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10 Great Things About Florence, Italy

I used to live in Florence, or as the locals call her, Firenze, and in a couple of weeks, my wife and I will visit that gorgeous city again. So this is a list for me to remember what to do and where to visit in Florence, and this list might help first-time visitors enjoy the city better.

10 Great Things About Florence, Italy

    1. Uffizi Gallery

    A lot of people who visit Florence for the first time would be dumbfounded to find out that most of the art in Florence is about Jesus and Christianity. The Medici family started funding art projects to save their souls because banking was considered a sin in their time and spreading the word of Christ was a way to balance their sins. As the relationship between Florence and the Vatican strained, the Medici family sought out a solution to reduce the Vatican's power over themselves, and that gave rise to the humanist movement. Looking at the Uffizi collection with this understanding opens up a new understanding of how and why the Renaissance happened and why it happened in Florence.

    2. The Cupola of Duomo

    I find many things about Florence's Duomo unassuming. But the cupola, meaning the dome of Florence's main cathedral, is a wonder in itself. Climbing it through the monks' paths and enjoying Florence from its top is something everybody should do at least once in their lifetimes.

    3. The David

    Out of all the art pieces I have ever seen, nothing affected me as deeply as David did. I always found that David in the stories was a young kid who battled a giant, and the sculpture of David is ginormous. Yet, David is the soul of Florence, and what a soul! Go to the Academia museum and spend hours admiring this piece of human ingenuity.

    4. Boboli Gardens

    Even though Pitti Palace is glorious in itself, Boboli Gardens, the garden of the Medici Palace, is a great place to enjoy some solace. When I was living in Florence, I always loved picking up a book and going to the garden to enjoy the chirping of its many inhabitants.

    5. The Statue of Dante Alighieri

    I lived in Florence to learn how to draw and paint, and I lived very close to the Piazza di Santa Croce. It was my weekly habit to sit in front of the Statue of Dante and draw him. It was a joy to see my drawings get better and better over time. When you visit Santa Croce, say hi to Dante for me!

    6. Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella

    People think that perfume was founded in France, but perfume was brought to France by a Florentine. There is a building near the Santa Maria Novella train station that is considered the oldest cosmetic shop and pharmacy in Europe. The place holds more history and aromatic treasures than any other in Italy. You can also shop for perfumes that have been using the same methods of production and ingredients for centuries.

    7. The Duomo Museum

    Even though the Duomo itself is unassuming, being located in the building behind the Duomo, where the workers who worked on building the Duomo once resided, is a treat for any art and culture lover. Most of the pieces in Duomo are replicas, and this museum is where you can find the originals as well as the pieces that are deemed so valuable to be showcased in Duomo. I always enjoyed the museum much more than the Duomo itself.

    8. The sets of Arno

    Florence is divided into two by a great river called the Arno. To stop the floods, they have built sets to slow down the river's flow. If you walk to the Oltrarno, which means the other side of the Arno, you can jump over the wall and walk over to the water barriers. In summer, a lot of people go there to sunbathe, but I always enjoyed going to the middle of the set and enjoying Arno flowing around me.

    9. Wondering the City early in the morning

    Florence, especially the old city, is pretty well reserved and if you wake up at 5 a.m., you can walk around the city like a Florentine living in the middle ages. The city is beautiful and peaceful, especially before the traffic and the hubbub of tourists.

    10. Meeting people in front of Santo Spirito

    The piazza in front of the Santo Spirito is where most of Florence's population hangs out at night. Even though I am not much of a drinker, I always enjoyed going there at night and meeting random people, singing songs, and engaging in interesting conversations. Florence's spirit is kept alive in Piazza di Santo Spirito.

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