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Milan's Art May Be Clothing, But Florence's Is All About The Lack Of

Where: Florence, Italy
August 19, 2009 at 3:34 PM | by | ()

Although Milan is Italy's financial hub, it's not the most picturesque spot for a vacay. Yes, it's the country's fashion capital, but if you really want to see some gorgeousness, you should head over to Florence, since your chances of bumping into any of the six-foot Versace models will be slim indeed. Just hop on a train for a two-hour trip from Milan to "Firenze," Italian for Florence.

First stop in Florence should be the Galleria Uffizi, one of the best museums in the world with its hefty collection of Renaissance masterpieces. The museum carries works from all the period's big names, including Botticelli, Caravaggio, da Vinci and Michelangelo. A must-see is Botticelli's instantly recognizable painting "Birth of Venus."

If you don't have museum fatigue after the Uffizi, head over to the Galleria dell'Accademia to see the epitome of male beauty, Michelangeo's 17-foot-tall white marble "David" statue. Warning: You'll have to wait on seemingly endless lines to get into both museums (entry for each is about $9) and then have elbow your way through swarms of tourists to get a peek at the art. To avoid waiting on a queue until Italy's next Renaissance, either book your tickets well in advance or pay for an art tour. Many tour companies cover one or both museums in a day and are able to skip past the lines.

After being stuck inside all day, walk around the Piazza del Duomo and check out the cathedral. The cathedral's dome frescoes are worth a look as well. Then visit to the Piazza della Signoria, a nice place for a stroll and to see the alfresco sculptures. Beware, the "David" at the piazza is a replica although it's in the spot where original work stood.

Now that you've seen the nude "David," and the nearly-nude Venus, perhaps you're thinking, "time for some clothes." This means shopping, of course, and Florence is where Guccio Gucci opened his leather goods company and first luggage shop. So obviously, leather is the treasure of choice here. Stop by the daily San Lorenzo Leather Market to sift through the knock-offs and pick up a purse or five. Leather pocketbooks have the power to make most any tough giftee happy.

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· Italy Travel Coverage [Jaunted]

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