Florence, Italy is an absolutely beautiful city and commonly known as the birthplace of the Renaissance. Having lived there for half a year and being immersed in the rich culture, art, and architecture every day, I can honestly say that it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. If you have been lucky enough to travel to this amazing city hopefully the buildings and sites that I share today will bring back amazing memories, and if you have not had the chance to go, I hope this will inspire you to do so! Through my studies at Kent State University, I learned about the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, or more commonly referred to as the Duomo (cathedral). Seeing this building in person was far more breathtaking than looking at the pictures in my architecture books, which did not do it any justice. On our first walk around the city we came upon the Duomo, and I can honestly say my friends and I stood there speechless while admiring this famous piece of architecture. The Duomo was completed in 1436 by Arnolfo di Cambio, and still towers over the city today with its iconic architectural features.
The dome, engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi, still remains as the largest brick dome ever constructed. On one of my last days in Florence, I had the opportunity to climb to the top of the Campanile (bell tower) opposite the dome and was able to admire the immense amount of beautiful details up close that went in to the architecture and ornament of the façade and dome.
My favorite part of the Duomo was the main portal’s massive bronze doors featuring scenes from the life of the Madonna. The doors date to around 1900 and offer a very grand entrance into the building. As you can see, I had to take a picture to represent the scale of these amazing doors!
A few of my other favorite places to visit in Florence were the piazzas (city squares), such as Piazza della Repubblica and piazza della Signoria. I was lucky enough to be in Florence during the celebration for the 150th Anniversary of the Unification of Italy. Viewing monuments such as the Arcone designed by Micheli and inspired by Florence Renaissance architecture or the impressive town hall of the city, Palazzo Vecchio, lit up with the colors of the Italian flag and feeling the pride that everyone celebrating on the street had for their country was a once in a lifetime experience. I could go on forever about all of the amazing architecture and unique cultural experiences that I had in Florence, and I hope to return one day to this beautiful city. As parting words, if you have been to Florence and missed this gem, or if I have inspired you to someday visit, you must go to Gelateria dei Neri for what I am convinced is the most wonderful gelato in the world! I strongly recommend the dark chocolate and pistachio!