo’s most well-known works. Due to the way the gallery is laid out, David becomes an even more powerful figure. It is at the end of a long hallway towards the end of the gallery and bathed in natural light from the skylights above. When you round the corner, the 17 foot marble statue immediately catches your eye. It is the perfect ambassador for Florence’s art, one of the most famous sculptures in the world, and it was right down the street from where we were sleeping in an unassuming building. This is Florence at its finest and I absolutely loved it.