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Italy, Florence: Florence’s Bell Tower

You can climb the 414 steps to the top of Giotto’s Bell Tower of the Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore. The climb is worth the view. Hope the 7 bells aren’t ringing when you get up there.

Italy, Florence: Florence’s City Hall

It is free to wander thru the Cortile (courtyard) di Michelozzi of the Palazzo Vecchio (townhall of Florence). One reason to come here is to see a copy of Michaelangelo’s statue of David. The original sat here from 1504 to 1873, when it was moved to the Accademia Gallery. This replica erected in 1910 now stands in its place.

The first courtyard of Palazzo Vecchio was designed in 1453 by Michelozzo. The frescoes on the walls were painted in 1565 by Giorgio Vasari for the wedding celebration of Francesco I de’ Medici, the eldest son of Cosimo I de’ Medici, to Archduchess Johanna of Austria, sister of the Emperor Maximilian II. They depict cities of the Austrian Habsburg monarchy: Graz, Innsbruck, Linz, Vienna, Hall in Tirol, Freiburg im Breisgau and Konstanz.

Italy, Florence: David Statue’s Neighbor

Though you’re probably on the Piazza della Signoria to see Michelangelo’s David, don’t miss Baccio Bandinelli’s Hercules and Cacus.

Italy, Florence: David Statue in Florence

This is one of the more famous copies of Michelangelo’s David statue. You don’t have to pay to go in to see it, it’s out on Piazza della Signoria in front of Palazzo Vecchio (city hall) The original statue was originally placed here from 1504 to 1873, when it was moved to the Accademia Gallery. This replica erected in 1910 now stands in its place.

Italy, Florence: Florence Through a Window

So many artistic vistas in Florence.

Italy, Florence: Overlooking the Red Roofs of Florence

You get a great view of the majestic Renaissance Filippo Brunelleschi -designed domed Florence Cathedral, the Duomo if you ascend one of the hills around it. The Gothic-styled Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore was begun in 1296 along with it’s Baptistery and Giotti’s Bell tower (Campanile). Ghiberti’s original Baptistery doors are in the museum (the ones outside are copies).

Brunelleschi was commissioned in 1418. The dome is egg-shaped and was accomplished without scaffolding. A balcony by Baccio d’Agnolo was added in 1507. Notice that only 1 of the eight sides was finished by 1515, when someone asked Michelangelo (whose artistic opinion was by this time taken as cardinal law), his thoughts of it. The master reportedly scoffed, “It looks like a cricket cage.” Work was immediately stopped, and to this day the other 7 sides remain only rough brick.

Italy, Florence: Sunset in Florence Italy

A sunset is amazing to watch no matter where you are in the world. But this one was Florence, Italy.


Italy, Venice: Canal Bridge in Venice

You’re never too young to go to Venice and enjoy the vistas on the bridges of the canals. Notice the lock attached to the ironwork. That’s the work of lovers who lock in their love on bridges.

Italy, Venice: Gondola Parking

Never thought about where you park your gondola when you are off work. Notice the other boats tucked along the buildings. Front doors are often on the canals.

Italy, Venice: Wide Venetian Canal

Not all the canals in Venice are narrow. Some are broad highways. See if you can find the tip of a gondola in this one.