When we parked in Florence, we were atop a plateau looking over the city. You could see the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Uffizi and the Ponte Vecchio all from the lot!  I was extremely impressed with the city as soon as I saw it. It was, or at least it seemed from this vantage point, a lot smaller than I had thought it would be.  The dome was spectacular, it was like nothing I had ever seen before.  It was completed in 1436, designed by the great Filippo Brunelleschi.  To think that this humongous freestanding dome was built nearly 600 years ago, without modern construction machinery, and is still standing today is insane.  When we walked down into the city we were able to see the Duomo up close.  The facade of the cathedral itself was extremely ornate and beautifully detailed in green and pink. To be finally standing at the foot of this cathedral that I’ve learned so much about at home was incredible.

We explored the Uffizi, and were able to see some of the most famous works of art by artists like Boticelli, Michelangelo, DaVinci and many more. Not only was the artwork inside the Uffizi beautiful, but the building itself was a work of art. The ceilings were covered in frescos on every floor, and the hallways had windows to see outside into the courtyard. In Italian, uffizi translates to office in English. In 1560, Giorgio Vasari built the Uffizi for Cosimo I de’ Medici, to be used as the offices for Florentine magistrates.  After the Medici stopped using it as an office, they put all the artwork they had commissioned over the years on display there.  Many great artists got their start in Florence, and painted for the Medici family.  Cosimo I de’ Medici was head of the Medici bank in Florence, and an art collector. He would manage the pope’s finances and commission art, he eventually became the wealthiest man of his time.  Although he did not ever hold office in Florence, he was very powerful and controlled Florence through his wealth. He had two sons who continued to be bankers and represent the Medici bank and control Florence.  Cosimo and the rest of the Medici dynasty were responsible for the start of the Italian Renaissance and are credited with starting what would turn out to be the most prolific period of art in the history of the world.Lastly, we visited Santa Croce and the Ponte Vecchio.  A lot of famous poets, writers, painters and sculptors from Florence were buried in the walls and floors of Santa Croce, such as Michelangelo, DaVinci, Galileo, Machiavelli and Dante.  To be standing in front of the graves of these people who lived hundreds of years ago, and are the reason the world is what it is today, was awe inspiring. It is amazing that they are all in one place. The church was finished in 1443 and is today a beautiful resting spot of the Renaissance greats. I will miss Florence with all its colorful buildings and cobblestoned streets. Now, on to Toscana!

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