In Florence, surrounded by art and culture, you will find the answers you were looking for
Apart from Rome, another Italian city was chosen as the set of one of the lastest books by Dan Brown. I am talking about Florence, the pearl of the Renaissance, birthplace of many artists and capital of the former Kingdom of Italy for a couple of years.
For one day, you can play the part of Robert Langdon discovering the incredible number of beauties that this city has to offer and all the secrets hidden in “Inferno”.
Roman Gate and Boboli Gardens
The first location that appears in the story is the Roman Gate, one of the oldest entrances to the city, built in 1326. Here, on the right side of the gate, you will find the edge of Boboli Gardens, the lung of Florence, one of the largest and most marvelous parks in Italy. Once inside, you will be surrounded by fountains, lakes, bridges, statues: better to get a map, so that you don’t miss the fundamental sightseeing: the fountain of Neptune, the amphitheater – with the Egyptian obelisk and the roman basin – and the Buontalenti grotto, where Langdon and Sienna Brooks hide from the police.
The house of the Medici Family
The ticket for the Gardens also includes a tour of Pitti Palace, the official residence of the Medici family, where you can visit their royal apartments, the palatine gallery – the reigning family’s private art collection comprehending artists the caliber of Raphael, Van Dyck and Titian – the modern art gallery, with masterpieces painted by Canova and Hayez, and the Silver Museum hosting a collection of precious objects owned by the rulers of Tuscany.
The building is connected to Palazzo Vecchio through the Vasari corridor, closed from 2016 for renovation, although it is said that it will be reopened this year. In any case, if you do not want to wait, it is possible to visit the first part of the passage that links Palazzo Vecchio to the Uffizi Gallery. Alternatively, you can walk along Ponte Vecchio while enjoying window-shopping or buying a precious souvenir from one of the famous and historic jewelries that create works in silver, gold and precious stones, in addiction to a wonderful and romantic view of the River Arno.
After a five-minute walk, you will reach Palazzo Vecchio, once named Palazzo della Signoria, which offers to the visitors halls full of history, art and secrets. On the first floor, the “Room of the Five Hundred” is famous for the dispute between Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti over the commission of painting the scenes of the two most important battles in the history of Florence: the Battle of Anghiari and the Battle of Cascina. In this room, Professor Langdon and Sienna Miller found the enigmatic writing “seek and find” hidden in the Vasari’s fresco that has probably covered the masterpiece of Leonardo. If you are adventurous and you love mystery, it is also possible to book a private tour of the secret passages and, if you are not afraid of heights, you could also visit the tower of Palazzo Vecchio and enjoy the bird’s-eye view of Florence.
Gates of the Paradise
The last step will be the Baptisteryof St. John, where Dante Alighieri was baptized and where it is possible to admire the Gates of Paradise – the east façade in front of Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral – created by Lorenzo Ghiberti and, according to legend, so named by Michelangelo because of their beauty. Besides that, once inside, you also have the possibility to see lots of mosaics among which you will find the “Punishment of the damned”, an illustration of Dante’s Inferno where a huge Satan devours the souls of the damned with the help of his sidekick. If you are dead keen on art and literature you will fall in love with this place, with all the statues, the golden mosaics and the story they conceal.
In general, you will fall in love with Florence and you will fall in love with Italy. You probably wish you were born in a different time, maybe during Renaissance, so that you could be one of the main characters, one of the heroes that you admire in the history books.
And even if “in the middle of the journey of your life you find yourself within a dark wood where the straight way was lost”, in Florence, surrounded by art, culture and great food, you will find the answers you were looking for.