Bella Firenze. If you ask any Italian about Florence, they will say the same two words…Bella Firenze, or Beautiful Florence. This one city was the home of Macchiavelli, Dante, Michelangelo, Galileo, and the powerful Medici family. Florence has been described as the most beautiful city in Italy and in Europe, and it is considered to be “the Cradle of the Renaissance“. Everything you hear about it is true….times ten! No other city can boast of being the home and workplace of so many artists and scientists of the Middle Ages. All one need do is walk down the halls of the Galleria degli Uffizi to take in the masterpieces of numerous artists from days past such as Caravaggio, da Vinci, Botticelli, Raphael, and Michelangelo. Even il Duomo, or the The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, was created and packed full of treasures from such legendary artists and craftsman as Donatello, Uccello, and Brunelleschi. Florence is indeed the premier city in Europe for Art and Culture.
Yet, as many tourists come to Florence to see these Great Masterpieces of European Art and Culture, the “real” Florence is often overlooked. Pick any of the main touristic sights in Florence, go one street over in any direction, and the real magic of the city takes hold. Winding medieval streets, fresco covered porticoes, charming cobble stoned squares, and countless sidewalk cafes wait to be explored and rediscovered. All one must do is start out by wandering down a small, narrow road and they are immediately drawn in by the sheer beauty of the buildings and the burnt orange, yellow, and tan hues of the houses as the colors sparkle in the sun. One road leads to another, then another, then another, until one finds oneself standing in a sun-filled square full of Florentines all sitting in groups, drinking a delicious espresso, enjoying every second of life, and speaking so loudly and melodically in the beautiful song that is the Italian language. This is the real Masterpiece of Florence…this way of life that is so ancient, yet so modern. Yes, the life is enriched so deeply by the artistic and historical treasures of Florence, yet the life itself is the true treasure of Bella Firenze.