If something is “beautiful”, it is aesthetically pleasing to the senses. The word can be used to describe almost anything: a place, a person, a design, a poem, a building, even a pair of shoes! Because beauty is subjective and the word “beautiful” is used so frequently and flippantly these days, one can feel rather cynical and skeptical when we hear the adjective used. However there are a few places in the world that people universally agree are beautiful and for which the word may barely suffice. Florence, Italy is one of those places, and many a visitor to this city will tell you that it’s magnificent sights made their eyes moisten with emotion, awe and admiration.
Why is Florence beautiful?
The open spaces, the architecture, the food, the people, the history, the arts … the list goes on.
Florence is the capital of the Tuscany region which, in itself, brings to mind rolling vineyards and romantic countryside. The city is considered cultural, architectural, and artistic in importance, and was the birthplace of the famous Italian Renaissance, as well as opera in general. Put simply, there is a lot of history here, and much of this is preserved in the city’s architecture. You don’t need to be an architecture buff to appreciate the likes of the Florence Cathedral (the “Duomo”), the Santa Maria Novella or the Basilca of Santa Croce.
There are over 80 museums in Florence, and that doesn’t include the many other smaller art galleries that populate. The Uffizi and Pitti Palace are perhaps the most famous galleries, as well as the Museum of the Works of the Duomo. Michelangelo, Donatello, and Verrochio, to name just three, are some of the most important artists associated with the city of Florence. The Galleria dell’Accademia is home to the famous statue, David, by Michelangelo, and the Pitti Palace contains important works by greats like Titian, Raphael and, my personal favorite Caravaggio. Behind the palace on a hill are the Biboli Gardens, a glorious example of Italian Renaissance gardens at their best.
To fully appreciate the visual beauty of Florence it is best to view it from above. Here are some great spots from which to appreciate this romantic, magnificent city. These include the Santa Maria del Fiore (aka Duomo di Firenze) which is the most famous building in the city and here you can climb up into the dome and check out the view. There are 464 steps to contend with on your way up and there will be a queue, but it is worth the effort. Alternatively, Giotto’s Bell Tower offers sweeping views, or head to Piazza Michelangelo, just south of the city centre.
There are not enough words to describe how beautiful a city Florence is, so really all that’s left to do is for you to book that plane ticket, and go and check it out for yourself.
Image: Unsplash CC0