Florence, walkable city
Living in Florence means being immersed in beauty every day. From the church facades to the alleys steeped in history, from the poetic riverbanks to the most hidden corners, this city is a veritable open-air museum. And the best part is that, it is entirely accessible on foot!
Florence, in fact, despite being a European capital, is one of the "top walkable cities" in the world. Indeed, straight out of the Central train station, you are catapulted in front of the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, an authentic masterpiece in white marble and green “serpentine” from Prato, designed by Leon Battista Alberti.
Within a few steps, lies the Basilica of San Lorenzo, which for 300 years was the cathedral of Florence, with the extraordinary Medici Chapels. Moving along, you arrive in Piazza San Giovanni where, nestled between the narrow streets of the center, stands the massive Duomo complex, with the San Giovanni Battista Baptistery and the cathedral. The latter, designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, in 1412, was named Santa Maria del Fiore, and at the time of its completion, was the third church in the world and the largest in Europe: 153 meters long, 90 meters wide and 90 meters from the floor to the lantern.
Leaving the cathedral with Giotto's wonderful bell tower and Brunelleschi's extraordinary Dome behind you, whose 600 years since the beginning of construction will be celebrated in 2020, continuing along Via dei Calzaiuoli, you will reach Piazza della Signoria. Here you will find another tower that dominates the space: Palazzo Vecchio, a fourteenth-century building, currently the City Town Hall. In front of the building, the Loggia dei Lanzi, a treasure chest that holds immortal sculptures such as the Perseus of Cellini or the Rape of the Sabines by Giambologna.
A few steps from the square, you will come across one of the most visited places in the world: the Uffizi Museum, with its boundless collection of masterpieces, a considerable exhibition that includes the works of Raphael, Botticelli, Giotto, Titian, Caravaggio, Tintoretto and many others.
From the Uffizi, overlooking and walking a few meters down the riverside, you will reach the famous Ponte Vecchio, surmounted by the equally famous Vasari Corridor that connected the Uffizi to Palazzo Pitti. Crossing the Arno river, you will be enraptured by the sparkling shops, whose windows showcase real artworks of goldsmithing.
Just a few more steps and you are in Palazzo Pitti, once home to the Medici, while a little further along is Boboli Gardens, the green city lung and most famous example in the world of Italian gardens.
Do you see how marvelous walking through Florence can be and how many centuries of history you cross?