An inspiring self-guided audio walking tour in the heart of Florence. Discover credible and original stories written by top local professionals. Take your tour now and enjoy it instantly on your smartphone device.
Florence: The battle against water and time is a tour that will guide you through the most important landmarks of Florence as you discover amazing stories about both their creation and their battle against erosion and time. The main focus of the tour is the River Arno, and how it is both invigorating and destructive for the city it flows through.
The tour begins at the Baptistery of St. John with its famous doors referred to by Michelangelo as fit to be the “Gates of Paradise.” The church of Santa Maria Del Fiore was the city’s new cathedral; it is in the Gothic style with pointed arches and tall windows and served as a cathedral, a meeting place, and a market. In 1366 the church was enlarged with the addition of an octagonal choir covered by Brunelleschi’s famous dome. The cornerstone for the Campanile adjacent to the Baptistery of St. John, was laid in July 1334. Giotto, an accomplished painter and architect of the early Renaissance, was commissioned to design it but he died before the tower’s completion.
Orsanmichele was the church of the guilds. Petrarch, the preeminent poet of early Renaissance, wrote in his sonnets that the fourteen statues that adorn the exterior walls appear “as if they can breathe, lacking only speech.” They depict the guilds’ patron saints and their style varies: Ghiberti and Nani Di Banco followed the Gothic style, while Donatello drew inspiration from the classical statues of ancient Greece and Rome.
In the heart of Florence the town hall (Palazzo Vecchio) combined administrative and defensive functions. It was the city’s armoury and accommodated the members of the Signoria. And yet it is the monuments of the Medici, one of the most influential Renaissance families in Italy that truly catch our eyes. The Uffizi Gallery (the oldest European museum) and Vasari’s Corridor that connects the private residence of the Medici family to their office complex serve as timeless reminders of the family’s power and glory.
The tour concludes at the true master of Florence, the river Arno. The Ponte Vecchio has always been full of shops and a most charming way to cross the river. It was the only bridge the retreating German army did not destroy in 1944. As you look down at the flowing Arno River you are well advised to keep in mind its destructive power and its ability to shape the face and the future of this magnificent city.
I have worked as a professional in the healthcare industry. My love for studying, arts and poetry were the reason I pursued a degree in the Theoretical department of the School of Fine Arts. That’s how I fell in love with Florence.
Piazza S. Giovanni, Firenze
Piazza Duomo, Piazza della Signoria, Uffizi Gallery, Ponte Vecchio
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