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Old September 21st, 2012, 07:01 PM   #1
Octoman
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Florence and Tuscany

I'm not the world's greatest photographer so you'll have to forgive the quality. I thought it would be nice to share some pictures of this incredible place.

FLORENCE

Capital of the Italian region of Tuscany. The city proper has a population of 370,000 and the metro 1.5 million. It has a magnificent historic core that feels far larger than its population suggests due to its densley packed ancient core. Home of the Renaissance thanks to the relative stability that the Medici family brought along with their patronage of the arts. While other Italian city states were busy getting on trying to destroy one another Florence was busy creating some of the greatest art the world has ever seen. In places it feels like a public sculpture garden.


The ponte vecchio is one of the most famous sights in Florence. Built in 1345 it is a living bridge covered in shops that spans the Arno river. It is the only remaining medieval bridge in Florence after German soldiers destroyed all the others during their retreat in 1945. The Ponte Vecchio was apparently saved on personal instructions from Hitler. Stunning as it is I must admit to being slightly underwhelmed ...

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The three windowns above the arches to the right in this picture taken on the bridge itself are a 'bridge within a bridge'. It is part of an ancient network of raised corridoors that allowed the Medici family to move around the city unbothered. It is still intact and accessable by booking in advance.

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The Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore (or Duomo) dominates the city. It is simply enormous. Some of the best views are from the medieval roads that lead up to it where it completely fills the horizon at the end. The dome was completed in 1436.

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Up on the roof you can see tiles stacked under pots. These are designed to collect water and run them over the tiles. Over time this weathers them so that they have a supply of replacement tiles that don't look out of place when old ones fail.

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Great views from the top

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The interior is surprisingly simple. A big contrast to the ornate exterior. The main exception is vasari's fresco on the inside of the dome which took 11 years and was completed in 1579.

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Here are a few of the statues that are all over the city. It is like an open air sculpture gallery in places. The scale of these things are unbelievabe. I niver really understood what the big deal was unitl seeing it all for real. Sculpture as art rather than commemorating a fallen general or ex prime minister and on an enormous scale. Pretty much all the statues outsides are replicas. The originals can be seen in the Uffizi or Accademia galleries. In some cases the replicas are old themselves - the replica of Michelangelo's David in its original location on the Piazza Della Signoria has been there for over 100 years for instance (shown in the first picture).

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Here are some more general pics taken around the streets of Florence.

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TUSCANY AND ITS TOWNS

The tuscan countryside is rolling hills dotted with medieval towns. Hre are some of the highlights.

San Gimignano is famous for its tower houses built by feuding medieval families. At one time there were over 70. Today 15 remain.

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Siena is a UNESCO world heritage site. It is more like a labyrinth than a city. It is built on so many levels interconnected by winding streets that the best way to explore is to just randomly weave around.

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Pisa

Once a great port city state its fortunes fell when the estuary dried up leaving the city detached from the sea and the trade that came with it. It is famous for the tower of course and in truth there is little else of interest. The tower is just one part of a larger complex.

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Some general pics of the tuscan countryside.

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Old September 24th, 2012, 03:39 PM   #2
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I'm going to live in Tuscany one day! I don't know when, but I will.

Great shots!
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Old September 24th, 2012, 03:40 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tykho
I'm going to live in Tuscany one day! I don't know when, but I will.

Great shots!
Only one day?
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Old September 24th, 2012, 03:53 PM   #4
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Some day perhaps? Well, me too, since these pictures convinced me once more of the unique beauty of Italy. Well done!

Last edited by Ingwaeone; September 24th, 2012 at 04:36 PM.
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Old September 24th, 2012, 05:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Road_UK View Post
Only one day?
Are you trying to jinx my plans?
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Old September 27th, 2012, 03:17 AM   #6
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Florence is a lovely city....lots of amazing buildings and of course priceless pieces of arts.
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Old September 28th, 2012, 01:02 AM   #7
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Great pics, thank you
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