In Florence, we again utilized the globally present hop-on, hop-off tour bus. The quality of the touring service has been consistently rewarding during this year. It was especially practical in Florence because the history of the region is spread all over the city and surrounding area.
Seamus on the tourist bus.
The bus took us to a few locations that we likely would have missed if we were relying on our legs for transportation. One of which was the small town of Fiesole, approximately five miles out of Florence. Most of Fiesole’s fame is because of it’s location in relation to Florence.
A view over Tuscany from the Fiesole.
On a hill to the North East, Fiesole offers magnificent views of the capital of Tuscany. Fiesole is also visited because of the Roman ruins that remain there.
Fiesole on the hill.
Closer to town, yet still handily reached by the bus was the Piazzale Michelangelo. The square, dedicated to the artist, features a replica of the David statue. Not to mention, like Fiesole, the Piazzale also has spectacular views.
The David copy in the Piazzale Michelangelo.
After we felt that we had used the bus to its full potential we spent some time on foot, dilly-dallying around the city. Our last stop on the bus was at the Boboli Gardens.
Looking down over the Boboli gardens.
The expansive gardens took some time to explore. We spent ages admiring the sculptures, foliage and fountains only to discover we had overlooked the series of museums the garden held.
Seamus in the Boboli Gardens.
Unable to ignore the stunning collection of items from the fifteenth to seventieth century, we took a quick walk through the museum, rushing to see everything before closing.
Pegasus in the Boboli gardens.
From there we walked deeper into Florence and happened to cross Florence’s renowned Ponte Vecchio. The bridge has a remarkably unique design.
Meadhbh standing on the Ponte Vecchio.
It’s Medieval stone arch is not unusual in Europe, however the Ponte Vecchio is different in that shops line either side of the bridge, protruding over the Arno River.
View of the city, including the Ponte Vecchio from Piazzale Michelangelo.
Past the bridge we found ourselves at the Florence Cathedral, commonly called the Duomo. The cathedral is adored by locals and tourists alike because of its pastel, easter egg-like facade.
Art is to be found everywhere in Florence, whether it be in the architecture, gardens or fountains. The city also features many pieces of art in the main squares for the public’s enjoyment.
A medici lion in the Loggia dei Lanzi.
We found one of the best examples of this in the Piazza della Signoria. The Piazza is one of the oldest and most popular squares of the city. The spotlight of the square is the town hall, called Palazzo Vecchio.
A catapult beloning to the medieval festival.
However, the real prize of the square is to be found in a corner off to the side. In a sheltered space called Loggia dei Lanzi there is an assortment of brilliantly made sculptures. The theme of the statues depict Florence’s pride for their Italian culture and history. Many were characters from old Roman mythology.
Meadhbh and Seamus watching the medieval happenings.
Two men sword fighting.
A man making leather shoes.
Near our unit, we saw another expression of the Florentine love of history. In a cleared pad a large group of people had set up a medieval festival. Everyone was wearing the clothes of old.
The medieval people wore elaborate costumes.
Some were fencing in the grassy areas. Along the edges of their grounds tiny huts sold medieval themed goods, some exercising their trade on display.
The medieval festival.
This included leather books bound by hand, hand crafted shoes and iron jewelry. Recipes from the middle ages were also offered.
The drummers of the parade.
The leaders of the medieval parade.
We observed the group for until the rainy weather interfered. However, the climate did not rain on the parade of the medieval folk! On the contrary, when it began to rain they assembled and began a parade, complete with horns, drums and batons.
Seamus and Wanda’s defence against the rain.
They began to march into the city as we marched home.