Florence- home of the Renaissance, David, the Medici's and Michelangelo for many years.
The Duomo is massive- the 3rd biggest in Europe. It's amazing on the outside- colourful (green, white and pink marble), ornate carvings and a huge dome. On the inside, the dome is beautifully painted. Otherwise it's a pretty empty church.
In front of the church is the baptistery, with beautiful mosaics of Christ and the devil on the inside, and Ghiberti's famous golden doors on the outside (The east doors).
Piazza Della Signoria is awesome- it includes Loggia, a portico full of beautiful statues including Rape of the Sabines. A replica of the David is outside of the Palazzo Vecchio, as is a big fountain, which Michelangelo hated lol. "A waste of marble" he called it.
Nearby is ponte Vecchio, a famous, old, now shop-covered bridge. Lots of really expensive jewelry. The bridge leads to The Oltarno area where the Palazzo Pitti is. I toured the palace gardens, called Boboli Gardens, as well as a couple museums and a grotto. The gardens are quite large, and uphill- which sucked because I hurt my toe the day before. As I hobbled along cedar alley and by countless statues, I imagined the Medici's walking the gardens. They are a smaller version of Versailles, I'd say. There was a porcelain museum (not really my thing) and a costume/ fashion museum (totally my thing). I really enjoyed the fashion, although most of it was from either 1910, 1950s or 1980s... Some from our current century. There were some really nice dresses, hats and overcoats. They even had a couple outfits of the Medici's themselves, including a dress in very fragile pieces and a cape, all very delicate (they are almost 500 years old after all).
Speaking of the Medici, I visited the Medici chapel, which was made of beautiful, colourful marble. Several of the Medici were laid to rest here. Unfortunately like half of the place was covered in scaffolding.
I visited tons of churches (and paid for them all sigh). My favorites included Santa Croce, where some very famous people were laid to rest including: Michelangelo, Galileo, Rossini, Machiavelli, Dante and Marconi. There was also a plaque for Leonardo Di Vinci, so I think he was there too. The church itself had a section with frescos, which helps you imagine what the whole church would have looked like. There was also nice stained glass- behind more scaffolding!!
Art galleries- I went to the two that recommend reservations, which I got because I don't like waiting in line for 3 hours!!!!
Gallery Dell'Accademia houses a statue workshop, tons of statues, more statutes, some paintings, musical instruments, oh and Michelangelo's David. It is a beautiful statue. From the veins on his right hand, to the look on his face and uh other aspects of the boy lol. It was really cool to see in person and as you can see, I totally sneaked pictures! :)
The Uffizi. It was a great museum. Some amazing renaissance paintings, including Birth of Venus by Botticelli and paintings by Leonardo Di Vinci. The audio guide was pretty informative, though it skipped apparently unimportant paintings? It's a beautiful collection. After, I went to a free presentation of artist's drawings (mostly done to practice or flesh out a painting or sculpture) that included Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael. It was cool- Very 'Ever After'- included was Leonardo da Vinci's drawing of a woman that the movie pretends is based on Cinderella.
Overall I did a lot of sightseeing and not so much getting to know the city- it was very touristy- but I enjoyed my time there. And my hostel was awesome- made to order free breakfasts and a computer with free Internet in my room!!! Awesome. (Archi Rossi)