With Lucio Dalla (listen here) playing through the car speakers, Mom, Dad, and I set off for Florence. After the adrenaline rush of driving through the city and finding parking, we go straight to the Galleria degli Uffizi. In one building, we are able to enjoy the works of Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Botticelli, Giotto, and all of the teenage mutant turtles (Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael). There is so much to see that so many other great paintings and sculptures get lost in the mix. There is a bit of excitement getting into the museum because we have come to Florence at the peak of tourist season, but it ends up being well worthwhile.
Although only a short visit to a city that offers so much, we fill it with highlights. We climb Giotto’s Campanile on the Piazza del Duomo and get an expansive view of the city from above. We admire the Ponte Vecchio, Florence’s most famous bridge crossing the Arno at its narrowest point. We have a big dinner at Gusta Pizza. Dad finds an excellent souvenir, a copy of Leonardo’s perpetual clock. And all of this despite a threatening drizzle all day.
Florence, the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, was one of the political, economic, and cultural centers of Europe between the 14th and 16th centuries. The language of Florence is now accepted as what we know as Italian thanks to famous authors such as Dante. Florentine money was responsible for the development of industry all over Europe, and Florentine locals financed governments and projects including the papacy not too far away. It was home to the Medici’s, who had international influence and were one of the world’s most important families. And this is just a start of what makes Florence so unique.