Florence or Firenze; city name comes from Florentia in Latin which mean is “the city of the flowers”. This historical area ranked as one of the most visited historical site in the World and attracts millions of tourists from around the World each year with its culture, and monuments. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO
Florence is considered the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance with contribution of Medici Family. We can say that Medici’s are founders of the sponsorship system that they were a great patron of the arts and artists.
Medici Family have stayed in power in about 400 years and produced four Popes, two regent queens of France during their reign. Family gained power in economicaly through banking operations. Medici Bank was the largest in Europe for a time that they acquired political power initially in Italy and Europe.
When the last Medici Gian Gastone was died in 1737 , Anna Maria Luisa signed an agreement with new Grand Duke of Florence that all the personal property of the Medici will be stayed in Florence and nothing will be removed from here.
Certainly, first thing that comes to mind once mentioned of Florence is Santa Maria del Fiore, known as The Duomo. Construction of the Duomo being able to complate in 150 years since the began despite numerous interruptions. Designed by the famous architect Arnolfo di Cambio upon his death it has been has completed with a number of changes by other architects. The Cathedral was dedicated to St Mary the Virgin and acquired the epithet “del Fiore” from the lily on Florence’s coat of arms.
A unique example of Gothic architecture Campanile Bell Tower which is part of the Duomo and located right next to it, partly designed by Giotto. After his death, project was completed with slightly modified by Francesco Talenti. Talenti did not build the spire designed by Giotto, there for lowering the designed height of 122 metres to 84.7 metres. Breathtaking panorama of Florence waits at the top of the tower who can reach top by climbing 414 steps.
The dome remains the largest brick dome ever constructed with its dimentions that can be seen everywhere from the city.
The octagonal baptistery the Campanile stands across from Florence Cathedral.It is an uniqe with its medieval mosaics and important bronze doors with relief sculptures. North and east doors made by Lorenzo Ghiberti who known as a goldsmith and sculptor. The Italian poet Dante and many other notable Renaissance figures, including members of the Medici family, were baptized in this baptistry. The east doors were dubbed by Michelangelo the Gates of Paradise.
A competition was announced by the Cloth Importers Guild to design doors which would eventually be placed on the north side of the baptistry. Ghiberti was 23-year-old when he won the competition for the first set of bronze doors. These bronze doors depict various scenes from the New Testament. It is consist of twenty-eight panels with depicting the life of Christ from the New Testament. It took Ghiberti 21 years to complete these doors and installed in 1424.
He got a second commission in 1425, this time for the east doors of the baptistery. The subjects of the designs for the doors were chosen from the Old Testament. Doors consist of large ten rectangles panels that each panel depicts more than one episode.
The panels are decorated on gilt framework of many statuettes of prophets and 24 busts. Ghiberti established a new approach to the human figure and perspective in his second works and it took 27 years to complate. Michelangelo referred to these doors as fit to be the “Gates of Paradise”
Ghiberti was 23 years old when he began to work for the doors of the Baptistery, he was able to complate in his 70s.
Florence’s cathedral is more than the symbol of the city. Together with the Campanile and the Baptistery it forms one of the most magnificent works of art in the world.
When the Arno River flooded Florence in 1966 and these panels were damaged along with the many art treasures. In 1990 modern copy of the Gates of Paradise was installed the Baptistery and original panels moved to the museum of the Duomo’s in order to protect for future. Some of the original panels are on view in the museum.
Piazza Della Signoria (Signori Square) is the center of civil life and government for centuries. Still one of the lively square that surrounded by the impressive works of art.
The Palazzo della Signoria is still home of the municipal government used to it was Medici duke’s residence till they moved to Palazzo Pitti.
One of the most important Renaissance masterpiece is Michelangelo’s David that stands with its all glorious in front of the Palazzo della Signoria.
Michelangelo depicts David before the confront with Goliath with his slingshot that he carries over his shoulder. It presents the moment of David getting ready to fling his slingshot the Goliath.
Michelangelo created his masterpiece sculpture between 1501 and 1504 when he was 26 years.
This block of marble was lying within the courtyard of the Opera del Duomo of exceptional dimensions. It is remained neglected for 25 years. Michelangelo was asked by the consuls of the Board to complete an unfinished project begun by Agostino di Duccio and later carried on by Antonio Rossellino. Both sculptors had in the end rejected an enormous block of marble due to the presence of too many imperfections. Michelangelo accepted the challenge and choose these unused block of marble to sculpt a large scale David.
The analysis of the marble has shown that the marble is actually rather poor quality. He carved a statue from a block without cutting it down or adding other marble. Michelangelo worked at the statue within utmost secrecy. He had hid his masterpiece by building a shelter. After more than two years of tough work he complated his masterpiece. Even today it’s a secret that how remained stand on this legs till today. Theoretically, this colossal statue should be collapse with its weak legs.
In 1995, a replica of David was offered as a gift by the municipality of Florence to the municipality of Jerusalem to mark the 3,000th anniversary of David’s conquest of the city. The gift was declined due to naked figure was considered pornographic. Finally, fully clad replica of a different statue was donated instead.
It remained in front of Palazzo della Signoria until 1873, when it was moved into the Galleria dell’Accademia to protect it from damage and further weathering. The second toe of the left foot of David was damaged in act of vandalism in 1991.
Lorenzo de’ Medici was always interested in young and talented artists. Therefore, it was a great honor for Michelangelo when Lorenzo the Magnificent, invited the fifteen-year old artist to stay in his palace to learn and to serve him.
Michelangelo had left from Rome in 1505 in order to escape from quarrel with Cardinal. He was planning to going off to Constantinapol to built a bridge. Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II invited Michelangelo to Constantinople to design a bridge over the Golden Horn. Today’s bridge known as the Galata Bridge. However, after a while Michelangelo he asked the Pope’s forgiveness. The Pope lost his temper and forgave him then he gave up to go to Costantinapol.
Before invatation of Michelangelo to design the bridge on the Golden Horn, the Sultan received a letter from his rival Leonardo da Vinci that he had proposed a bridge projects to the Sultan. But project was not approved due to not possible to achieve with the technology of that time.
During the reign of Yavuz Sultan Selim Michelangelo invited to Istanbul However, Michelangelo was very famous and successful at that date and he reclined it.
Another interesting detail about Michelangelo’s life a letters that written by his father. His father’s advice to Michelangelo “Never wash yourself. Allow yourself to be rubbed, but don’t wash yourself.!”
Michelangelo never married. He devoted himself to his works until his death.
Hercules and Cacus sculpture stand across of David on the right of the entrance of the Palazzo Vecchio in the Piazza della Signoria.
Fountain of Neptune which is a another sample of masterpiece of marble sculpture at the heart of the city.
The Loggia della Signoria consists of wide arches open to the street. it was setting for all the public ceremonies in the past that this place preserves number of statues such as Donatello, Giambologna, Ammannati and Cellini.
One of the remarkable statue at Loggia della Signoria is Cellini’s Perseus. It shows the mythical Greek hero holding his sword in his right hand and holding up the Medusa’s severed head in his left.
Another impressive work located other side at Loggia that shows “Rape of the Sabine Women” by Giambologna. This work was made from one imperfect block of white marble, the largest block ever transported to Florence.
Uffizi Gallery was built as government offices by Vasari in Medici period, nowadays, one of the most famous and important art galleries in the world, it has a very large collection of international and Florentine art.
The Pitti Palace, which was formerly the residence of Medici Family. At that time, Florence was governed by Pitti’s. Building was commissioned by Pitti’s but unfinished at his death. End it up Pittis had to sell the building their implacable adversaries to Medicis. Now houses several important collections of paintings and sculpture, works of art and also famous for its Boboli Gardens.
Adjoining the palace are the Boboli Gardens, elaborately reflects of Renaissance landscaped. It was a source of inspiration to many European gardens.
The Ponte Vecchio connects through two sides of River Arno. At the same time, it is part of the famous Vasari Corridor. It is the only bridge in the city to have survived World War II intact.
The Vasari Corridor is a gallery that, built connecting the Palazzo Vecchio with the Pitti Palace passing by the Uffizi and over the Ponte Vecchio. One of the main initial purposes for the construction of the Corridor to make the Palace easier to reach without having to mix with the crowds, to move freely and safely. Passing and observing the people below while remaining unnoticed. To build the Corridor several personal properties located along its way, were quite literally crossed. All owners were forced to consent to give the space through their properties for the passageway. The central part of the Corridor that goes over Ponte Vecchio is the most beautiful panoramic point of view. Up to this point, Ponte Vecchio housed butcher shops since it made it easy for the waste to be thrown into the river. Not a pleasant view or smell! Since the Corridor was planned over these shops, all the butcher shops were ordered off Ponte Vecchio and were replaced by jewelry shops, shops that still characterize the most famous bridge in Florence.
The Basilica of Santa Croce, is the burial place of some of the most illustrious Italians, such as Michelangelo, Dante, Galileo, Machiavelli and Galileo, thus it is known also as the Temple of the Italian Glories.
The Piazza della Repubblica is rebuilt when Florence became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy. Historical square is home to the famous Cafe Gilli and Cafe delle Giubbe Rosse which were meeting points for many of the city’s artists and writers in the past. At this lovely decorated historic place you can enjoy your coffe accompanied by view.
Mercato Nuovo, that sells touristy stuff, bags, scarfs, etc. The main attraction of this open market is to rub of a wild boar sculpture in bronze – Fontana del Porcellino. You should put a coin in the mouth of the boar and if it falls into the fountain grate below while you rub Its snout you will get a luck to return to Florence some day. Shiny snout of il Porcellino shows that many people around the World wishing same things just like you.