Tuscany sights - Florence
My favourite places in Florence
Santa Maria Novella
If you can only dedicate a few hours to Florence, e.g. in between to trains, I recommend a wonderful church right next to the train station: Santa Maria Novella. You can get there easily, even taking your suitcase with you, and you will see some of the most beautiful frescoes of the High Renaissance. In the Cappella Tornabuoni Ghirlandaio has portrayed the life of Mary and of John the Baptist: Refined visual compositions with perspective views of pillared halls, buildings and landscapes fading into the blue seem to draw the spectator right into the painting ...
San Marco und Fra Angelico
Anyone who has a little more time should visit the monastery of San Marco and the Frescoes and paintings of Fra Angelico. He is one of the most touching of the Italian painters of the Renaissance, because of the simplicity and purity of his representations, and because they have such an intimate spirit. Most impressive are the former monastic cells on the upper floor of the current Museum of San Marco. Each little room is equipped with a fresco by Fra Angelico. On the walls there are angels and demons, Mary and Jesus. They used to look down on the humble inhabitants, among them Savonarola and Cosimo Medici in his old age. The frescoes are images of a piety long gone by. On the ground floor you can admire the glowing altarpieces by Fra Angelico, each one more beautifuland glittering with gold than the other. But compared to the simple frescoes in the monks' cells they are almost a little bit too splendid ...
Strolling along the Arno banks
After one or two museums and churches, it might be enough culture for the day. Time for a walk along the Arno river, always with the view of the wonderful palaces and narrow houses on both banks of the river, and with the green hills in the background. You can watch lovers from all over the world kissing and trying to place their love locks to one of the bridges. Avid joggers in brightly colored outfits and rowers whose melodic command caller sounds less militarily in Italian as in other languages. Elegant senior ladies with poodles, some anglers and the steady gurgle of the water ...
The market halls of Florence
Hungry? Then it's best to have a meal or snack in the historic market hall of Florence, near the train station (only open in the morning until 1 p.m.). Some of the meat pieces offered by the butchers here surely are not for the fainthearted... But you can always turn round to see the lush fruit or cheese stalls. And, of course, you can eat at a Florentine institution: "Nerbone". Have a hearty Tuscan bean soup, a roast beef with salsa verde, or artichoke hearts fried in olive oil and garnished with fresh mint leaves. The more adventurous can try the Florentine specialty Lampredotto (tripe). Not for me but my husband loves it !