14 July 2009

Arts and sports in Florence

The capital city of Tuscany has a lot to offer to the visitor. From art to history, Florence is a fascinating city. The artistic heritage of the city is impressive. You can find here works by Giotto, Andrea Pisano, Brunelleschi, Donatello, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.

The buildings in Florence are amazing: Palazzo Vecchio, Palazzo Pitti, monasteries and cloisters. The richness in art can cause the Stendhal syndrome for first time visitors.

If you are more an active type, why not try Calcio Storico (historic football)? It is a traditional sport seen as the forerunner of soccer but actually the calcio storico resembles rugby. Its origins are in the Middle Ages when noblemen were amusing themselves playing in impressive costumes. Nowadays a temporary arena is built in Piazza di Santa Croce and there are four teams: blue, white, red and green (coming from different quarters of Florence).

The restaurants in Florence base their meals on meat because the local cuisine is of peasant traditions. Try the antipasti crostini toscani, a ribollita soup and a bistecca alla fiorentina all served with olive oil which is produced in Tuscany.

Places to see in Florence:
Santa maria del Fiore Cathedral - the fourth biggest cathedral in Europe.
Casa di Dante - the house where Dante grew up and which was rebuilt in 1910 and became a museum to Dante.
Palazzo Piti is a Renaissance palace on the south bank of Arno river. The palace has a huge collection of paintings, jewelry and precious objects. In the 18th century the building was used as a power base by Napoleon and after that it was the royal palace of the united Italy.

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