"weekends in Florence" Florence by brendareed
Florence Travel Guide: 5,157 reviews and 11,389 photos
Florence has become my favorite city in all of Europe. I didn’t think Paris could be topped but Florence has enchanted me. So much history, art, architecture, and friendly people all in one place! My last trip was a week long and I still feel the need to return to this magical city.
My second visit to Florence was for a seven-day field study as part of a university course that focused on Renaissance art history in January 2012. For a full week, I went to many churches and museums, learned about the Medicis and Florentine history, Michelangelo and the other artists from Florence, and absorbed the culture (as well as the food) of this beautiful city. The weather was chilly but sunny each day we were there – I could not have asked for anything better (okay, maybe a little warmer)!
Long days of tours and lectures made for a tired girl by the end of the week, but what an experience! Side trips to Siena and San Gimignano rounded out the week. All this topped off with a challenging final exam covering all the artists and works we learned about and saw over the week. It was a lot of detail to learn in just seven days, but I wouldn't change a thing. The learning continued after leaving Florence as I plunged into my research paper on Cosimo Medici's patronage to Florentine's early Renaissance artists such as Donatello, Brunelleschi and Fra Angelico. I plan to return to Florence to revisit these places and just enjoy them without the pressure of the coursework and exam!
Home base was near the San Lorenzo Church, just a couple blocks from the Cathedral. The class stayed in the Hotel Giada where we also has our lectures. It was close to the train station and very central for most all of our activities. During the bulk of our tours, we walked from place to place. This gave us an appreciation of the beauty of the city and people of Florence.
Throughout the week, we saw countless pieces of beautiful paintings, frescoes, sculptures, and architecture. We basically lived and breathed art for a week, with a little time off to eat pizza, pasta, and drink fabulous wine.
My tips focus mostly on the art that I’ve seen – so if you are interested in the art of the Renaissance, hopefully these will be helpful for you as you plan future trips (or just travel virtually!).
Driving into and parking in Florence is very difficult at best and comes with the risk of a heavy fine. The roads around... more travel advice
The roads around the train station are busy, busy, busy - not very safe to run across with all the cars, buses, and... more travel advice
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