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Florence, in the name of “art”

The cradle of
Renaissance, the mother of the Italian language and the national best wits, an open-work museum, the capital of culture and an icon of fashion too.

 This is Florence, the messenger of the Italian art in the world: when you visit the Tuscan town, you’ll feel the brilliance and cleverness that enabled to put together the different works of art along the centuries so you’ll see the monuments and you’ll understand at the same time that they are treasure chests that contain a composite anthology of art. We cannot include them all in an article but there are a number of “must”, starting from the Uffizi Art Gallery, one of the most famous museums in the world because of its collections of paintings and ancient statues. Its collections of paintings from the XIVth century and the Renaissance contain a number of masterpieces such as Giotto, Botticelli, Mantegna, Correggio, Leonardo, Raffaello, Michelangelo, Simone Martini, Piero della Francesca, Beato Angelico, Filippo Lippi and Caravaggio.

Another icon of the town is Palazzo Vecchio, dating back to the XIVth century, one of the best-known palaces together with the Arnolfo Tower with its Ghibellin merlons. Inside the palace, in the “salone dei Cinquecento” (Hall of the Five Hundred), a number of frescoes dating back to the XVIth century painted by Vasari stand out as well as a number of marble sculptures by Michelangelo. On the right of Palazzo Vecchio and next to the Uffizi Gallery there is the historical Loggia della Signoria that is a landmark of the town as well as the very famous Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge); it is a medieval stone closed-spandrel segmental arch bridge over the Arno river surrounded by historical shops built under two rows of ancient arcades that have been later closed. In the middle of the bridge two panoramic terraces interrupt the row of the historical shops: the one on the East has got a corridor designed by Vasari on the top of it and the other one features the monument with the statue of Benvenuto Cellini.

Let’s move on to the Ecclesiastic choreographies, starting from the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Saint Mary of the Flower) with its dome engineered by Brunelleschi that features the town’s skyline. And the Bell Tower? It was engineered by Giotto and finished by Andrea Pisano and Francesco Talenti. And the Baptistery? It is one of the oldest buildings of Florence with its invaluable doors; one of these doors is the masterpiece by Lorenzo Ghiberti. Another masterpiece of the history of art can be admired in the Brancacci Chapel of the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine: it houses outstanding Renaissance frescos by Masolino and Masaccio, the old and the young, the master and the pupil who made the frescos that were commissioned by a wealthy silk merchant, Felice Brancacci. Among the most aristocratic characters of Florence Palazzo Pitti stands out, it is a huge building built by means of the “bugnato” technique that hosts a number of different museums: the Palatine Gallery – with masterpieces by Tiziano and other outsiders -, the Gallery of Modern Art with the works by artists of the “macchiaioli” movement- the Porcelain Museum, the Carriages Museum, the Silver Museum and the Costume Gallery, the greatest Italian museum dedicated to fashion.

 Let’s go back to the ecclesiastic drawings by mentioning the Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross): built according to the project of Arnolfo di Cambio, it features a huge interior, simple and majestic at the same time and a precious Crucifixion by Cimabue hosted in the Cappella dei Pazzi. Among the oldest Florentine churches San Lorenzo stands out – it is the background of a square where a lively street market is arranged – and the extension of the apse of San Lorenzo is the chapel of Princes, wanted by Ferdinando I de’ Medici. The complex of Santa Maria Novella is amazing, from its frescoed cloisters up to Palazzo Strozzi, an amazing example of the Renaissance architecture. From there you can reach Palazzo Rucellai, Palazzo Davanzati and Palazzo Corsini, among the best examples of the Florentine Baroque.

San Miniato al Monte (St. Minia on the Mountain) is a Romanesque jewel, it features a patterned pavement and the Cappella del Crocifisso (Chapel of the Crucifix) designed by Michelozzo. Considering the talent and the designs we could write about Florence for hours… what you have been reading so far is just a “taste” of the Tuscan town. The extraordinary amount of masterpieces is there, in the city of Dante, waiting to be visited, admired and understood in its multi-century splendour.

Luciana Francesca Rebonato

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