In the morning we said "Arrivederci" to Rome and took a 2 hour train journey to Florence, arriving in early afternoon. After checking into our hotel, we took off for a walking tour of some of the main sights of the city. We were staying only a few blocks away from the Uffizi Gallery, so we headed in that direction to the Plazza della Signoria which is one of the main squares of the city, filled with tourists and vendors. Above is the Palazzo Vecchio with its distinctive tower.
A replica statue of David stands in the square - the original one was moved to the Accademia in the 19th century to protect it from the elements.
Other notable statues stand in the covered Loggia. A nice shady spot where people like to take a break.
Walking through the open courtyard of the Uffizi Gallery. The artwork is on the second floor - we toured here on another day.
Then we walked up the street to the Duomo. The square is cramped, so it is difficult to get a full picture of the sparkling pastel colored marble facade. The Duomo is topped by Brunelleschi"s dome which is difficult to view from close up. Better photos later from a distance!
The outside and the doors are richly decorated. Surprisingly, the inside seemed plain, especially in comparison to lush churches interiors that we viewed in Rome.
Directly across from the Duomo is the Baptistry. I remember learning about Ghiberti's golden doors in art history. Like the David statue, these are replicas of the original door panels which are now kept protected in the Duomo Museum.
We mostly wandered the exteriors of the buildings on the first day and got a feel for the layout of Florence. Stay tuned for the next 3 days of intense museum and culture overload!