Florence, Italy – Ancient, Modern & the Renaissance in-between (09.10.16)
Any trip to Florence fluctuates between the vibrancy of modern-day Firenze – busy days, balmy evenings, late nights – and more Renaissance culture than you can shake a bucket of ice creams at. The sense of stepping between ancient and modern and back again is ever-present.
Ancient Rome laid the foundations for the city as a military base in 59BC. Diehard ancient historians can still revel in the city’s past at the 19th century Piazza della Repubblica (merry-go-round et al) standing at the heart of what was once the Roman Forum.
The Arno River, untroubled by two thousand years of history, probably looks lower today than it did previously. In the main this is due to the three-plus metre elevation of the Renaissance city, set like a hovering time capsule over the Tuscan capital’s ancient foundations. Foundations supporting many a reminder of the past, toga-clad statues, ancient gods and even street names referring to the days of the Roman Empire – such as Via Delle Terme (Road to Baths).
I am always seduced by Florence, and strongly advise people to set aside as much time as possible when visiting it. Stack up the energy too, as you’ll need it in spades for the swathe of Renaissance art, palaces and plazas but also to keep up with the vibe of this very modern city.
As I hope these photos show, the variety of Florence’s attractions is endless, from scooters to street art, fashion to frescos. So whether enjoying cultural spots including Palazzo Vecchio, Basilica di Santa Croce, the Duomo, Uffizi Galleria, Pitti Palazzo, Grand Museo del Duomo or Museo di San Marco, or soaking up the café and restaurant culture, nightlife and early morning street-scene sunrises, you’ll need more time than you bargained on.
Forget ‘Veni, vidi, vici’ – ‘I came, I saw, I conquered’. Today’s slogan should be more akin to Victor Hugo’s ‘Veni, vidi, vixi’ – ‘I came, I saw, I lived’.