One of the main focal points of Florence, Italy is the beautiful Duomo (Santa Maria del Fiore) located at the heart of the main square in Piazza del Duomo.
Piazza del Duomo is the center of all historical, artistic, and cultural aspects of the city. Specifically, the Dome of the Florence cathedral was designed by famous architect Filippo Brunelleschi, who also created the doors of the Baptistery located in the Baptistry directly in front of the Duomo. The Dome of the Florence cathedral is a 2 tiered “shell” that interconnects, which allows visitors to climb the church to get the BEST views of Florence. Read more here.
The Basilica di Santa Croce is located a few short blocks away from ISI Florence Palazzo Bargagli. This church is a Gothic Style Cathedral with a very unique and ornate marble facade of reds and blues. Santa Croce is also the final resting place to some of the most famous Florentines; Galileo Galilei, Michelangelo, and Machiavelli. Explore it here.
Ponte Vecchio – The Old Bridge
Ponte Vecchio is the colorful bridge located right on the Arno River, a short walk from ISI Florence’s Palazzo Bargagli. Specifically, Ponte Vecchio is home to many luxury jewelry shops, but back in the day used to be shops for butchers, clothes, and leather goods. Oddly enough Ponte Vecchio is only one aspect of a large city “bridge” that the Medici family designed to be able to get from Palazzo Vecchio to Palazzo Pitti without ever having to come into contact with the people of Florence. Discover its past here.
Palazzo Rucellai – The Rucellai Palace
Today, it houses some of ISI Florence’s classes and staff offices. In the past, Palazzo Rucellai was designed during the Renaissance by world-renowned architect Leon Battista Alberti (between 1446-1451). The facade of the building represents ancient Roman architecture; arches, pilasters, and entablatures. Palazzo Rucellai stands 3-stories high with pilasters of classical column orders very similar to the architectural elements of the Colosseum. Notably, the palace was created out of eight smaller buildings combined into an architectural complex/central courtyard. Giovanni Rucellai commissioned Alberti when he was completing the facade of the Church of Santa Maria Novella. Giovanni Rucellai and Marcus Agrippa’s names were engraved on the entablature, however, Agrippa’s name was engraved on the Pantheon 1,500 years earlier. Learn the history of your classrooms here.
About the Author:
Karsyn (Marywood University) is interning with ISI Florence through ISI Abroad during her senior year. As an aspiring architect and art historian, she will be your guide to help you explore all the possibilities Italy has to offer!