Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Florence Trip - Ponte Vecchio and Santa Croce

'The Old Bridge' for those without a bit of basic Italian and scans the River Arno. Initially occupied by Butcher shops but now almost entirely made up of high class jewellers. Originally constructed in Roman times but I did hear a story that it was built by the Devil himself. According to the legend the Devil promised the good people of Florence a new bridge on one condition ! He could claim the soul of the first to cross over... The people however had a cunning plan and upon completion sent across the bridge a pig much to the disgust of the Devil. The Basilica of Santa Croce was built in 1294 by the Franciscan Order and is the final resting place for the great and good. Think of it as being the equivalent of Westminster Abbey if you will. They are all here, The Medici's, Machiavelli, Michelangelo, Marconi & Galileo.

The Basilica is the largest Franciscan church in the world. Its most notable features are its sixteen chapels. Legend says that Santa Croce was founded by St Francis himself. The tombs inside are mostly massive and impressive as you will see from some of the pictures taken.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Florence Trip - Florence Cathedral The Duomo

 The Duomo is probably the city's most iconic landmark. Capped by Filippo Brunelleschi's red-tiled cupola , it's a staggering construction whose breathtaking pink, white and green marble facade and graceful campanile (bell tower) dominate the medieval cityscape. It's always good to get to the highest point when somewhere different, although Marina may not agree with this...

Work began in 1296, but construction took almost 150 years and it wasn't consecrated until 1436. It needs a climb of some 436 interior steps to reach the top and to fully appreciate what a feat of engineering it really is. Apparently over 4 million bricks were used in the construction, and no I didn't count them!


The basilica is one of Italy's largest churches, and until development of new structural materials in the modern era, the dome was the largest in the world. It remains the largest brick dome ever constructed.Its almost impossible to describe just how impressive the Basilica is let alone the stunning views witnessed from the viewing balcony.