Posts Tagged ‘firenze

11
Jan
08

Firenze, Italia

Basilica Di Santa CroceKnown as Florence, Italy in English-speaking countries, Firenze has by far the best collection of dead people on the face of the planet. In the Basilica di Santa Croce (pictured at right) alone are the following, some of which make up the ‘Sons of Florence’:

  • Dante
  • Galileo Galilei
  • Niccolo Machiavelli
  • Guglielmo Marconi
  • Enrico Fermi
  • Michaelangelo
  • Julie Clary, wife of Joseph Bonaparte, and their daughter Charlotte NapolĂ©one Bonaparte

And those are just the most notable in that Basilica alone- there are far more that under any other comparison would be very notable indeed. I was very fortunate to be able to get to see this and take pictures of all of these amazing tombs.

After a five minute walk you can be at the door of Vivoli Gelato tucked away in a back alley just a couple blocks from the basilica. I was referred to this place by a former teacher that had been there and tried the Rice Gelato. It sounded like a bio hazard to me but I went ahead and got it; of course, I loved it. I recommend it to anyone that can make it out to Florence, which I also recommend as a tourist location.

If you don’t like to visit churches/basilicas/cathedrals, then Italy probably isn’t a great place for you to visit. Sure there’s plenty of other things to do, places to see, etc., but you really can’t get the cultural and historical experience without looking at the religious places. The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, better known as ‘The Duomo’ (‘duomo’ is Italian for cathedral), is an absolutely astounding work of Renaissance architecture. It is still today the largest free standing masonry domed building in the world. You can climb the stairs all the way to the top of the cupola where, needless to say, you have a view of the entire red-roofed city. What astounded me the most was that it took 140 years to build, meaning that not a single person was alive both when it started and when it finished.

One last feat of Florentine architecture that amazed me was the Ponte Vecchio bridge. This is by no means an ordinary bridge. On both sides of the bridge are buildings, now shops, that are supported on stilts off the sides of the bridge. They are mostly jewelery shops and people, mostly tourists, can walk down the center street and shop. All of this occurs on a bridge (over troubled waters… I’m not kidding the water is disgusting).