Tuesday 11th October 2011

With a few hours on our hands we decided to take a short walk around some of the principle sites in the city. Starting from our hotel (Hotel Paris), we headed down Via dei Banchi towards the centre.
Nothing quite prepares you for the first time when you turn the corner and see the cathedral in the Piazza del Duomo. One minute you are walking through the narrow historic streets and the next you are staring at the beautiful marble facade of the east end of the building. Initially the sheer size takes your breath away, then with closer inspection you can only marvel at the time and man hours it must have taken to create this UNESCO World Heritage masterpiece.
Once you have finished soaking up the beauty of the cathedral, your eyes will be drawn to the cupola towering above. The cupola (dome), built by Brunelleschi, took 14 years to complete and from the top a stunning panorama of the city unfolds (464 steps). The piazza also boasts the Campanile and Battistero (Baptistry).
From the Piazza del Duomo we made our way down Via de Calzaioli to the Piazza della Signoria, where we sat in one of the many cafes and admired the gothic Palazzo Vecchio. With all of the statues on display in the piazza it feels like an outdoor museum.
Continuing our stroll through the city we passed by the Uffizi galley on our way to the Ponte Vecchio which spans the River Arno at its narrowest point. The much photographed Ponte Vecchio is a popular attraction and is good place to look for jewellery souveniers.
We then a had choice of crossing the river and walking up to the Palazzo Pitti and its Bololi Gardens (Giardino di Boboli) which offer great views over the city and the Duomo or, heading back to through the narrow streets to the Piazza della Repubblica. We chose the later and stopped at the Giubbe Rosse cafe en-route to our hotel, which has long been a meeting place for famous artists and writers.
Although we were only in the city for a short time, it certainly has whet our appetite for what the city has to offer.

Will Rist & Michelle Vincent
Sunvil Discovery