Friday, June 7, 2019

May 18 - Florence

May 2019 - Florence Italy

We slept in and missed breakfast, but not a problem they insisted on making us coffee and pastries before we leave.

Imagine, it is raining!

Piazza della SS Annunziata is designed to be appreciated for its elegance, its harmonizing colors and its peaceful character.

Other than the church itself, mentioned below, there is the romantic loggia (or portico) next to the Palazzo Grifoni: Loggia dei Servi di Maria. Built between 1516-1525,  created by Baccio d'Agnolo e Antonio da Sangallo il Vecchio, the arches and columns complete the symmetry in the square.

Though Brunelleschi intended for the circles between the columns on the Loggia for the Hospital to remain empty, Andrea della Robbia was selected in 1490 - long after Brunelleschi’s demise - to decorate the six frontal and 4 lateral concaves. The 10 “tondi” or medallions have the standard light blue backgrounds with white “putti” dressed in swaddling cloth to represent the abandoned children and orphans.

The two fountains were designed and created by Pietro Taccà, a loyal student and successor to Giambologna.
The fountains were intended for the Port of Livorno but Ferdinando II, the grandson to Ferdinando I insisted that they remain in Florence in this square.

You can’t help but notice the massive statue of Ferdinando I de' Medici astride a stallion. This bronze was designed by Giambologna, who by now had reached international fame for his equestrian statues. The life size statue of Ferdinando I was cast in 1602 using bronze from cannons on Turkish galleys captured in war, and was placed in the square in 1608.


The Basilica della Santissima Annunziata (Basilica of the Most Holy Annunciation) is a Roman Catholic minor basilica and the mother church of the Servite order.
Founded in 1250, was rebuilt in 1444-81 by Michelozzo and completed by Leon Battista Alberti, two of the greatest architects of the Renaissance.

That's me, discovering that my new phone was not taking every photo I thought I took...

Love this photo.

Do you see a window that has the frame but has been sealed off? The would-be assassins of Grand Duke Cosimo I planned their attack from this very site. After hanging the attempted murderers sent by Pandolfo Pucci, the Duke ordered the window sealed, to avoid further temptation and as a warning to others.

Lots of leather stores along here. We each bought new wallets across the street from here.

We're back in Piazza della Signoria in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, you just seem to always walk through these squares on your way elsewhere.

John panicked when he last sight of me because I had stopped to look at this busker.

That's what cell phones are for! Message: where are you? I'm in the middle of the square.

Narrow courtyard of the Uffizi Gallery facing the Arno.

Ponte Vecchio

Crossing the bridge.

Many of the exclusive gold and jewelry stores are owned by descendants of the 41 artisans set up on the bridge in the 16th century by Cosimo I de' Medici. Cosimo had Giorgio Vasari build him an elevated corridor so he could hurry between his home and his office without mixing with the crowds.

Not long after his corridor was complete, however, Cosimo found something else to complain about: The stench rising to his private skywalk from the butchers and skin tanners beneath, whose workshops had traditionally lined the Ponte Vecchio since at least the 12th century.

Cosimo summarily booted out the butchers, moved in the far classier goldsmiths—and, naturally, raised the rent.

Those Medicis just show up everywhere in Florence!

You only see these odd uniforms on the foot police on the bridge.

Of course, Cosimo's downtown "office" was what we now know as the world-class museum of the Uffizi , and his "home" was the palatial new Medici residence in the Palazzo Pitti on the other side of the river. This corridor still crosses the Ponte Vecchio atop the shop roofs on the eastern side (part of the Uffizi.

And the Pitti is where we're headed.
There are some wonderful shops on the way to another Medici home.

This shop had the most original t-shirts (and good quality) I've seen in Europe.

The Palazzo Pitti in English sometimes called the Pitti Palace, is a vast, mainly Renaissance, palace. It is situated o the south side of the River Arno, a short distance from the Ponte Vecchio. The core of the present palazzo dates from 1458 and was originally the town residence of Luca Pitti, an ambitious Florentine banker.

The palace was bought by the Medici family in 1549 and became the chief residence of the ruling families of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. It grew as a great treasure house as later generations amassed paintings, plates, jewelry and luxurious possessions.

In the late 18th century, the palazzo was used as a power base by Napoleon and later served for a brief period as the principal royal palace of the newly united Italy. The palace and its contents were donated to the Italian people by King Victor Emmanuel III in 1919.

We took the same photos in 2004!

The Marzocco is the Florentine heraldic lion.

We were lucky that the security gates opened to allow a car inside so we could get this photo.

The Buontalenti Grotto (also called  "Grotta Grande" in Italian) in Boboli Gardens is an artificial grotto designed by Bernardo Buontalenti and built between 1583 and 1593 ca. at the end of the Vasari Corridor on commission from Grand Duke Francesco I de’ Medici. It is one of the most spectacular and captivating places in Boboli Gardens, a real fairy-tale treasure chest, originally embellished by water features, and finely decorated with mother-of-pearl, shells, artificial stalactites and stones which frame frescoes and seem to confine beautiful and twisted body sculptures by famous Renaissance artists like Baccio Bandinelli or Giambologna portrayed in their effort to come out of the walls, in a sort of birth out of the elements like earth and water.

Down a back street to find some street art.

And you can see these two pieces on the wall beside Pinocchio.

Click the links below for more Florence Street Art.

Florence Street Art 1 Clet
Florence Street Art 2 Blub
Florence Street Art 3 Superwomen

Still on the same street, it is cheerfully decorated.

At the end of the street we were in Piazza Santo Spirito.


Piazza Santo Spirito was founded in the second half of the 1200’s. It was built to welcome the faithful that came to pray together with the Augustinian friars who had built a convent with a church dedicated to «Santa Maria d'Ognissanti e allo Santo Spirito» This church eventually became known simply as “Chiesa di Santo Spirito”, for which the square is named.
Built on a design by Filippo Brunelleschi in 1444, the Basilica was the last masterpiece by this celebrated architect. At the time of his death the project was passed over to Antonio Manetti, Giovanni da Gaiole and Salvi d’Andrea, who finished the church by the end of the 1400’s.

And imagine, a church we didn't go into!

A farmers' market was taking place.

We stay on that side of the river and walk to the San Niccolo

If only you could smell this wisteria!

Do we want to go up further? No.

Closed inside the avenues traced on the old medieval walls, the historic centre of Florence collects the city's most important cultural heritage sites. Delimited by the 14th century wall circuit, built thanks to the economic and commercial power reached at the time, knew its maximum splendor in the following two centuries.

Crossing back to the other side and it starts raining, yet again.

Orsanmichele is a rather long name for a church, comprised of three different words all compressed into one. First documented in the year 895, it stood as an oratory in the monastery St. Michael (San Michele). The construction was surrounded by a vegetable garden (orto) belonging to the Benedictine monastery.

Thus the name, a bit modified over the years, became known as: Or - San - Michele.

The austre external portion of the church shows that it is set on three floors, much like an office building, and it is a mix of simple walls in gray stone, intricate Gothic arches and windows, outdoor nichès with various sculptures and, even if you look for it, you won't find a regal formal “front” door. The entrance to the church is around the corner in the back.

The Madonna of the Rose.

Obviously not the church, an entrance to a hotel.

Our plan for a late lunch here was thwarted by the fact they closed at 3 PM until 7.

When you're hungry!! It is now starting to pour so back to the hotel for a couple of hours.

Still raining we choose a local restaurant for dinner, and gluten free was not an issue.

Links to previous posts about this trip:

May 12    Bordeaux to Loire Valley
May 16 - Rome
Week 3 Recap
May 18 - Florence
Florence Street Art 1 Clet
Florence Street Art 2 Blub
Florence Street Art 3 Superwomen

1 comment:

  1. One of the world's most beautiful cities, if not the most.


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