For anyone who is genuinely interested in art and design, nothing compares to a visit to Florence in Italy. I have seldom been to any city which captures my heart. Most cities have a sort of pulse, but Florence has a pulse which reverberates within its beauty as being the city which could well be called the birth of Renaissance.
After a 10 hour flight, on a hot April night, I landed in Florence hungry and a tired in the middle of the afternoon. The cool balmy air with a light drizzle seemed to wipe away the tiredness the moment we stepped out and went in search of food.
There is no other way to explore a city in Europe except to walk! So after walking in a general direction of the main square, we stumbled upon a small bistro. Food is essential for the survival of my soul and I always try the local cuisine wherever I go. Fulfilled with some creamy pasta, and sandwiches, we began to walk. In the glow of the early evening light the city appeared to glow and as we crossed over the Arno River, I was transported to another era.
Florence has some of the best examples of Renaissance architecture, and is dominated by the DUMO, the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. However it was only on day two, that I saw what I had come to see, the statue of DAVID ( now a replica I am told) and the painting of the “Birth of Venus” by Botticelli at the Uffizi gallery. Waiting in ordered serpentine queues, is the norm in most museums in Europe and one simply does not mind as the wait is well worth it.
Florence, even the 3 days that I was there grows on you. You do not tire of the city sights, of the creamy gelatos, (ice cream), different pastas and raviolis, coffee and cakes. You can stare endlessly at the buildings and gardens in awe, for the city is centuries old, steeped in art and history.
On the morning I was leaving to catch a train to my next destination, I ran to see the BOBOLI gardens, another marvel of sculpture and landscaping, and to view the city from a plateau, all in record time ; to capture the images in my mind’s eye.
April to July is a good time to travel but you must do your research before you leave. There’s just so much to see and absorb. Prioritise and plan as per the time available to you. Do take photographs, but above all, capture it in your artist’s eye and look at it as a designer would!
FIRENZE, as the Italians call this glorious city, lies entrenched deep in my heart.
Lolita Dutta, Associate Director & HoD, School of Communication Design, Unitedworld Institute of Design (UID)
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