- The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes. Marcel Proust
Travel to Florence, Italy
Esteemed Florence isn’t just one of Italy’s greatest cities – it’s one of Europe’s cultural jewels. First-time visitors have a habit of being overwhelmed by the sheer depth of the place, spending their time dashing from one masterpiece to the next. It's understandable: the cradle of the Renaissance houses some of the world's greatest artistic treasures.
The residents of Florence are referred to as Florentines. They are credited with the reinvention of money, in the form of ‘gold florins.’ By financing the industries all across Europe, the English kings during the 100-years war, as well as the papacy, the gold florins are said to be responsible for driving the Dark Ages away from Europe. In fact, the invention of the Renaissance and neoclassical architecture is attributed to Florentines – Filippo Brunelleschi and Leon Batist’ Alberti. Other major cities of Europe, such as London, Rome, and Paris are heavily influenced from these forms of architecture.
While there are several ways to go sightseeing in Florence, the best way is to do it on foot as most of the places of interest in the city are within walking distance of one another. The museums of Florence are a must-see. Most of these museums, such as Galleria degli Uffizi and the Bargello possess a superb collection of paintings from the time of the Renaissance. Others, such as the Accademia Gallery is known for its collection of Michelangelo’s works, especially his unfinished work called Slaves. Another place of interest is the Pitti Palace, the palace of the Medici family. You will be able to see their famed art collection for yourself.
Its ancient palaces, curvaceous domes and lofty basilicas are stuffed with fine art and world-class galleries, most prominently the Uffizi. The whole of the city’s historic centre is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
If you want to get away from the crowds (notably the millions who descend on the city in the summer), head to the city’s south where there are hills, gardens and churches. A walk up to San Miniato hill takes you to one of the highest points of the city, topped by a Romanesque basilica. The views are superb.