Florence’s Four Finds: Great Vacation Stops

For tourists, the best months to visit the breathtaking city of Florence are May, June, September and October. That is because the days are warm and long. Other months are very humid and Italians tend to leave, making restaurants close. It is the largest city in Tuscany and is famous for its art and history. Many of the finest museums in the world (Uffizi, Galleria dell’Accademia) are home here. But the art, the food, even the rich tapestry of history doesn’t hold a candle to Florence’s most awe inspiring touch. That touch grabs you around sundown when the entire city has a glow of rich amber. It is worth the trip alone. So if you are planning on heading to Italy, here are four great little vacation stops to make Florence a find.

Dante’s House, a museum where the poet may have lived while in Florence, is dedicated to the preservation and display of Dante’s work. Many photographs, papers, and other important works by and about the poet are housed in this museum; the Casa di Dante. Controversy over if Dante was born here, or was married near here also reigns. No one seems to be quite sure how Dante’s House is tied into the poet. However it is one of the most respected and admired tourist spots in all of Italy. The museum is designed with three floors; corresponding to the different phases of the poet’s life. First floor has documents on the Florentine life and his childhood, second floor deals with his exile in 1301 and the scandal, third floor deals with iconography and fortune of Dante. It is located in the medieval area of Via Santa Margherita and is closed on Tuesdays. Tickets to enter cost a mere 3 euro (about $2.32). For more information you can call 39 (0) 55 219 416.

Parco Delle Cascine, this estate was bought by the Archduke Alessandro in the mid 1500’s. It was at first designed for cattle raising but was later demolished and made into a courtyard garden around the second half of the 18th century. This park has been redesigned with such modern functions as a racetrack. This park is always open and tickets are free to attend. It’s a wonderful little step back in time to a barn farming estate that became a tourist attraction.

The Galleria dell’Accademia, is single handedly the most well known museum in Florence. This houses the famed Michelangelo statutes of David, Pieta of Palestina, and The Four Prisoners. There is an art school right next door to the gallery. This is one stop that no one should miss on their way throughout the city.

The Basilica of San Lorenzo, is the oldest church in the city. St. Ambrose consecrated this church back in 393. The present structure of the basilica dates to 1423 and was built by Brunelleschi, who proposed a new type of church. This church houses works by Rosso Fiorentino and Donatello; and is breathtaking in appearance. Step outside the church to the left and you will see the Laurentian Library that was designed by Michelangelo by order of the Medici family who simply wanted storage of their grand book collection. There are also other manuscripts inside the library. A fine sidetour in itself, the library is.

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