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If Florence, Italy is on your list of summer vacation spots this year there a many historical and ornately beautiful places you will not want to miss. The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Duomo, the ancient Cathedral of Santa Reparata, the Dome, Giotto's Belltower, the Baptistery, the Medici Chapel, the Piazza San Lorenzo and much more will help create one of the most amazing vacations you have ever had.
The grand Cathedral was started in 1296 by Arnolfo di Cambio, who was commissioned by the Republic to rebuild on the site where the cathedral of Florence had once stood. The facing on the building is done in three colors of marble with numerous statues representing the bishops who blessed the first stones. The Duomo is divided into three naves by composite pillars which support pointed Gothic vaults in a typical example of Florentine Gothic architecture. Next to the Duomo you will find the Pieta which was sculpted by Michelangelo to be placed on his tomb. The Dome was constructed by Filippo Brunelleschi who won a competition to build this magnificent structure. Giotto's Belltower even today remains of such incredible beauty that it is considered to have no competitors in all the world. This colossal work was started by Giotto in 1334, continue by Pisano and finished off by Francesco Talenti in 1359.
The Baptistery is one of the oldest buildings in Florence. This lovely construction was judged to have been built in the eleventh or twelfth century on the remains of a paleo-christian monument. The three entrance doors which are of exceptional interest, are place according to the cardinal points. Inside the Baptistery the ceilings are covered with the mosaics of the Cupola. The Medici Chapel houses the New Sacristy done by Michelangelo around 1520 to 1533. It also houses the three famous tombs done by Michelangelo in which night, day, dusk and dark are represented in a human form. The Chapel of the Princes inside the Medici Chapel, has walls that are covered in brightly colored precious marble.
The Piazza della Signoria is Florence's most famous and beautiful square. Circled by many of the older buildings, it contains the celebrated Fountain of Neptune and numerous celebrated statues. The Loggia of the Signoria is a rare example of late Gothic work. It was built for the elections and proclamations, as well as, other ceremonies. The Palazzo Vecchio is one of the principal architectural monuments in Florence. Rising majestically, this medieval public palace is graced with elegant character. The Academy Gallery houses the famous sculpture of David by Michelangelo, as well as, many other famous works. Along the water front in Florence you will find the Ponte Vecchio, which is so called because it is the oldest bridge in Florence. Built in 972 of wood, it was destroyed once by the river and rebuilt in stone in 1333.
With so much to see in Florence, one would not want to miss the lush Boboli Gardens. Here on the island in the middle of the Isolotto pond is the Fountain of the Ocean by Alfonso Parigi. Emerging from the water are Andromeda and Perseus. Around the fountain are statues representing the Nile, Ganges and Euphrates rivers. These gardens are also known for their incredible panoramic views.