Florence – The Birthplace of Renaissance

Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany. It was the center of Medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of the world at that time. Florence is considered to be the birthplace of Renaissance and has been called “the Athens of the Middle Ages”. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. Florence is noted for its culture, Renaissance art and architecture and various monuments. It is an important city of Italian fashion.

The Arno River which originates in the Apennines passes through the city of Florence where it flows below the Ponte Vecchio and Santa Trinita Bridge. The river flooded the city of Florence in historical times. The most recent was in 1966 which collapsed the embankment in Florence, killing at least 40 people and damaging or destroying millions of works of art and rare books.

Arno River passes through the city of Florence
Arno River passes through the city of Florence
Arno River passes through the city of Florence
Arno River passes through the city of Florence
Bridge over Arno River
Bridge over Arno River

The Palazzo Vecchio (English “The Old Palace”) is the town hall of Florence. Originally it was called Palazzo della Signoria after the Signoria of Florence the ruling body of the Republic of Florence.

The Palazzo Vecchio
The Palazzo Vecchio
The Palazzo Vecchio
The Palazzo Vecchio
Florence Cityscape
Florence Cityscape
Another view of the Palazzo
Another view of the Palazzo
A replica of Michelangelo's David at the entrance of the Palazzo
A replica of Michelangelo’s David at the entrance of the Palazzo
Baccio Bandinelli's Hecules and Cacus at the entrance of the Palazzo
Baccio Bandinelli’s Hecules and Cacus at the entrance of the Palazzo
Hecules and Cacus, more detailed view
Hecules and Cacus, more detailed view
Hercules and Cacus backside view
Hercules and Cacus backside view
Hecules and Cacus, more detailed view
Hecules and Cacus, more detailed view
The First Courtyard of the Palazzo Vecchio designed in 1453 by Mechelozzo
The First Courtyard of the Palazzo Vecchio designed in 1453 by Mechelozzo
More Detailed view of the First Courtyard
More Detailed view of the First Courtyard
More Detailed view of the First Courtyard
More Detailed view of the First Courtyard
More Detailed view of the First Courtyard
More Detailed view of the First Courtyard
More Detailed view of the First Courtyard
More Detailed view of the First Courtyard
More Detailed view of the First Courtyard
More Detailed view of the First Courtyard
Lemon Trees with Fruits
Lemon Trees with Fruits

The Loggia dei Lanzi also called the Loggia della Signoria is a building on a corner of the Palazzo adjoining the Uffizi Gallery. It consists of wide arches open to the street. The arches rest on clustered rectangular columns. The wide arches appealed so much to the Florentines, that Michelangelo even proposed that they should be continued all around the Piazza della Signoria. The Loggia dei Lanzi is effectively an open-air sculpture gallery of antique and Renaissance art. On the steps of the Loggia are the Medici Lions, marble statues of the lions, heraldic symbols of Florence.

One of the Medici Lions
One of the Medici Lions
Perseus with the head of Medusa by Benvento Cellini in bronze
Perseus with the head of Medusa by Benvento Cellini in bronze
Detailed view of Perseus with the head of Medusa
Detailed view of Perseus with the head of Medusa
Hercules & Nessus
Hercules & Nessus
Menelaus supporting the body of Petroclus - a much restored Roman sculpture
Menelaus supporting the body of Petroclus – a much restored Roman sculpture
Menelaus supporting the body of Petroclus - Backside view
Menelaus supporting the body of Petroclus – Backside view
Rape of the Sabine Women by Flemish artist Jean de Boulogne
Rape of the Sabine Women by Flemish artist Jean de Boulogne
Rape of the Sabine Women - more details
Rape of the Sabine Women – more details
Rape of the Sabine Women - more detailed view
Rape of the Sabine Women – more detailed view
Rape of the Sabine Women - more details
Rape of the Sabine Women – more details
The Rape of Polyxena, sculpture by Pio Fedi
The Rape of Polyxena, sculpture by Pio Fedi

On the back of the Loggia are five marble female statues (three are identified as Matidia, Marciana and Agrippina Minor). They were discovered in Rome in 1541.

One of the five female marble statues on the back of the Loggia
One of the five female marble statues on the back of the Loggia
One of the five female marble statues on the back of the Loggia
One of the five female marble statues on the back of the Loggia
One of the five female marble statues on the back of the Loggia
One of the five female marble statues on the back of the Loggia
One of the five female marble statues on the back of the Loggia
One of the five female marble statues on the back of the Loggia
One of the five female marble statues on the back of the Loggia
One of the five female marble statues on the back of the Loggia
One of the decorative sculptures inside Loggia dei Lanzi
One of the decorative sculptures inside Loggia dei Lanzi
On the left side the main entrance of Palazzo Vecchio and on the right Loggia della Signoria
On the left side the main entrance of Palazzo Vecchio and on the right Loggia della Signoria
Neptune Fountain on Piazza Della Signoria
Neptune Fountain on Piazza Della Signoria
Neptune Fountain on Piazza Della Signoria
Neptune Fountain on Piazza Della Signoria
Neptune Fountain on Piazza Della Signoria - Back view
Neptune Fountain on Piazza Della Signoria – Back view
Various sculptures around the city
Various sculptures around the city
Various sculptures around the city
Various sculptures around the city
Various sculptures around the city
Various sculptures around the city
Various sculptures around the city
Various sculptures around the city
Various sculptures around the city
Various sculptures around the city
Various sculptures around the city
Various sculptures around the city
Various sculptures around the city
Various sculptures around the city
Various sculptures around the city
Various sculptures around the city

Piazz della Repubblica is a city square in Florence.

Piazza della Republica
Piazza della Republica
Piazza della Repubblica with the inscription which reads "The ancient centre of the city / restored from age-old squalor / to new life"
Piazza della Repubblica with the inscription which reads “The ancient centre of the city / restored from age-old squalor / to new life”
A merry-go-round in front of Piazza della Rebubblica
A merry-go-round in front of Piazza della Rebubblica
Piazza della Repubblica - The arch from inside
Piazza della Repubblica – The arch from inside

The National Central Library of Florence is the largest in Italy and one of the most important in Europe along with the one in Rome. The library was founded in 1714 when scholar Antonio Magliabechi bequeathed his entire collection of books, encompassing approximately 30,000 volumes, to the city of Florence. Unfortunately during the flood of the Arno River in 1966, nearly one third of the library’s holding were damaged. The subsequent Restoration Center which was established to restore the collection could manage to save many of the books. However some items are lost forever.

The National Central Library Building
The National Central Library Building
The National Central Library Building
The National Central Library Building

The main tourist attraction of Florence is the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (in English “Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flowers”). This is the main church of Florence and the most prominent structure in the city. It is ordinarily called “Il Duomo di Firenze”. The construction of the church begun in 1296, in the Gothic style with the design of Amolfo di Cambio and completed structurally in 1436, with the dome engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi.

The cathedral complex, located in Piazza del Duomo includes the Baptistery and Giotto’s bell tower. These three buildings are part of the UNESCO world heritage site covering the historic center of Florence. This is one of Italy’s largest churches, and until development of new structural materials in the modern era, the dome was the largest in the world. It remains the largest brick dome ever constructed.

The Florence Cathedral
The Florence Cathedral
The Florence Cathedral and the Bell Tower
The Florence Cathedral and the Bell Tower
The Florence Cathedral - Side view
The Florence Cathedral – Side view
The Florence Cathedral - One of the doors
The Florence Cathedral – One of the doors
The Florence Cathedral
The Florence Cathedral
The Florence Cathedral - The Baptistery of St Jon
The Florence Cathedral – The Baptistery of St Jon
Baptistery of St John - Details
Baptistery of St John – Details
The Florence Cathedral - One of the doors
The Florence Cathedral – One of the doors
The Florence Cathedral - The facade
The Florence Cathedral – The facade
The Florence Cathedral - The front view
The Florence Cathedral – The front view
The Florence Cathedral - Another view
The Florence Cathedral – Another view
The Florence Cathedral - Another view
The Florence Cathedral – Another view
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
An open air restaurant
An open air restaurant
Feeding the pigeons
Feeding the pigeons
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
The wooden door
The wooden door
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
The roadside shop selling memorobilas
The roadside shop selling memorobilas
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
A grocery shop
A grocery shop
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape
Florence cityscape

Piazzale Michelangelo (Michelangelo Square) is a square with a panoramic view of Florence located in the Oltrarno district of the city. This square was designed by architect Giuseppe Poggi and built in 1869 on a hill just south of the historic center.

The square dedicated to Renaissance sculptor Michelangelo, has bronze copies of some of his marble works, the David in bronze. Poggi designed the loggia in the neoclassical style that dominates the whole terrace, which today houses a restaurant. One will get an amazing aerial view of the city of Florence from this terrace.

Piazzale Michelangelo
Piazzale Michelangelo
Aerial view of Florence dominated by the Florence Cathedral from Piazzale Michelangelo
Aerial view of Florence dominated by the Florence Cathedral from Piazzale Michelangelo
Aerial view of Florence dominated by Palazzo Vecchio from Piazzale Michelangelo
Aerial view of Florence dominated by Palazzo Vecchio from Piazzale Michelangelo
Arno river with Ponte Vecchio as seen from Piazzale Michelangelo
Arno river with Ponte Vecchio as seen from Piazzale Michelangelo
The watch tower of Palazzo Vecchio as seen from Piazzale Michelangelo
The watch tower of Palazzo Vecchio as seen from Piazzale Michelangelo
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