By Y Satyanarayana
If it's art you're interested in few cities in the world showcase art of such calibre and class as Florence does. A visit to Palazzo degli Uffizi which undoubtedly has the best collection of Italian Renaissance art in the world, proves it. The ruling Medici family bequeathed the incomparable collection to the city of Florence in 1743 with the rider that it should remain in the city. Here one finds the best of Sandro Botticelli's work, as also that of his teacher, the great Carmelite artist-monk, Filippo Lippi, who inspired Robert Browning's immortal poem, Fra Lippo Lippi. Apart from works of other masters of the Renaissance, such as Raphael and Andrea del Sarto, the great Michaelangelo's portrayal of the Holy Family is a major attraction at Uffizi.
No one is ever likely to miss the city's Duomo, the iconic cathedral, a celebrated landmark in Florence. See the breath-taking red-tiled cupola which crowns the Duomo which was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, one of the founding fathers of the Renaissance.The frescoes done by Vasari and Zuccari and the stained-glass windows add up to a rare artistic treat.
The next must see place on your visit has to be Galleria dell' Accademia, which houses the most famous statue in the world--Michael Angelo's David, carved from a single block of stone, often described as a symbol of Florentine pride and independence.
The Medici Chapels are two structures in Basilica San Lorenzo and should be your next stop in Florence. The resting place of 49 members of the renowned Medici family,the new sacristy or Sagrestia Nuova is home to some of Angelo's spectacular sculptures. The sculptures, Dawn and Dusk, Night and Day and Madonna and the Child leave an abiding impression on the mind of the visitor. Incidentally, the Sagrestia Nuova was Michael Angelo's first architectural work.
The Palazzio Vecchio is another major attraction in Florence. This fortress palace is home to the mayor's office and the municipal council. Climb 418 steps to the Tower or Torre d'Arnolfo which affords a spectacular view. In the Palazzio, you simply cannot miss another of Angelo's famous sculptures--Genius of Victory or Vasari's gold-leafed panels, for that matter, among other things.
Even for those with a minimal interest in art and architecture, the Basilica di Santa Maria Novella with its rich treasure of masterpieces is a very special attraction. The frescoed chapel showcasing Domenico Ghirlandaio's work is certainly worth a visit which you will cherish. Incidentally, Michaelangelo began his apprenticeship as a young artist in the studio of Ghirlandaio.
Basilica di Santa Croce figures high and rightly so on the list of those who would like to visit the tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo and Ghiberti, but what takes your breath away in this church, is the sight of frescoes by Giotto.
Go on hiking tours, scenic drives in the beautiful Tuscan countryside, explore the wonder of farmhouse stays and take in the inimitable experience of Tuscan wine and cuisine. Florence has everything you want and should figure right up there on your bucket list if you haven't been there.
Food: If it's Tuscan cuisine you're looking for, most restaurants in the city squares, piazzas, serve excellent local food, but these are some of the restaurants you might want to visit.
Trattoria Mario in San Lorenzo and San Marco would be a good place to pick if you're looking for Tuscan food. For street food, most places around the main piazzas are quite reliable.
Weather, A good time to Visit Florence:
From June through the summer months and the early phase of winter in October, Florence is very pleasant and can in fact, get a bit hot at times in summer.