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FLORENCE - The City of legendary Artists

Florence is an Italian town of 361.000 inhabitants, capital of Tuscany. It is the eighth Italian city by population and the first of the Tuscan region. In the Middle Ages was an important cultural, commercial, economic and financial location, in the modern age has served as the capital of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany under the rule of the Medici and Lorraine. It was the capital of Italy from 1865 to 1871, after the unification of the country (1861). Important university and UNESCO World Heritage Site, is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance and is universally recognized as one of the cradles of art and architecture, and renowned as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, thanks to its numerous monuments and museums - including the Duomo, Santa Croce, the Uffizi Gallery, Ponte Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Pitti.

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BRUNELLESCHI DOME AND THE BAPTISTERY (CUPOLA DI BRUNELLESHI E BATTISTERO)

Brunelleschi's Dome overlook Florence, it is the tallest building in the city. The bell tower was designed by Giotto. The Baptistery is one of the oldest buildings in Florence and is there from the fourth century, with its magnificent doors is a real Bible images. The Cathedral with its white marble facade and green dazzles and delights. There is nowhere else in the world a complex of buildings so extraordinary. We are in the heart of Florence, opposite Santa Maria del Fiore, who everyone calls Duomo, a cathedral, 153 meters long. At the completion of this complex was attended by the most important Florentine artists: Giotto, Brunelleschi, Vasari, Talenti, Arnolfo di Cambio, Lorenzo Ghiberti. Every visit to Florence begins here with their heads up and looked stunned, wondering how men create such a wonder.

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THE PONTE VECCHIO

The Ponte Vecchio is one of the symbols of the city of Florence and one of the most famous bridges in the world. Cross the river Arno in its narrowest point, where in ancient times there was a ford. The Ponte Vecchio was built in 1345 by Taddeo Gaddi (according to Vasari) or Neri di Fioravante, and is the only bridge in Florence that was not destroyed during the Second World War. Originally there were shops on the Ponte Vecchio butchers, blacksmiths and tanners, who used the Arno River as a real dustbin. These were later driven out in 1593 by Duke Ferdinando I because of the noise and stench they created. Since that time the shops on the Ponte Vecchio were rebuilt and leased it to the goldsmiths. Even today, the Ponte Vecchio in Florence there are many jewelry shops that specialize in both vintage and modern jewelery. The Ponte Vecchio is a bridge with three arches, resting on two strong pillars, with spurs in the form of the bow of the boat. In 1900, in the central part of the bridge, was placed the bust of Benvenuto Cellini, the most famous Florentine goldsmith. The Vasari Corridor was built in 1565 by Giorgio Vasari, architect of the Medici, to connect the Palazzo Vecchio with the Pitti Palace passing by the Uffizi and Ponte Vecchio. In practice serving the Medici family to move from one building to another without going into the street. The Corridor suite is built on top of the east side of the Ponte Vecchio and is adorned by portraits of many famous artists. The Vasari Corridor passes flow around the Tower of Marinelli, a medieval tower erected to protect the Ponte Vecchio, as the Marinelli family refused to demolish it to make way for the Corridor. The Ponte Vecchio is particularly charming and romantic at sunset, especially when viewed from the side of the bridge of the Holy Trinity.

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The Uffizi Gallery in Florence is one of the greatest museums in the world. Thanks to its extraordinary collections of paintings and sculpture is the main tourist attraction in Florence. The Uffizi houses a great artistic heritage, which includes thousands of paintings from medieval to modern, a large number of ancient sculptures, miniatures. Its collections of paintings from the fourteenth century and the Renaissance contain some absolute masterpieces of art of all time. Among the artists whose works have helped to enrich the Uffizi Gallery can remember Giotto, Simone Martini, Fra Angelico, Piero della Francesca, Botticelli, Filippo Lippi, Mantegna, Correggio, Raphael, Michelangelo, Leonardo and Caravaggio. Inside there are also works by German, Dutch and Flemish. These include: Dorer, Rembrandt and Rubens. The Uffizi Gallery occupies the top floor of the large building built between the mid-sixteenth century, designed by Giorgio Vasari. In the beginning the building was intended to accommodate the administrative and judicial offices (Uffizi) of the Florentine state. It was built by Grand-duke Francesco I and subsequently enriched by the Medici family. Subsequently, the Uffizi Gallery was rearranged and enlarged by the House of Lorraine, who succeeded the Medici, and later by the Italian State. It must at the same Vasari to build a tunnel that air passing over the Ponte Vecchio and the Church of Santa Felicita, connects the Uffizi Gallery with new Medici residence of Palazzo Pitti and ends in the Boboli Gardens. The Vasari Corridor is a corridor suspended realized in 1565 by Vasari and connects the building of the Uffizi with Palazzo Vecchio and Palazzo Pitti. In Vasari Corridor holds important collections of paintings of the seventeenth century.

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THE PITTI PALACE (IL PALAZZO PITTI)

The Pitti Palace is situated on the hill of Boboli and was built in the second half of the fifteenth by Luca Pitti, a wealthy merchant of Florence. Giorgio Vasari attributes the project to Filippo Brunelleschi to which the Pitti commissioned around 1440. From a painting by Alessandro Allori we can observe that the original building was formed by a compact body with seven windows on two floors and three portals. The structure of the Pitti Palace reflects the model of a Renaissance building: a cube whose height is equal to the depth, with a style of stone taken from the Boboli typical Florentine hills. The surface is divided into three floors, a balcony across the entire facade and under the roof there is a loggia. The facade is the result of expansions and new entries started from 1558 by Bartolomeo Ammannati who included two beautiful original windows in the side doors of the fifteenth century. The work was carried out by Giulio Parigi since 1618 and were added windows on the upper floors. In 1919 it was decreed the transfer of all assets to the Italian State, after nearly four centuries ended the royal function of Pitti and today is home to many of the most prestigious museums. The Palazzo Pitti along with other buildings annex Boboli Gardens are home to many of the most important Florentine museums. Walking through the large-scale there are in the first landing, three busts of Roman art, according to a sixteenth century statue of Antinous and the third are the Genius Medici, a boy holding a ball and a small hammer with tail dolphin. On the first floor you can admire a large vestibule with a large crystal chandelier of the eighteenth century, and from here you enter the Palatine Gallery and the Royal Apartments. Going up we can access the Gallery of Modern Art.

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GIOTTO'S BELL TOWER (CAMPANILE DI GIOTTO)

Giotto's bell tower is 85 meters high and 15 meters wide and is one of the largest examples of Florentine Gothic architecture of the thirteenth century. Giotto's Bell Tower in Florence is covered in marble white, red and green as those which adorn the cathedral, the bell tower was begun by Giotto in 1334. After the death of Giotto (in 1337) the project was continued by Andrea Pisano, who finished the first two floors respecting the plan of Giotto bell tower was embellished with outdoor decorations thanks to the intervention of Alberto Arnoldi. The work was then interrupted for 2 years (1348-1350) and then Giotto's Bell Tower was completed in 1359 (after the years of the Plague in Florence) by Francesco Talenti. Also on Talents then completed the work building a large terrace facing out to more than 400 steps from the ground which is the panoramic roof.

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MICHELANGELO'S DAVID

Michelangelo's David, originally located in Piazza della Signoria, was moved to the Accademia Gallery in 1873, with the 'intent to preserve it. Michelangelo's David, sculpted by Michelangelo between 1501 and the beginning of 1504, is widely considered a masterpiece of world sculpture, especially the Renaissance. Along with Moses and the Pieta is one of the most famous sculptures by Michelangelo. The David portrays the biblical hero when is going to face Goliath. The statue of white marble and 4.10 meters high, was commissioned as a symbol of the Florentine Republic. On 16 August 1501 the Opera del Duomo of Florence commissioned Michelangelo's statue of David to be placed in one of the external buttresses placed in the apse of the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Michelangelo to hide from prying eyes built a fence inside the Opera. The marble block was previously preform by Agostino di Duccio in 1464 and Antonio Rossellino in 1476 but both artists abandoned the marble sculpture judging too fragile not only being able to support the weight on the leg area, the opening of which had been dug. At that stage it was already expected that the hero was naked and that the Head of Goliath was not represented. The marble finally had a large amount of grain called “taròli” that Michelangelo arranged to fill and cover with lime mortar returning to the surface smoothness typical of his sculptures youth. According to the criterion of visibility Michelangelo enlarges certain parts, the head and hands, which seem disproportionate, even if the perfect design, this is because the initial project work included a view from below at a great distance optical devices that required for a better yield expression of the body. This effect partially visible even during his exhibition in Piazza della Signoria was further attenuated following his transfer to the museum where he was placed in a pedestal lower than 63 cm.

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PALAZZO VECCHIO

Palazzo Vecchio is the symbol of power in Florence. Since it was built in the fourteenth century has always been the seat of the Florentine government. Palazzo Vecchio still performs its functions as the seat of the Municipality of Florence. Completed in 1302 by Arnolfo di Cambio, the building retains its original medieval appearance while the interior was renovated by Cosimo I, when he left the old residence near San Lorenzo (now known as the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi in Via Cavour) and moved into the palace in 1540. The designation “old” was given to the building when Cosimo moved his court to the Pitti Palace. In the five years when Florence was capital of Italy (1865-71) was the seat of Parliament and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

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THE CATHEDRAL ( IL DUOMO)

The Cathedral of Saint air del Fiore is an imposing Gothic church built on the site where once stood the 'ancient cathedral of Florence, the Church of Santa Reparata, the remains of which are visible in the crypt. The cathedral was begun in the late thirteenth century by Arnolfo di Cambio, while the beautiful dome was added in the fifteenth century. The church was consecrated when the facade was not finished yet (it was later completely rebuilt in the nineteenth century). The façade is covered with marble pink, white and green. All 'inside of the dome can be seen from near the beautiful frescoes by Giorgio Vasari. Vasari designed and worked in an extraordinary Judgement, which, at his death, was completed by Federico Zuccari, his pupil, in 1579. The clock above the entrance was designed in 1443 by Paolo Uccello following the 'italic hour', according to which 24 hours of the day ends at sunset.

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CHURCH OF THE HOLY CROSS (BASILICA DI SANTA CROCE)

Church of the Holy Cross, which was rebuilt by the Franciscan religious order in 1294 by Arnolfo di Cambio, is called the Temple of Italian glories for the numerous tombs of illustrious Florentine and Tuscan. Michelangelo is buried in Holy Cross, as well as Rossini, Machiavelli and Galileo Galilei, who was not given a Christian burial until 1737 (95 years after his death) under the Inquisition. There is also a monumental tomb of Dante, but it is empty. The exterior of the church has a polychrome marble façade was added in 1863, was paid by the benefactor Englishman, Sir Francis Sloane. Every year the square is the scene of the famous Calcio Storico Fiorentino, costumed replica of an ancient medieval game. Holy Cross certainly preserves within it a great heritage; Gaddi's frescoes (1380) in the Cappella Maggiore, which tell the story of the Holy Cross, and beautiful frescoes by Giotto in the Bardi and Peruzzi Chapels, showing scenes from the life of St. Francis and St. John the Evangelist. Note the particularly high relief, the Annunciation, in stone with gilded by Donatello which is located on the wall of the right aisle. Also do not miss the tomb of Italian playwright Giovan Battista Niccolini to the left of the entrance, which reportedly inspired by the Statue of Liberty. The church of Holy Cross was heavily damaged in the 1966 flood. A plaque shows the highest level where the water came.

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