A huge outdoor art gallery…
At Muchosol we are continuing to share our favourite destinations with the fourth installment of “Our Team Recommends”. Do you want to know which destination features this month? Well, here is the interview with our colleague, Katerina, from in the marketing department!
Can you remember the clue we gave you in the previous installment about a place full of art? Let’s see if you managed to guess right!
Hey Katerina! Which destination would you recommend?
Hi! With Spring here and the cold winter months behind us we start to become happier with every ray of sunshine and allow nature to show us her true beauty. I believe that this is the best time of year to stop and let yourself fall in love with art and there isn’t a more appropriate city for appreciating art than Florence.
What’s so special about this city?
Florence is the heart of Tuscany – one of the most beautiful regions in Italy. In addition, it is a city rich in history and culture with beautiful architecture and art around every corner. It is said that Florence was a leader in the Renaissance movement and it is a truly magnificent city in which numerous famous artists have lived.
The city of Florence is just like a huge outdoor art gallery!
Which parts of the city are essential to visit?
The old town is considered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it seems that the city itself is formed of artwork that fit together to form a beautiful picture.
Let’s start with the symbol of the city: the magnificent Ponte Vecchio, along which there are lots of jewellery shops and incredible little houses. Have you ever seen anything like that anywhere else in the world?
Also in the main square in Florence, “Plaza della Signoria”, which is L shaped, you will find the most famous museums of the city. For example the Palazzo Vecchio and its Museo dei Ragazzi, which is known for the works by Giorgio Vasari, Michelangelo and other great artists, or La Galería Uffizi, one of the most important museums in Europe due to its valuable collection of artwork.
Other places not to be missed include the Plaza del Duomo, where you will find the Basílica Santa María del Fiore and its famous dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, the belltower by Giotto di Bondone and the baptistery by San Juan. In fact you can go up the bell tower and the dome to get an incredible view of the city.
What do you like most about this city?
I love that every part of the city has its own sense of art and history.
What is your favourite place in Florence?
The place that I fell in love with at first sight was the Ponte Vecchio. It is a bridge dating back to the Middle Ages and you breathe in an ambiance which is totally different to that when you stand on any other of the major bridges in Europe with houses with thousands of windows and the jewellers which look out onto the river from the inside. Perhaps not everyone can afford to buy a piece of jewellery here but it is great taking a stroll along the bridge, soaking up the atmosphere that surrounds you and admiring the views of the river Arno.
Little fact: did you know that the Ponte Vecchio features in the film “Perfume: The story of a murderer”? In some scenes you get to see the inside of one of these houses on the bridge.
Do you know of a secret spot you can tell us about?
I know of two. Firstly, I would recommend a place which, I am not sure how secret it is, but could be interesting to know about if you are doing a tour of Tuscany and find yourself in Florence for a few days. It is a free viewing point which is situated in the Piazzale Michelangelo and offers beautiful panoramic views of the city.
Secondly, a place which is not at all well known by tourists is the Corredor Vasariano which is 500m in length. This passageway runs through the heights of Florence from the Palazzo Vecchio to the Palazzo Pitti. In fact the top part of the Ponte Vecchio forms part of this passageway. The passage, better known as a corridor, has become an art gallery with portraits of famous artists and members of the Medici family who pushed for its construction. The Vasariano Corridor is difficult to access because, unlike the museums and galleries in Florence, it does not open regularly. There are only 8 guided visits per week with approximately 25 people per visit. If you want to enter Florence’s secret corridor it is necessary to book way in advance by telephone directly with the Firenze Musei complex.
What would be your perfect day in Florence?
I would start in the cafe Gilli for a cappuccino accompanied by a typical sweet Tuscan pasty, then I would take a stroll through the streets in the old town and visit some of the most important monuments in the city. I would go up the dome of the basilica and to see it up close and see the city from up high. Afterwards, at midday, I would eat a delicious pasta dish in one of the trattorias in the centre.
After lunch I would head to the other side of the river via the Ponte Vecchio and its jeweller’s, not to buy anything but just to see the wonderfully original jewellery which is sold there. Leaving the bridge I would stop off at Palazzo Pitti for a visit to the museums and the famous Garden of Bóboli, where I would spend the afternoon relaxing and planning the next day. In the evening I would take a wander along the riverbank up to Michelangelo Square where I would watch the evening beauty of Florence.
What would be the song of the trip?
I think that it would be “Vattene Amore” by Amedeo Minghi & Mietta. Although the song has nothing to do with Florence, I came across it and listened to it multiple times when I was there and therefore it always reminds me of Florence when I hear it.
Describe the city in three words.
Art, richness and exquisiteness.
Do you have any advice for future visitors?
Florence is a great destination for shopaholics. The streets in the centre of the city are lined with shops of various Italian brands and European brands which are internationally recognised. Also around Florence there are many outlet zones with discounts all year round.
The first thing to do before even arriving in Florence is to plan your route well because the city has many little intricacies and things to see, although it is not as big as Rome. Therefore, my advice would be good organisation so as to not miss out on any important detail and enjoy the richness which this city embodies.
Thanks Katerina for your advice. We hope that your travel experience will help our readers who are going to or are considering visiting Florence.
And as always, to help you guess which destination features next month here’s the clue: Long live the gentle breeze and the strong sea smell in one of the most tranquil places in Spain!