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A morning stroll around Florence

I caught a #22 bus and 15 minutes later was in the middle of Florence without a map or a clue where anything was. First rule in travelling is follow the crowds, so I did. I passed dozens of shops selling leathergoods (florence is famous for its fine leatherwear, be it clothing, jackets, handbags or gloves) and dozens of shops selling pizza or pasta or paninis for the hungry hordes later in the day. I turned a corner and almost had to sit down at my first sighting of the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Flowers, or Il Duomo of Florence as it also known. I was faced with what I consider to be the most stunningly beautiful building I have ever seen, and I was left not knowing where to point the camera. Building the Duomo was started in 1296, and took 140 years to finish. But then it wasn't really finished because the outside wall remained bare until a competition was held in the 1870's to design and build a facade to make the outside look special. They picked a winner and it rook over 10 years from 1876 to complete the present day stunner of a facade. It is all done in shades of green and pink marble bordered in white, but the detailing in every square inch is exquisite. I walked all around it but could only capture a fraction of it on camera. Finally I spotted a queue and stood in line for 10 minutes expecting to be able to get inside and have a look around. When I got to the head of the queue I was told in Italian that I had to buy a ticket at another place somewhere around the corner and then I could join the line again, but not to see inside, only to climb the hundreds of stairs to the top of the dome. Well sorry, but that isn't going to happen this trip. I was also told in Italian the to view the inside come back in an hour and join a different queue. So I kept walking, and following the crowds until I came to a square filled with statues, and longer queues, and then I saw the famous Ufizi museum 2 hour queues starting to form further up the road. So I kept walking until I reached the river, and was drawn to go and have a look at the Ponte Vecchio (Italian for Old Bridge) The old bridge is old. It was built in its present form in 1345, and has always had shops on either side of a walkway. For a long time (until 1593) it was full of butchers shops ( because it was easy to dump what couldn't be sold into the river below the shop). The were kicked off the bridge by one of the Medicis in 1593, and their place was taken by Goldsmith Jewellers. In the center of the bridge is a memorial to Benvenutu Cellini. One of Florences most colourful characters of the 16th century who was amongst other things a master goldsmith, sculpter, musician, and author. The bronze statue of Perseus holding Medusa's head (in my photos under wow) could be one of his. Many of the women I have known (especially one called Leone) have had a thing about gold and jewels so I decided to take a few photos of what is available on the Ponte Vecchio ( just in case you ever find yourself in Florence, with nothing to do....

My first sighting of Duomo in the distance

My first sighting of Duomo in the distance


The most beautiful building I have ever seen

The most beautiful building I have ever seen


hard to capture, it is huge

hard to capture, it is huge


from the top

from the top


to the  bottom

to the bottom


another try

another try


walking around it

walking around it


lining up for entry

lining up for entry


getting closer

getting closer


at the door

at the door


the amazing detail in just 1 square metre

the amazing detail in just 1 square metre


my best shot of the dome

my best shot of the dome


and the bell tower

and the bell tower


one of the living statues hanging around

one of the living statues hanging around


at least they feed them

at least they feed them


a powerful bronze of Dante

a powerful bronze of Dante


one for the ladies

one for the ladies


and another

and another


this is the city of Michaelangelo's David

this is the city of Michaelangelo's David


wow

wow


art for art's sake, eh Keith

art for art's sake, eh Keith


my first view of the Ponte Vecchio built 1345

my first view of the Ponte Vecchio built 1345


walking along the Arno river to the bridge

walking along the Arno river to the bridge


one shop window out of dozens

one shop window out of dozens


another

another


another

another


another

another


another

another


last one

last one


view downriver

view downriver


bust of 16th century Benvenuto Cellini

bust of 16th century Benvenuto Cellini


view upriver

view upriver


the shops are housed in medieval buildings

the shops are housed in medieval buildings


walking the bridge

walking the bridge


another view

another view


Florence shops also full of finest leatherware

Florence shops also full of finest leatherware

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Italy

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