An architectural work of art of incredible value, the Uffizi Palace is one of the most admired monuments of Florence. The Palace was designed by Giorgio Vasari in the middle of the 16th century. The Palace was built with the intention of hosting the thirteen administrative Uffizi, meaning judicial magistrate, and therefore is derived its name. This theatre also served as the seat of the senate while Florence was the capital of Italy. The building is U shaped or "horseshoe" has two floors and opens up towards the Arno River. A large corridor with six high arched windows overlooking the courtyard and the Arno ties the two bodies of the building which are parallel. The Uffizi Gallery is one of the most admired and visited museums in the world housing great works of art and history from the 13th to the 18th centuries.
Originally built out of wood in 972 by the Etruscans this world famous bridge was initially built to allow access over the widest part of the Arno. Due to the enormous amount of traffic crossing over the bridge, the more enterprising decided to set up shop on the bridge itself. When the Medici family moved into Florence bringing eith them vast wealth as appreciation for the finer things in life. When they acknowledged the use of the Arno by the merchants led to an increasing degree of pollution of its waters, they decided to take action by replacing them with goldsmiths and artists and soon the number of shops greatly increased. Florence grew rapidly due to this increase of trade not to mention structure and strength given to the bridge. Ponte Vecchio is the only bridge which survived the perils of WWII and the massive flood of 1966 which wiped out the shops on the bridge.
PIAZZA DELLA SIGNORIA
Piazza della Signoria has been the centre of politics since the first years of the Florentinian republic history. It was in 1268 when the Guelph party, composed by primarily of a cultured upper-class with commercial origins, once again gained control and decided to take down the houses of their Florentine rivals, the Ghibellines. The palace continued to maintain its political function in Florence during the reign of the Medici and later under Duke Cosimo I, who lived there between 1540 and 1565. It was during this time that Giorgio Vasari was commissioned to double the building. Later when the Grand Duke and his family decided to move to the new Pitti Palace in 1565, Palazzo della Signoria began to be known as Palazzo Vecchio. One of the most visited open air attractions of the city where the Uffizi and Loggia dei Lanzi. A number of sculptures are on display under the elegant arches of the loggia which was erected for the public ceremonies of the Signoria. First, there are the six Roman statues against the wall in back representing heroines.
Six centuries of work have gone into the history of the Florence Cathedral or Duomo. The original project was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, at the end of the 13th century (he worked on the Cathedral up until his death in 1302) while the cupola (a symbol of Tuscany itself) was created by Filippo Brunelleschi, a renowned artist of the Renaissance period. A number of works enriched year by year the cathedral, from the building of two sacristies, to the 16th century marble floors, from the execution of the sculptures to the frescoes signed by Paolo Uccello, Andrea del Castagno, Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari. Like that of the Baptistery, the diameter of the Dome was projected to be 45.5 meters. Many years later when Grand Duke Francesco I de' Medici decided to construct a new facade in 1586, the sculptures on the existing facade, some of Arnolfo himself, were dismantled and transferred to the Museum of the Opera now beside the Duomo.
FORTEZZA DA BASSO
The monumental complex of the Fortezza da Basso, built on the outskirts of Florence, is few minutes away from Hotel Palazzo Ricasoli. Now it is the main exhibition centre in Florence where International Trade Fairs like the International Craftwork Exhibit, the series of Pitti Immagine events, the Furniture Exhibit, the International Exchange of Congress Tourism, Florence Gift Mart to Eurocamper, the International Exhibition of Crafts to Prato Expo, and other important events that find a home in its spacious interior, take place. The facade of the outer walls is carried out in round diamond-pointed projecting stone ashlars, perhaps inspired by the coat of arms of the Medici family, who ordered its construction. The inner part is dominated by the majestic octagonal guard house covered with a dome and fortified terrace. A cyclopic building with powerful bastions bristling with turrets, full of narrow passages, parapet walks and secret passages.