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Florence, Chianti, Siena & Surroundings Adventure Guide

Florence, Chianti, Siena & Surroundings Adventure Guide

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Florence, Chianti, Siena & Surroundings Adventure Guide
by Emma Jones

Visitors have been drawn to Florence's architectural and artistic treasures for centuries - and for good reason. But, with an historical center of only half a square-mile, it can be hard to see the sights through the crowds. The throng on the Duomo steps, the lines for the Uffizi and the jostling for photos on Piazzale Michelangelo all require a good dose of patience, especially under the blistering summer heat. Fortunately, early evening offers a respite; the quieter streets and softer lighting at that time bring out the colors of the marble-clad cathedral topped by Filippo Brunelleschi's archetypal dome, the sheer immensity of the Palazzo Vecchio and the charm of the medieval Ponte Vecchio, with its shops latched shut for the night. But avoiding the lines when you enter the buildings and museums takes some preparation, especially if you arrive in the busiest and hottest summer months when the only option is to drag yourself out of bed at sunrise to beat the crowds to the 8:15 am openings.

Not to be missed

* Piazza del Duomo: Famous address of the Duomo, Campanile and Battistero.
* Galleria degli Uffizi: The most select picture gallery in the world and potent symbol of Medici power.
* Palazzo Vecchio: Medieval town hall architecture at its most forceful.
* Galleria dell'Accademia: Home to Michelangelo's David.
* Via dei Tornabuoni: Even if you can't afford to buy, you'll enjoy the window-shopping on this luxury-laden street.
* Piazza Repubblica: The 19th century makes its mark.
* Museo Nazionale del Bargello: Florence's national sculpture museum.
* Giardino di Boboli: Sculpture-packed gardens behind the museum-packed Palazzo Pitti.
* The Oltrano: A warren of narrow streets filled with artisan workshops and some great restaurants.
* Piazzale Michelangelo: The classic Florentine view.
* The churches: Santa Maria Novella, San Lorenzo, Orsanmichele, Santa Croce, Santo Spirito and San Miniato al Monte are just some of the delights on offer.
* The markets: Shopping the Florentine way.
* Ponte Vecchio: Medieval bridge architecture at its most splendid.
* Le Murate: Atmospheric ex-convent and ex-prison now the venue for Firenze Estate events.

For an author bio and photo, reviews and a reading sample, visit www.hunterpublishing.com

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