I love Florence!! It's probably one of my favorite destinations in Italy.
Florence is the birthplace of the Renaissance and it is the world’s celebrated jewel of Italian art and architecture. It is a living museum of the Renaissance headquartered in a medieval city-scape. I love the imposing palace, the Palazzo Vecchio on the Piazza della Signoria with the amzing gallery of statues, including a replica of Michelangelo’s David.
Florence is famous for voluptuous domes and incredible food and wine adventures. There are plenty of intimate restaurants and Vino con Vistas opportunities at every corner. Discover the culinary delicacies of Florence at the local market. Browse the stalls full of local produce and sample Florentine specialties, such as tripe, cheese and Tuscan croutons.
The Mercato Centrale or Mercato di San Lorenzo is located between via dell’Ariento, via Sant’Antonino, via Panicale and Piazza del Mercato Centrale.
Enter this building for the MERCATO CENTRALE: Stalls inside the San Lorenzo central market, on Via dell’Ariento
Florence rose to economic and cultural pre-eminence under the mighty Medici dynasty in the 15th and 16th centuries. The churches, galleries and palaces are brimming with Renaissance masterpieces. Marvel at the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore and ascend Brunelleschi’s Dome. Browse the jewelry and artisan stalls along the Ponte Vecchio, the medieval bridge over the Arno River.
The city was built on the site of an Etruscan settlement and has 600 years of extraordinary artistic activity. It is an incredibly compact city for walking. Walk to the Piazzale Michelangelo at sunset for a glimmering moonlit cityscape. Marvel at her panoramic glory as the cloak of darkness descends over her dimly lit splendor.
Here are some UNESCO photos of Florence, Italy: http://www.ourplaceworldheritage.com/custom.cfm?&action=site®ionid=9&site_country=ITALY&site_name=Historic Centre of Florence
Natural and man-made disasters have threatened the city’s wealth of art history. In 1966, the Arno River’s devastating flood destroyed or severely damaged Florentine treasures. In 1993, a mafia bomb exploded near the Uffizi and severely damaged the gallery. The Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge to escape Nazi bombs during World War II.
Her glorious past is evident in the monumental grandeur of her structures. The 13th century cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Church of Santa Croce, the Uffizi, Santa Maria Novella, Santa Maria del Carmine, the Galleria dell’Accademia, the Bargello and the Pitti Palace are incredible repositories of Renaissance art.
The Cappella Brancacci is a small chapel reached through the cloisters of the Santa Maria del Carmine Church. Most of the church was destroyed in a fire in 1771. The fire did destroy the old sacristy, which still has its chapel with Scenes from the life of St Cecilia attributed to Lippo d’Andrea (c. 1400), the Brancacci Chapel in the right transept, or the Corsini Chapel in the left. It is considered a miracle that the Brancacci and Corsini Chapels survived the intense fire that destroyed everything else in less than 4 hours.
The Church belongs to the Carmelite order, and like San Lorenzo, has an unfinished façade.
Two layers of frescoes commissioned in 1424 by Felice Brancacci, a wealthy Florentine merchant and statesman, illustrate the life of St. Peter, shown in his orange gown. The frescoes were designed by Masolino da Panicale, who began painting them with his pupil Masaccio. In 1428, Masaccio took over from Masolino but died later that year, aged 27, and the remaining parts were completed by Filippino Lippi in the 1480s.
Visit the Cappella Brancacci through the cloisters of the Santa Maria del Carmine Church. Tribute Money by Masaccio, below.
Masaccio was the first great painter of the Italian Renaissance, whose innovations in the use of scientific perspective inaugurated the modern era in painting. One of his great innovations was the use of light to define the human body and its draperies.
“In these frescoes, rather than bathing his scenes in flat uniform light, he painted them as if they were illuminated from a single source of light (the actual chapel window), thus creating a play of light and shadow (chiaroscuro) that gave them a natural, realistic quality unknown in the art of his day.”
|The Brancacci Chapel or Cappella dei Brancacci is sometimes called the Sistine Chapel of the early Renaissance for its painting cycle, among the most famous and influential of the period. The Brancacci Chapel has one of the supreme masterpieces of renaissance painting: the fresco cycle of Scenes from the life of St Peter, mostly painted in collaboration by Masaccio and Masolino between 1425 and 1427. Of these six fresco scenes, Tribute Money and the Expulsion from Paradise are considered Masaccio’s masterpieces.
Construction of the chapel was commissioned by Pietro Brancacci and begun in 1386. The patron of the pictorial decoration was Felice Brancacci, descendant of Pietro, who had served as the Florentine ambassador to Cairo until 1423. Upon his return to Florence, he hired Masolino da Panicale to paint his chapel. Masolino’s associate, 21 year old Masaccio, 18 years younger than Masolino, assisted, but during painting Masolino left to go to Hungary, where he was painter to the king so the commission was given to Masaccio.
By the time Masolino returned he was learning from his talented former student. However, Masaccio was called to Rome before he could finish the chapel, and died in Rome at the age of 27. Portions of the chapel were completed later by Filippino Lippi. Unfortunately, during the Baroque period some of the paintings were seen as unfashionable and a tomb was placed in front of them.
This fresco cycle, with the exception of the first two, tells the story of St Peter, as follows:
Expulsion from the Garden (Masaccio)
Tribute Money (Masaccio)
Healing of the Cripple and Raising of Tabitha (Masolino)
St Peter Preaching (Masolino)
Baptism of the Neophytes (Masaccio)
St Peter Healing the Sick with his Shadow (Masaccio)
Distribution of Alms and Death of Ananias (Masaccio)
Raising of the Son of Theophilus and St Peter Enthroned (Masaccio and Filippino Lippi)
Disputation with Simon Magus and Crucifixion of St Peter (Filippino Lippi)
St Paul Visiting St Peter in Prison (Filippino Lippi)
Peter Being Freed from Prison (Filippino Lippi)
Florence has the largest concentration of Renaissance art and sculpture in the world. Landmark cloisters, chapels and refectories are all galleries of Renaissance art.
Book a room at Hotel Lungarno
on the banks of the Arno with stunning views of the Ponte Vecchio. It has over 400 original works of art including Picasso and Ferragamo’s fashion sketches.
I usually stay at Hotel California because I love the location. I love listening to the bells of the Duomo.
Don’t miss the Bargello Museum
an austere medieval fortress. In addition to David, you can see Donatello’s David, Michelangelo’s Bacchus, and Ghiberti’s designs for the the Cathedral doors.
I love the Gothic Church of Santa Maria Novella. The exterior is the work of Fra Jacopo Talenti and Leon Battista Alberti.
Make sure to spend time admiring Masaccio’s “The Holy Trinity” fresco (1427-28); with the Virgin and Saint John and donors located in the Dominican church of Santa Maria Novella, in Florence. Masaccio was the first painter in the Renaissance to incorporate Brunelleschi’s discovery, linear perspective.
The interior holds extraordinary works of art including Masaccio‘s Trinità. Holy Trinity, 1427, Fresco, (Santa Maria Novella, Florence (below).
Ghirlandaio‘s fresco cycle in the Tornabuoni Chapel; The Cappella Tornabuoni is the main chapel (or chancel) in the church of Santa Maria Novella, Florence, Italy. It is famous for the extensive and well-preserved fresco cycle on its walls, one of the most complete in the city, which was created by Domenico Ghirlandaio and his workshop between 1485 and 1490.
Using classical pilasters and entablatures, Ghirlandaio divided the two enormous walls under the wall rib in this Gothic chapel into six horizontally rectangular picture fields. They are placed above each other in three layers and are crowned by a pointed tympanum.
Giovanna degli Albizzi (above) had married Lorenzo Tornabuoni in 1486 when she was not yet eighteen years old — a marriage arranged through the mediation of Lorenzo’s cousin, Lorenzo the Magnificent (below).
Giotto‘s Crucifix, hangs from the center of the nave, high above the steps that separate the lower from the upper church, painted between 1288 and 1289. The crucifix, which is nineteen feet high. At the end of each arm of the cross are square panels depicting the Virgin and St. John, each of whom looks inward at the figure of Christ.
In Florence, there are two crucifixes by Giotto. The first one is in the church of Santa Maria Novella, the second one in the Ognissanti church.
The Crucifix by Giotto hangs in the center of the central nave as all his crucifixes were intended to remind you of Christ’s actual crucifixion on the wooden cross.
Take time to visit the Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella. under-the-radar attraction. It’s one of the world’s oldest pharmacies, which once made treatments for the Black Death.
Today, the Florentine company makes award-winning, botanically inspired beauty products that inspire a cult following.
Then visit The Convent of San Marco. Many of the great figures of 15th-century Florentine culture and spirituality lived and worked in the convent: Cosimo il Vecchio de’ Medici, who had his own cell here, where he loved to pray and meditate; Archbishop St Antoninus; the Blessed Fra Angelico, who painted the frecoes; and, from 1489, Fra Girolamo Savonarola, who preached about the immorality of Florence and who was hanged and burnt in Piazza della Signoria (1498).
To learn more about Florence read www.vino-con-vista.com Travel Guides.