Seniors Travel to Florence

Jul 11th, 2011 | By James E Becker | Category: Senior Travel

Florence is unlike any other city I have been in.  My two teenage daughters at the time called the cathedral the “Benneton Cathedral” as it was so full of varied colors with it’s marvelous marble facade.  Florence is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy and the center of Italian Renaissance, in fact is is called the “Cradle of the Renaissance.”  Florence’s museums, palaces, and churches house some of the greatest artistic treasures in the world.  Florence’s art and architecture rivals Rome.  During the Renaissance, Florence was the art center of western civilization.  A list of past residents of the city represents the “Who’s Who” of the Masters, including: Dante, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael, among others.  Culture seems to ooze from the frescoes and statues; perhaps that is why Florence and its museums tend to be incredibly attractive to senior tourists.

The most popular and important sites in Florence include the Cathedral, the Baptistery, the Uffizi, the Bargello, and the Accademia. The churches of Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce are veritable art galleries, and the library of San Lorenzo is a magnificent exhibition of Michelangelo’s architectural genius.  Wander some of the oldest streets in the city until you reach the Arno River, cross the Ponte Vecchio, and experience the “newest” area of Florence, the Oltrarno.  I still remember that bridge.  It is so neat and so well placed over the river.

The Piazza San Giovanni and the adjacent Piazza del Duomo provide famous sights, including the Baptistery, the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, the campanile known as Giotto’s Bell Tower and  the Duomo itself (the Cattedrale di San Maria del Fiore). The Duomo is considered an architectural masterpiece and is a sight to behold.  The cathedral is impressive due to its size and the incredible dimensions of its amazing dome. The Duomo Museum includes an unfinished pieta by Michelangelo (the Pieta in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican is acknowledged to be Michelanglo’s finest).

So seniors, if you are coming to Florence for the first time you will need some basic information.  Here you will find tips and suggestions on what to do and see.  Getting there  is not difficult at all as Florence is well-connected with the rest of Italy and with Europe, and is easy to get to by air or land. In the last few years there has been a significant increase in traffic in and out of Florence’s Vespucci Airport, and the infrastructure and facilities are constantly being upgraded. Florence is also a key node on the Italian railway network.

We found Florence to be the proverbial chocolate cake in the way of “all good things come in small packages”.  The city is jammed with monuments and sights , most of them mercifully confined to a small area.  There are so many of them that, unless you stay a while, you are unlikely to digest more than a modest portion.  Just one personal suggestion.  If you are driving, good luck finding a parking spot.  It might just be easier to find a parking space outside the city and take a taxi in.  It was a nightmare for us. Arrivederci Firenze!  jeb



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