The vibrant city of Florence is famous for its impressive architecture and has long been one of Italy’s most popular attractions. City breaks to Florence are popular among travellers who want to soak up on different cultures and at the same time enjoy captivating attractions. Here are some of the sights that you should not miss while exploring the city of Florence.
Santa Maria del Fiore
The Hidden Tourist Attractions of Florence, Italynanc
This stunning cathedral is also known as the Duomo di Firenze and should not be missed. The Santa Maria del Fiore features an impressive statue of Brunelleschi in its piazza and the figure looks up towards the mighty dome. Visitors who have a strong sense of adventure can also climb the 464 steps that lead up to the top of the cathedral to enjoy breathtaking city views.
Head over to the old city to explore this city hall, which is adorned with fine art including a replica of David by Michelangelo. Art lovers will really be in their element here as they explore some of the most stunning works of art and murals from the Renaissance period.
Beat the crowds and unwind for a while by exploring this enchanting green zone, which can be found behind Pitti Palace. The Boboli Gardens are elaborately landscaped and scattered with a large number of sculptures. One of the great things about the Boboli Gardens is that this attraction is often overlooked by visitors to Florence, while the gardens offer stunning views of the mighty Duomo.
Climb 414 steps to soak up unforgettable panoramic views of Florence and the surrounding area. Giotto’s Tower can be found next to the Duomo and climbing it can be quite a challenge, which is all part of the fun.
Of course, this is just a small selection of Florence’s impressive attractions. Other attractions that are just waiting to be discovered include the Ponche Vecchio, Santa Maria del Carmine and the Baptistery. Food lovers will also want to sample some of the city’s signature dishes such as pizza, enormous t-bone steaks and locally produced ice cream known as gelato.
Italian specialist art theft police have tracked down and brought home a 400-year-old copy of a lost Leonardo Da Vinci masterpiece – an incomplete fresco painting of the Battle of Anghiari.
It once decorated a wall of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, the Tuscan city’s monumental town hall.
The copy is temporarily on show until the New Year at the Quirinal Palace in Rome, the official residence of the president of Italy.
Battle of Anghiari painting shows a group of men-at-arms and knights on horseback engaged in close combat, fighting for possession of a flag.
The historic battle between Florence and its allies against a numerically superior force from Milan took place in 1440, and the Florentines won.
Art historians believe that Leonardo Da Vinci, experimenting with various fresco painting techniques, started painting the battle scene in 1503, using sketches he had been preparing for years.
But he never completed the project. The paint began to drip after he applied color to the walls.
Trying to save what he could, he applied large charcoal braziers close to the painting. But the colors intermingled and only part of the fresco was completed.
Within a few years, after the fresco had deteriorated, the Hall of the Five Hundred was restructured and Giorgio Vasari was commissioned by the local ruler to paint a different battle scene to replace Leonardo’s flawed work.
Italian specialist art theft police have tracked down and brought home a 400-year-old copy of a lost Leonardo Da Vinci masterpiece, an incomplete fresco painting of the Battle of Anghiari
Giorgio Vasari, later a biographer of Leonardo Da Vinci, actually saw the cartoon, or preliminary drawing on paper of the battle scene, which he described in glowing terms.
“It would be impossible to express the inventiveness of Leonardo’s design for the soldiers’ uniforms, or the crests of the helmets, not to mention the incredible skill he demonstrated in the shape and features of the horses, which Leonardo, better than any other master, created with their boldness, muscles and graceful beauty,” he wrote.
So we only have copies to enable us to imagine Leonardo Da Vinci’s original design.
Peter Paul Rubens, using an engraving done 50 years after Leonardo started his project, did a masterly drawing of the Battle of Anghiari which is now in the Louvre in Paris.
“The idea that an ancient copy of a lost artwork can be as important as the original is familiar to scholars,” says Salvatore Settis, archaeologist and art historian.
“Most important original Greek bronze statues were lost when they were melted down and are known today only through marble copies done by admiring Romans centuries later,” he told a packed lecture at which details of the copy of Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece were revealed to the public.
The painting – on a small wooden panel measuring 115 x 86 cm (45×34 in) – was last seen in public 73 years ago on the eve of World War II, when it was shown at a Leonardo exhibition in Milan.
Then it disappeared.
But the Italian carabinieri police department which specializes in art theft patiently managed to track the clandestine life of the painting – known as the Doria panel from the name of the family in whose art collection it had remained for three centuries.
After being stolen from its owners in Naples, the panel passed into the possession of a Swiss art dealer, was sent to Germany for restoration in the 1960s, then turned up briefly at a New York art gallery in the 1970s before ending up in the collection of a wealthy Japanese art collector in the 1990s.
The painting will be shown at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence during 2013 and will then go on loan for four years back to Japan – under an agreement worked out with the Fuji Art Museum in Tokyo, where it was last exhibited.
Meanwhile, at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, work has been suspended on a project by an Italian engineer Maurizio Seracini who has been trying to prove scientifically by taking microscopic samples of pigment from the wall that Leonardo’s lost painting may still be hidden under Giorgio Vasari’s later battle scene.
Earlier this year, the mayor of Florence ordered a stop to all invasive technology inside the Hall of the Five Hundred.
So for the moment, the battle between scientists analyzing layers of pigment and ancient walls with space age technology, and scholars who insist that they have documentary evidence that Leonardo Da Vinci’s original Battle of Anghiari no longer exists has ended in a truce.