BY TOM FRASCELLA                                                                                                                                         MAY 2011





We left Rome behind on the eighth day of our tour and drove to the beautiful northern Italian city of Florence. Florence traces its history back to the Roman era and is the capital city of Tuscany. The city sits on the Arno River, and is crossed by a number of bridges. Florence was the center of the Renaissance and the list of notable sons born there is incredible including Dante, Boccaccio, Da Vinci, Botticelli, Machiavelli, Michelangelo, Donatello, Gallileo and the Medici  family to name but a few.



                                                                Arno River






                                                                                                                                                                         Ponte Vecchio



                                                Statue of Machiavelli



                                                                                                                                                 Outside the Uffizi gallery




One of the great structures of Florence is the Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore with its great Dome. Equally important is the nearby Baptistry and the renowned bronze doors designed by Ghberti and commissioned the Gates of Paradise .



                                                                                       Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore


                                                                                            Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore





                                                                           Gates of Paradise bronze doors designed by Ghberti
                                                                                                        Photos by Rich Steo



                                                                                       inside of Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore



Great art abounds in the museums of the city. People are especially drawn to the works of the great Renaissance masters including Michelangelo.



                                               statues in the square                                                                                 David  
                                                   Photo by Rich Steo                                                                           Photo by Rich Steo


On one of our evenings we took a short bus trip across the Arno to dinner at a wonderful dinner club. In addition to having a very nice meal we were entertained by opera and contemporary singers and confronted by the owner/comedic distraction.

                                                                                                                dinner club



                                                                                                              Photo by Rich Steo



Across from the dinner club was an ancient monastery whose grounds were very beautiful as we approached at sunset.



                                                                     ancient monastery


Florence, like Rome,  is very hard to see in just two days and before we knew it we were on our way to our final stop Venice.




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