Every great city in the world can boast of magnificent views. Florence – the crown jewel of the Tuscany region in central Italy – is no exception. Perennially ranked among the top 10 travel destinations in the world, Firenze, as the locals call it, is as photogenic as they come.
The above image was taken near Piazzale Michelangelo. (In case you were wondering, a “piazza” is a square surrounded by buildings on four sides, while a “piazzale” has at least one open side.) Piazzale Michelangelo is a classic tourist stop so you will never have the place to yourself – but it nonetheless offers a truly stupendous lookout over Florence. For an exquisite sunset, this location should top your list.
If you want to avoid at least some of the crowds, you can do what I did and clamber up the hill another 100 yards or so. There, you will be rewarded in two ways. First, you will have a much more expansive view of Florence, as shown by the featured image. Second, you will be right next to the Basilica San Miniato al Monte, a small but striking church built in 1018. (Yes, that’s really 1,000 years ago!) Besides being an architectural treat, San Miniato offers a memorable experience each weekday at 5:30 p.m. That’s when Gregorian monks sing chants at Vespers (evening prayers) in the crypt below the main chapel The setting is very intimate, with visitors sitting on wooden pews just a short distance from the monks, with no illumination but candlelight. Although the chanting lasts only 30 minutes, for half an hour you feel like you have stepped back centuries in time. For more information about San Miniato, visit http://www.san-miniato-al-monte.com/.
In case you haven’t noticed, this has been the longest gap – 14 days, to be exact – between posts to my blog. There’s a perfectly good explanation, however, as the relocation of my gallery on Bainbridge Island – about 95% complete – has been very time-consuming. Details will follow in my next post. While the location may have changed, the gallery will continue to offer an excellent assortment of matted, metal, canvas and fine acrylic prints, as well as professionally framed black-and-white prints. Hopefully you will be able to make the official Grand Opening later this year!
Ciao for now!
Andrew (“Andy”) Bergh