Sightseeing in Florence

One major question a visit to Florence raises: WHERE did all this marble come from?! And who knew it came in so many colors?

My primary sightseeing destination was the Piazza del Duomo and further on, the Renaissance art mecca, the Gallery Uffizi. While you can’t take photos inside the Gallery, I did get my obligatory “Pam outside another art museum” photo for my collection. (By the way, the virtual tour online is excellent.)

Another notch in my belt...the Uffizi.

Another notch in my belt…the Uffizi.

Florence is definitely done up fancy, almost everywhere you go. We had reserved tickets online to avoid waiting in a line at the door. We, in fact, got in a little early for our reservations because it just wasn’t that busy. A tour group had gone in the reservations door a little before us, and we only walked past 15 or so people to go in. I am sure it is much worse when it isn’t shortly after opening on a Sunday in spring. Anyway, the ticket office to exchange our vouchers for tickets was across the street, and quite beautiful, too, if you look up.

ALWAYS look up in Florence.

ALWAYS look up in Florence.

This is the piazza (I think) that housed the fountain of Neptune, which I actually liked. I just don’t know if it was the real thing or a copy, because this has an area, some covered, some not, with copies of many of the most famous sculptures in the Uffizi. The copies are for everyone to see and learn from for free, with no concern for pigeons or other vandals.

Part of the Neptune fountain. I think the green is a color change wrought by the water, but I suppose it could be the color of the marble?

Part of the Neptune fountain. I think the green is a color change wrought by the water, but I suppose it could be the color of the marble? Or maybe just those parts are bronze?

Tourists hanging out around the statue replicas, most of which include plaques explaining their origin.

Tourists hanging out around the statue replicas, most of which include plaques explaining their origin.

This is also a prime spot for catching a tour carriage, or being hit up by any number of street hustlers with fake goods, right outside the Gucci Museum.

The Uffizi is to your left, down that street. Note how quiet the piazza is on a Sunday early afternoon. It won't stay that way.

The Uffizi is to your left, down that street. Note how quiet the piazza is on a Sunday early afternoon. It won’t stay that way.

The Piazza del Duomo is a different story. It seemed to always be busy. When we first stepped out into it, I gasped. Compared to the parts of Florence we had been walking in, dark and heavy, it was bright and open. It was ornate. It was, well, gaudy. The faces of the baptistry and cathedral were more colors and types of marble than I knew existed. These photos are worth clicking on to see larger; you could never examine all the details in these little formats. It’s as if every place they found an empty spot, someone yelled, “Hey! Famous Renaissance artist! Come put something here!”

Turn the corner and WHOA! This is one church that will grab your attention. And teh size of that dome! I only wish I had seen it at night.

Turn the corner and WHOA! This is one church that will grab your attention. And the size of that dome! I only wish I had seen it at night.

The front of the cathedral. Wow.

The front of the cathedral. Wow.

The Baptistry. I don't know why it is a separate building, but it counts as a little basilica all by itself.

The Baptistry. I don’t know why it is a separate building, but it counts as a little basilica all by itself.

The front of the Baptistry. Those doors are famous.

The east side of the Baptistry. Those doors are famous.

The Baptistry doors Michelangelo called the "Gates of Heaven." These are copies, with the originals protected in a museum, of course.

The Baptistry doors Michelangelo called the “Gates of Heaven.” These are copies, with the originals protected in a museum, of course.

More Florence to come.

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