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The Cathedral

The Cathedral

The construction of the Cathedral of S. Maria del Fiore was decided in 1289 and the project has been entrusted to Arnolfo; the new building was built on the Lake of the church of St. Reparata (IV or V century), now inadequate to the increased size of the Christian Community of Florence. Subsequently Giotto Brunelleschi, Pisano and others worked on the building; the facade was executed at the end of the last century. The famous dome overlooking the church is octagonal and covered in cotto.

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Piazza della Signoria

Piazza della Signoria

The square was the heart of the political life of Florence since the end of 1200, the year of the beginning on the construction of Palazzo Vecchio. In this square took place some of the most important historical events. One side is occupied by three large arches of the Loggia della Signoria. The Loggia was built as a place for public ceremonies, then it has been enriched by monuments until becoming a sort of open-air-museum. In the palace nr. 5 of the square is located the Collection Alberto della Ragione, an interesting collection of modern art.

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Bell Tower

The Bell Tower (Campanile di Giotto), an unmistakable gothic silhouette in the landscape of the city, was started precisely by Giotto in 1334 and carried out by Andrea Pisano and Francesco Talents. The 85 meters high tower is coverd with white and green marble (in harmony with the neighbour monuments); From its top it is possible to enjoy a splendid view over Florence. The bas that adorn the base were executed by Andrea Pisano, partly designed by Giotto (the originals are in the Museum dell’Opera del Duomo).

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Galleria dell'Accademia

Galleria dell'Accademia

The Museum was built in 1784 and includes paintings of the Florentine school from the 13th to the 16th century and some sculptural masterpieces by Michelangelo. Among the main works are paintings from the Master of Magdalene and Pacino of Buonaguida; the Coronation of the Virgin by Bernardo Daddi; the Piety by Giovanni da Milano; a Madonna and Child by Filippino Lippi; three Madonnas by Sandro Botticelli, including the beautiful Woman of the sea; works of Fra’ Bartolomeo, Cosimo Rosselli, Botticini, Pontormo, Bronzino, Lorenzo di Credi and many others.

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Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge)

Ponte Vecchio (Old bridge)

The Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) is the only remaining original of Florence’s many lovely medieval bridges spanning the Arno – the Germans blew the rest of them up during their retreat from Italy near the end of the World War II (they’ve since been rebuilt). This symbol of the city of Florence offers beautiful views and thrives with shops selling leather goods, jewellery, and other commodities. If you look up, you’ll see the famous Vasari Corridor (Corridoio Vasariano). The bridge was built in 1345, but after the completion of the Palazzo Pitti in the 16th century, Cosimo de’ Medici commissioned Vasari to build an aboveground “tunnel” running along the Ponte Vecchio rooftops linking the Uffizi with the Pitti. The corridor was richly decorated with art, and you can visit it from the Uffizi at certain times.

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Cappelle Medicee

Cappelle Medicee

The complex includes the grandiose and entirely with marble and semiprecious stones covered Chapel of the Princes, which accepts the tombs of Granduchi; the New Sacristy by Michelangelo (1524), a splendid architecture with Tombs of Giuliano de Nemours and Lorenzo di Urbino, ornaments from the famous statues of the day, the night, the dawn and the dusk; over the tomb of Giuliano and Lorenzo the Magnificant there is a Madonna and Child by Michelangelo.

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Museo dell'Opera del Duomo

Museo dell'Opera del Duomo

Located in a building behind the apse of the cathedral, gathers works from the nearby monumental complex; among the main; the famous Pieta by Michelangelo (c. 1550), one of the most dramatic interpretations of this subject that the teacher has given; sculptures of Arnolfo, Donatello and Nanni di Banco by the primitive façade of the cathedral; the two Cantorie by Luca della Robbia (1438) and Donatello (1439); the Mary Magdalene by Donatello (1455), which has been carved in wood for the Baptistery; panels with the Human activities, the creation of Adam and Eve, the planets and the Liberal Arts by Andrea Pisano and others from Campanile; various objects of minors arts, among whom shrines, sacred vestments and a valuable silver dossale from the 13th century.

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Il Battistero

Il Battistero

The Baptistery is one of the oldest architectural monuments in Florence and until yet, its true origins are still unclear. The inhabitants of the Middle Age saw the building as a Temple, consecrated to the mars cult, from the era of Augustus. A characteristic sign is its strong geometric appearance that continue in the ornamentation with white and green marble from Prato. The Deep-reliefs and sculptures on the outside of the gates, are among the most important works of the overall region of Tuscany. Some of the restored tapes are currently in the Museo dell’Opera del Dumo. The marble groups over the gates are works by Vincenzo Danti, Francesco Rustici and Andrea Sansovino. In interior part of the baptistery is characterized by beautiful, large mosaics on the deiling and the apse. Also, there can be admired some precious sculptures of known artists like Donatello and Michelozzo and the grave of goods designed Pope Giovanni XXIII, who died in Florence in 1426.

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Old palace

Old palace

The palazzo Vecchio (Old Palace) looks either like a fortress disguised as a palace or a palace trying to be a fort. It is actually a little bit of both, built as the town hall from 1299 to 1302. Cosimo de’ Medici (that’s Giambologna’s equestrian statue of him in the middle of the square; see “Piazza della Signoria”, below) and his family made changes to the palazzo in the 16th century. The highlight of the interior is the Hall of the 500 (Sala dei Cinquecento), where the 500-man council met when Florence was still a republic and before the Medicis’ despotic rule. The frescoes by Vasari and others are nothing to write home about, yet those planned by Michelangelo but never painted would have been; note Michelangelos’s Genius of VictoryJudith and Holofernes, and Ghirlandaio’s collections are open only at certain times (mainly in summer), such as the collection of musical instruments. In summer, you can view the city from the balustrade and hope for a breath of wind.

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Santa Croce

Santa Croce

Santa Croce, the world’s largest Franciscan church, is significant both for its architecture and for what (and whom) it contains. The basilica was begun in 1294 by Arnolfo di Cambio, the first architect of the Duomo, and is a magnificent example of Italian gothic. It boasts some Giotto frescoes, although they are not the most well preserved of his works. Within the convent compound you can also visit the 15th century Cappella Pazzi, a wonderful example of early Renaissance architecture by Brunelleschi, and the Museo dell’Opera di Santa Croce which houses several art pieces taken from the church itself and the cloisters. The most noteworthy piece is a nally meant for the Orsanmichele church. Cimabue’s famous Crucifixion is also on display, although the restoration was not able to redeem the great damages caused by the flood in 1966. In the church you will also find the final resting places of many notable Renaissance figures – over 270 tombstones pave the floor, and monumental toms house luminaries like Michelangelo, Galileo, Rossini, and Machiavelli. Note that Dante’s tomb is really just a cenotaph (an empty tomb): He died in exile in Ravenna and was buried there.

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