Duomo, Basilica, Giotto's Bell Tower
Turns out we do actually get assigned work in classes here. Between five papers, two presentations, and starting to prepare for finals, the blog fell to the bottom of the list.

Two weekends ago, my friend Kaylyn and I decided to take a day and be a tourist of Florence. With the time I have left in Florence winding down, I realized that I wasn't taking advantage of the city. So far I've spent over half my time traveling and wanted to really see Florence.

We started out our day at the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiori (Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower) which is the main cathedral of Florence, made famous by the Duomo. Construction began in 1296 and finished in 1436 when Brunelleschi completed the dome. After walking around inside, we climbed to the top of the Duomo. Half way up, you walk around directly underneath the dome for a close up view of the paintings underneath. The nearly 39,000 square foot surface depicts The Last Judgement and took 11 years to complete. Once we reached the top of the 414 steps, we enjoyed an incredible view of the city.

Underneath the Duomo
View from the top
After the Duomo, Kaylyn and I went to the Accademia Gallery to see the most famous work of art in Florence, Michelangelo's David. Created during the height of the Renaissance from 1501 to 1504, David stands at 17 feet tall and is a single piece of marble. It was incredible to see in person even though I'm not much of an art person. No pictures allowed though.

From the Accademia we went to a small restaurant named Trattoria Mario that's only opened for lunch. There is always a line of people waiting to get in, and the food is certainly worth the wait. They change the menu everyday, but I had spaghetti with clams and then roast chicken that was to die for.

After lunch, we walked around the outdoor San Lorenzo leather market where countless vendors sell everything imaginable. I picked up a few presents for family and then we walked to the famous Ponte Vecchio, meaning "Old Bridge," a very fitting name, being built in 1345. Today, expensive jewelry stores and art dealers line the sides of the bridge as you walk over.

Walking straight over the bridge and down the road brought us to our final stop, the Palazzo Pitti, or Pitti Palace.  Luca Pitti, a Florentine banker, commissioned the building in 1458 and it was then bought by the Medici family in 1549. Today it stands as a museum and inside contains the Boboli Gardens, although they were closed when we went. We walked around for a little then called it a day, both of us being exhausted. 

Ponte Vecchio
Palazzo Pitti
Top of the Duomo

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