Florence, Italy

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Florence is a city that is truly magical. While we stayed in Siena (which can you believe was this time last year… Talk about being slack with editing photos!) we decided to take the train to Florence for a little day trip.

On our first overseas trip in 2006, we stayed in Florence by the river Arno. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit, so we knew that we needed to return! Last time we were there, it was the middle of winter, so it was nice to see Florence in all its warm and beautiful glory.

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Florence is famous for its history. A centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of the time.

Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, and has been called the Athens of the Middle Ages. The city also contains numerous museums and art galleries, such as the Uffizi Gallery, amongst others, and still exerts an influence in the fields of art, culture and politics.

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The River Arno, which cuts through the old part of the city, is as much a character in Florentine history as many of the people who lived there. Historically, the locals have had a love-hate relationship with the Arno – which alternated between nourishing the city with commerce, and destroying it by flood.

One of the bridges in particular stands out – the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge), whose most striking feature is the multitude of shops built upon its edges, held up by stilts. Although the original bridge was constructed by the Etruscans, the current bridge was rebuilt in the 14th century. It is the only bridge in the city to have survived World War II intact.

IMG_9026IMG_9011It was wonderful being back, if only for a day! Wandering the streets that were so familiar and taking in all the amazing sights. The people, the culture and the Italian way of life.

The Duomo is still as breathtaking as the first time I saw it. It’s towering presence over the city provides the perfect backdrop, and I hope that we will return again some day soon. IMG_9036

Have you visited Florence, or is this somewhere that you have always wanted to travel?

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