Favorites of Firenze: Churches

Firenze, Italy is home to some of the world’s most beautiful churches. From their crown-jewel, the Duomo, to multiple smaller, equally beautiful churches tucked throughout the city, Firenze is largely known for their churches.

One of my favorite parts of living here is being able to pass by these churches and admire their beauty throughout my daily life. I decided to share some of my favorites with everyone else so you may see what I’m talking about. I will say that if you have quite a bit of time while you’re visiting the city that you should either go into these churches by buying a ticket (some are free) or by going to one of their masses.

Florence Cathedral, or The Duomo

IMG_1161.jpgThe Duomo is partly the reason I fell in love with this place. I did not do much research on my new home before moving here, so when I saw it I was all sorts of surprised. Each walk by this monumental church still amazes me every single day. From all the legends I’ve learned about it, actual history, and going to a mass, I fell deeper in love with the sky-piercing cathedral. IMG_3572.JPGIf you ever visit Florence I highly suggest buying the ticket for the Cathedral. To go in is free, but to climb the bell tower and dome, go into the ruins underneath the cathedral, go to the neighboring baptistery, and to go to the museum across the street you need a ticket. It is all included in one, relatively inexpensive price, and the tickets are good for 72 hours. My roommate and I climbed the bell tower at sunrise and the dome at sunset. It was honestly one of the best things I could have done for myself. You get to experience a whole new part of Florence (from the top) and you get to see why the Florentines are so dang proud of it in its entirety.

**I plan to do a full post on the Duomo and everything you need to know about visiting in an upcoming post, so check back later for that.

Santa Croce

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Another one of my favorite churches is Santa Croce. I’m one of the lucky ones because I get to see this church every time I go to class. This is only the second church I have gone to mass in since being here. I went on a Friday, so mass was held in a smaller chapel. This particular chapel was floor to ceiling marble, paintings, and statues. There was not a bare spot in this chapel. Although I got to see the inside of this church, I have not paid to see the rest of the church grounds which includes a bell tower and a courtyard. I can honestly say that if you have time and money to go in while you’re visiting that it might be worth it to you. If all you have time for is to see the beauty from the piazza you should still make time to see it.

San Miniato Al Monte

One goal of everyone’s while visiting Firenze is to usually visit Piazzale Michelangelo toIMG_2094.jpg see an amazing view of the city and a fake David statue. What most people don’t know is that there is another amazing, if not better, view from just a little bit more up the road at San Miniato Al Monte. Not only is the view great, but the church is also gorgeous. When you walk up the front steps you are greeted by a beautiful green and white exterior with a gold mosaic at the top. Once you turn around you have a great view of the mountains behind Firenze, the city itself, and the rolling hills alongside one of the old city border walls.

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One of the coolest parts of this church is that you could spend hours here and you would have no ideas just by looking at the front of it. The third time I went, I figured out that behind the church is a massive cemetery, and although this sounds very weird and kind of creepy is was not at all. There are dozens are chapels that look like tiny churches where people are buried that are decorated all differently. Some are decorated with beautiful mosaics while others different stones. It looks like a little city of chapels amongst gravestones. The property is massive and one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

 

 

Sant’Ambrogio

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Photo courtesy of tripadvisor.com

In one of the more local parts of town, past Santa Croce, you will find the church Sant’Ambrogio. This church is very plain from the outside, so many might not know what lies within. This, to me, is more of a local style church. It is near the Sant’Ambrogio market, so it is easy for me to imagine and witness people going from a church service to the market (depending on mass times). I never would have known for this church unless I lived where I do. I am just down the street from the church, and I pass it on the way to my school restaurant. One random Friday I decided to take a look inside. It is free to go inside, and I encourage you to if you have the time. It feels a bit homier in comparison to some of the other churches mostly because it is. It is much smaller and houses some very beautiful works of art on the wall. The alter is not nearly as large as the other from previously mentioned churches, but it is still a good size. This is a little bit off the beaten path of the main churches, but take five minutes to visit it. You won’t be disappointed.

Still On My List

Despite having so much time in Firenze, there are still multiple churches I want to visit and masses I want to attend. On my list still is Santa Maria Novella which is beautiful from the outside, and I can’t wait to see the inside. Another is Basilica Santa Spirito. This one is on the other side of the river and is also a more simple, locals church. I need to make a trip to visit the inside and attend a mass. Basilica San Lorenzo, tucked behind the Duomo, is also a church I have seen from the outside but have not ventured in yet. They are on my list to see for the last weeks I am here.

The pictures alongside my descriptions don’t do these churches justice, but I hope you enjoyed this post. If you’re ever in Firenze take the time to visit some of these churches, they won’t disappoint.

Sincerely,

Krystal, With a “K”

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Florence Frenzy

Frenzy (/ˈfrɛnzi/): a state or period of uncontrolled excitement or wild behavior.

Just a little bit over two weeks ago I stepped off a plane in my new home, Florence, Italy. The first 24 hours of my stay were full of uncertainties, fear, excitement, and exhaustion. The lack of caffeine and sleep from traveling left me in a state of shock, and it wasn’t until I had my first glimpse of this Renaissance city’s crown jewel that I knew I was right where I belonged.

img_1056.jpgFrom the Duomo (the so-called crown jewel) to the people I’ve met so far, this city has already captured a huge part of me. I’ve spent most of my first days exploring both the touristy parts of the city as well as the more authentic side. I already have my favorite gelato and coffee places, knowing my order in Italian at both. I have totaled more than 300,000 steps since being here, and I don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.

Aside from exploring my city, some new friends and I adventured out to Cinque Terre.IMG_1079 Literally meaning five lands, this city sits on the northwestern coast of Italy. We traveled with a student travel company (Bus2Alps) to see three of the five towns. The best part of this day trip was the hike from Vernazza to Monterosso (town four to town five). The hike IMG_3805was difficult in the beginning, starting with virtually a straight climb up narrow, makeshift staircases, but the views on the mountainside made it all worth it. Once we got to Monterosso we made our way to the famous, fresh margarita buckets and then to the beach where we swam in the saltiest water I’ve ever set foot in.

My classes are unlike anything I’ve experienced back home in Michigan. I focused on taking classes that would count as electives here so that I could really experience Italy’s culture. IMG_2087The classes are once a week, but they are two and a half hours long each time we meet. I’m working on my Italian both in class and in the city daily. I’m learning about the history of Florence’s architecture in my ceramics class by using the same methods that early Florentines used when creating the city. I’m exploring the wine culture of Italy and discovering that I, in fact, do like some dry wines with two wine tastings each time we meet. I’m learning more about my personal camera and photography in general in my street photography class. Finally, I’m discovering the healthy lifestyle of the Italian people in and health and fitness class where we hands-on learn why this culture is so much healthier than ours.

As you can see, there is a lot that I am doing with my time here in Florence. I am in love with my life more than I ever have been before. I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to make my dream a reality. I want to thank anyone who encouraged me to do this, and of course, I want to thank my family for love and support. I will try to keep my blog updated as much as possible with my upcoming travels and Florence discoveries.

Arrivederci!

Krystal, With a “K”