Top Things to do in Florence Italy

TOP THINGS TO DO IN FLORENCE By Girl in Florence

The most famous monuments besides the Duomo include the:

  • Campanile di Giotto (82-meter bell tower next to the Duomo and yes you can and should climb it)
  • Galleria dell’Accademia (where the real David is located).
  • Galleria degli Uffizi & the Vasari Corridor
  • Palazzo Pitti & the Boboli Gardens
  • Palazzo Vecchio (a visit to the tower is a must – think panoramic views of the city)
  • Ponte Vecchio
  • Brancacci Chapel, Piazza del Carmine (famous fresco by Masaccio)
  • Horne House Museum
  • Forte Belvedere (LOVE THIS ONE!)
  • Santa Maria Novella church
  • Santa Croce church
  • San Marco church (one of my favorites).

#2 The Campanile, bell tower, is in Piazza del Duomo. The first story was designed by Giotto and it is commonly called Giotto’s Campanile. Buy a ticket and climb the 414 stairs for great views of the Cathedral and its dome and the city of Florence and surrounding hillside.

#3 The Galleria degli Uffizi holds the world’s most important collection of Renaissance art it’s a good idea to buy tickets ahead to avoid long ticket lines. The Uffizi holds thousands of paintings from medieval to modern times and many antique sculptures, illuminations, and tapestries. Artists whose works you’ll see include Michelangelo, Giotto, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Perugino, and Raphael.

#4 Across from the Ponte Vecchio is the Giardino di Boboli, a huge park on a hillside in the middle of Florence behind the Pitti Palace. Here you’ll find beautiful gardens and fountains and a great view of Florence from the Forte Belvedere. Open daily at 8:15 with seasonal closing times.

#5 The Pitti Palace, Florence’s largest palazzo, was once the seat of the Medici family. The palace today is home to the Palatine Gallery, with more than 500 paintings, most from the Renaissance. Many might look familiar from a past art history course or a History Channel documentary on the Renaissance; the collection includes works by Titian, Perugino, Raphael, Correggio, and Rubens. Some of the rooms were frescoed by the famous Baroque artist Pietro da Cortona. The Palazzo Pitti also has several lesser-known collections, including museums devoted to silver, porcelain, modern art, and fashion.

#6 Florence has some of the finest shopping in Europe. In Florence you’ll find leather goods, paper goods, and jewellry as well as nice souvenirs and art productions. Florence has a number of open air markets selling food, clothing, and antiques. The most famous is around Piazza San Lorenzo where you’ll find leather goods, too. Another good place is Mercato Nuovo (Porcellino) on Via Porta Rossa. Mercato Centrale is a great place for food shopping or just looking.

Porcellino Market – think ‘wild boar’ in piazza Mercato Nuovo, Loggia del Porcellino. Open daily. Here you can get your 5 euros sarves, bags, purses, keychains and take a selfie with the most popular boar in town, don’t forget to rub his nose for good luck!
San Lorenzo Market around Piazza San Lorenzo (has recently been moved), but you can find it still off of via nazionale and the mercato centrale (plus behind). Here you will find a larger selection of tourist goods, not all made-in-italy but definitely fun to walk through. Open Daily.
The city’s flea market has now been moved to Largo Pietro Annigoni, and takes place every day but Sunday (except for the last Sunday which makes for a huge extension of the regular market). A fun place that I love to walk through and search for vintage sunglasses, old city keys, maps, record players that I cannot afford and you get my drift.
Antique Market at the Cascine park, not far from the Santa Maria Novella Train Station. This market is held on the third saturday and sunday of the month and is the mother of antique markets in Florence. You can find some real gems here.
Santo Spirito Market, Piazza Santo Spirito, every second Sunday of the month. I love this market because it’s in the oltrarno and I have often found cool stuff here to boot.
#7 Piazzale Michelangelo: This piazza boasts some of the best city views anywhere; it’s where you’ll need to go to get that perfect postcard picture of Florence. It sits atop a hill above the Oltrarno neighborhood, on the opposite side of the river from the Duomo. Built in 1869, this piazza is dedicated to Michelangelo and features replicas of some of his famous sculptures – including a large bronze David standing in the center of the square.
**We will drive you here on Day 1 of our trip** Once there in the same spot is Giardino Rose & San Miniato.
Giardino delle Rose (Rose Garden) houses a collection of roses, lemons, and other plants, as well as a Japanese garden. It contains about 400 varieties of roses for a total of about 1,200 plants.The garden was created in 1865 by Giuseppe Poggi, who also designed the piazzale, on behalf of the City of Florence in anticipation of moving the capital of Italy from Turin. It covers about one hectare of land which offers a panoramic view of the city, sandwiched between viale Poggi, via di San Salvatore and via dei Bastioni.

#8 San Miniato standing atop one of the highest points in the city of Florence is one of the finest Romanesque structures in Tuscany and one of the most scenic churches in Italy. There is an adjoining Olivetti monastery to the basilica where the monks sell herbal teas and special honey elixirs. The mosaics and frescoes inside the church are incredible.
Church complex

The Cemetery from the Basilica di San Miniato al Monte by Hans von Bartels. Adjacent to the church is the cloister, planned as early as 1426 and built from 1443 to mid-1450s. It was designed by Bernardo and Antonio Rosselino. The whole complex is surrounded by defensive walls, originally built hastily by Michelangelo during the siege and in 1553 expanded into a true fortress (fortezza) by Cosimo I de’ Medici. The walls now enclose a beautiful large cemetery, the Porte Sante, laid out in 1854.

#9 San Marco Museum 
One of my favorite churches in Florence, every-time I visit I am surprised it is so empty. This former Dominican convent is home to a plethora of important art, and architecturally is quite fascinating as well.

#10 Boboli Gardens
Looking for a bit of green during your Florence stay? At 11 acres, the Boboli Gardens make up one of the biggest public parks in central Florence. Laid out originally in the 16th century, the Boboli Gardens—which are attached to the Palazzo Pitti—are formal gardens, with a twist: They have outdoor sculptures including ancient Roman statues and, most famously, striking Mannerist works, including a grotto that was carved to look as if it was dripping with stalactites and houses copies of important Renaissance and Baroque works.

I Dreamed of Florence Last Night

I dreamed of #Florence last night.
It makes sense to me because anytime I’m asked to remember when I felt most relaxed, I am here. 💕
I bow to the ability of my body to remember.
I bow to living #underthetuscan sun.
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I am so grateful for this place where I’m closest to my Father energy. I feel so at ease, I can let go of anything heavy I’ve been carrying. I need that.
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We all do.
And I’m looking forward to returning this June 🙏

Mary Magdalene Uffizi

I am always learning and am inspired by the teachings of both the sacred masculine and sacred feminine.
Lens: ‪#‎MaryMagdalene‬ ‪#‎uffizi‬

Introduction to Secrets of Mary Magdalene
By Elaine H. Pagels

Who was she, that elusive–and fascinating– woman in the circle around Jesus of Nazareth? For nearly two thousand years, Mary Magdalene has lived in the imagination of Christians as a seductive prostitute; in our own time, contemporary fiction pictures her as Jesus’ lover and wife, mother of his children. Yet the earliest sources that tell of Mary Magdalene–both within the New Testament and outside of it—do not describe either of these sexualized roles, suggesting that the woman herself, and how we have come to see her, is more complex than most of us ever imagined. Was she, then, one of Jesus’ followers, whose wealth helped support him, as the earliest New Testament gospel, the Gospel of Mark, says? A madwoman who had been possessed by seven devils, as Luke says? Or Jesus’ closest disciple, the one he loved more than any other, as the Gospel of Mary Magdalene tells us? Or, in the words of the Dialogue of the Savior, “the woman who understood all things”?

When we investigate the earliest available records, we find all of these conflicting images, and more. What we discover, too, is that which answer we find depends on where we look. What is probably the earliest story comes from the New Testament Gospel of Mark, written about forty years after Jesus’ death. Mark tells us that while Roman soldiers were crucifying Jesus Mary Magdalene stood among a group of women watching the execution, grieving, although the male disciples had fled in fear for their lives. Standing with Salome and another woman named Mary (the mother of James and Joseph), Mary Magdalene continued her vigil until Jesus finally died; later, along with her companions, she saw his body carefully wrapped in strips of linen, entombed, and sealed into a cave cut out of rock.

Mark explains that Mary, Salome, and “the other Mary” were among those who “followed Jesus and provided for him”– probably meals and a place to stay, perhaps money for necessities—when he was in Galilee. The morning after Sabbath, the women came to offer their teacher the final service, bringing aromatic spices to complete his burial. But Mark’s account ends on a note of confusion and shock: finding the tomb open, the body gone, the women, hearing that Jesus “is not here; he has risen,” run away, shaking with terror, “for trembling and astonishment came upon them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were terrified.”

Matthew, who wrote his version with Mark’s account before him, repeats the same story but changes the troubling ending. Mary and her companions did leave the tomb quickly, he says, but did so “with fear and great joy.” And instead of intending to say nothing, they immediately run “to tell his disciples Then, while they were on the way, the risen Jesus himself appeared before them, and spoke to them.
Luke, like Matthew, has Mark’s story before him, but has something different in mind when he revises Mark. To make clear to the reader that women—any woman, much less Mary—could not be among Jesus’ disciples, Luke initially leaves out Mark’s comment that Mary, Salome, and the other Mary “followed Jesus” (since saying this could be understood to place them among the disciples). Then Luke deliberately contrasts “the twelve”– the men whom he says Jesus named as disciples–with those he calls “the women,” whom he classifies among the needy, sick, and crazed members of the crowds that pressed themselves upon Jesus and his disciples. Thus, Luke, unlike Mark, says that Mary came to Jesus driven by demonic spirits, and as only one among “some women who had been healed from evil spirits and from illnesses,” Luke identifies these women as “Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna…and Susanna, and many others,” who, he concedes, “provided for (Jesus and his disciples) from their resources.”

When Luke tells the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and death, he changes three passages in which Mark had named Mary Magdalene, leaving her nameless in each of these three stories, standing among an anonymous group he calls “the women.”

Only after the anonymous women testify about what they saw to “the eleven” (the inner circle that Luke had called “the twelve” until Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus, had left them) does Luke name three women. For at this point, apparently, their witness matters to validate their testimony and he now names the three that he sees as the most prominent: Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James and Joseph, and Joanna. Although Luke, like John, sometimes speaks positively about “the women,” we may wonder why, at other times, he denigrates Mary and downplays her role.

Now, thanks to the recent discovery of other ancient gospels—gospels not included in the New Testament, which remained virtually unknown for nearly two thousand years until their recent discovery—we may be able to understand what Luke had in mind. For these other gospels, found translated into Coptic in Egypt, originally had been written earlier, in Greek, like the New Testament gospels. Scholars debate when they were written, but generally agree that most of them come from the first two centuries of the Christian movement. What we find in these discoveries is surprising: every one of the recently discovered sources that mention Mary Magdalene– sources that include the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Philip, the Wisdom of Faith, and the Dialogue of the Savior–unanimously picture Mary as one of Jesus’ most trusted disciples. Some even revere her as his foremost disciple, Jesus’ closest confidant, since he found her capable of understanding his deepest secrets. We can see that Luke apparently did not want to acknowledge that some of those he had simply called “the women” previously were actually regarded as disciples themselves. Although in this introduction we cannot discuss these remarkable texts in detail, let us briefly look at each of these gospels in turn.

mary magdalenFirst, the Gospel of Mary Magdalene pictures Mary taking a leading role among the disciples. Finding the male disciples terrified to preach the gospel after Jesus’ death since they feared that they, too, would be arrested and killed, Mary stands up to speak and encourages them, “turning their hearts to the good.” When Peter, acknowledging that “the Lord loved you more than other women,” asks Mary to “tell us what he told you” secretly, Mary agrees. When she finishes, Peter, furious, asks, “Did he really speak privately with a woman, and not openly to us? Are we supposed to turn around and all listen to her? Did he love her more than us?” Distressed at his rage, Mary replies, “My brother Peter, what do you think? Do you think that I thought this up myself in my heart, or that I am lying about the Savior?” Levi breaks in at this point to mediate the dispute: “Peter, you have always been hot-tempered. Now I see you contending against the women like (our) enemies. But if the Savior made her worthy, who are you to reject her? Surely the Lord knew her very well; that is why he loved her more than us.” The Gospel of Mary ends as the others agree to accept Mary’s teaching, and the disciples, including Mary, go forth to proclaim the gospel.
Like the Gospel of Mary, the Gospel of Thomas pictures Mary as one of Jesus’ disciples. Strikingly, it names only six disciples, not twelve, and two of these are women–Mary Magdalene and Salome,. Yet like the dispute between Peter and Mary in the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, several passages in the Gospel of Thomas indicate that at the time it was written, probably around 90-100 C. E., the question of whether women could be disciples already had triggered explosive controversy. In saying 61, for example, Salome asks Jesus to tell her who he is: ”Who are you, man, that you have come up on my couch, and eaten from my table?” Jesus answers, “I come from what is undivided;” that is, from the divine, which transcends gender. He thereby rejects what her question implies—that his identity involves primarily his being male, as hers does being female. Salome instantly understanding what he means, recognizes that the same is true for her. Thus she immediately answers, “I am your disciple.”

Here, too, however, as in the Gospel of Mary, Peter challenges and opposes the presence of women among the disciples. According to saying 114 in The Gospel of Thomas, Peter says to Jesus, “Tell Mary to leave us, for women are not worthy of (spiritual) life.” But instead of dismissing Mary, as Peter insists, Jesus rebukes Peter, and declares, “I will make Mary a living spirit,” so that she—or any woman–may become as capable of spiritual life as any man would have been in first century Jewish tradition .
We find yet another account of an argument in which Peter challenges Mary’s right to speak among the disciples in the dialogue called Wisdom of Faith. Here, after Mary asks Jesus several questions, Peter breaks in, complaining to Jesus that Mary is talking too much and so displacing the rightful priority of Peter and his brother disciples. Yet, here too, just as in the Gospel of Mary Magdalene and the Gospel of Thomas, Peter’s attempt to silence Mary earns him a quick rebuke, this time from Jesus himself. Later, however, Mary admits to Jesus that she hardly dares to speak with him freely, because, she says, “Peter makes me hesitate; I am afraid of him, because he hates the female race.” Jesus replies that whoever the Spirit inspires is divinely ordained to speak, whether man or woman.

This theme of conflict between Mary and Peter that we find in so many sources—conflict involving Peter’s refusal to acknowledge Mary as a disciple, much less as a leader among the disciples–may well reflect what people knew and told about actual conflict between the two. We know, too, that since women often identified with Mary Magdalene, certain people in the movement told such stories about her—or against her—as a way of arguing about whether—or how—women could participate in their circles.

Note, for example, that the very writers who picture Peter as the disciple whom Jesus acknowledges as being their primary leader—namely, the authors of the gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke—are the same ones who picture Mary as no disciple at all, but simply as one of “the women,” or, worse, in the case of Luke, someone who had been demon-possessed. What makes their accounts important historically, of course, is that these are three of the gospels that came to be included in the canon of the New Testament—often invoked, even now, to “prove” that women cannot hold positions of authority within Christian churches.”

Coming Home to Myself

“It is returning, at last it is coming home to me – my own Self and those parts of it that have long been abroad and scattered among all things and accidents.” – Nietzsche

There are events in our lives that can indeed separate ourselves from ourselves. I returned to my self through ‪#‎Yoga‬ and ‪#‎meditation‬ which is defined as the study of the self, to the self, through the self.

This combined with energetic resets in grounding places like ‪#‎Tuscany‬ have brought me back to the home of my heart. I want that for everyone. And I would love the opportunity to facilitate this journey for you so it can be easier than it was for me. I love you.

Lens: ‪#‎Florence‬ creating ‪#‎asana‬ in the streets

June 19-25, 2016 Tuscany Vino and Vinyasa Yoga Retreat

#‎MemorialDay‬ Weekend Save up to $350 now, pricing starts at $1749 all inclusive 7 days.
Florence Yoga Moments

Zero Agenda Method

My heart medicine includes wandering around beautiful places like my beloved ‪Florence‬ with no plan.

flroence pigeon graffittiThis zero agenda method helps me to quiet that part of brain often bugging my ‪#‎heart‬ to”do something.” For me the antidote is therefore to practice the beauty of doing nothing, “il bel far niente.” I walk and walk and now and again drop into some yoga. Then I sit and wait until spirit moves me to walk some more. Until I experience “la dolce far niente.” The Sweetness of doing nothing. It’s in those moments I meet my purest most simple self. ❤️

There is beauty in simplicity.

http://www.alchemytours.com

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo Da Vinci

“The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.”
– Walt Whitman

“In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.”
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Simplicity is natures first step, and the last of art.” – Philip James Bailey

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”
― Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
― Confucius

“Nature is pleased with simplicity. And nature is no dummy”
― Isaac Newton

Let’s Meet in Florence

By noon tomorrow I’ll be living in ‪#‎Florence‬ until June 21 before leading our Alchemy Tours  ‪#‎Tuscany‬ ‪#‎YogaRetreat‬ June 21-27.

If we’ve only been virtual friends so far, I would love to meet heart centered friends in Florence  Let’s take yoga at Its Yoga Firenze together and get coffee afterwards near Ponte Vechio. Or invite me for a spritz. I would love to meet you. Ciao for now! 🌻

sunflowerskiss silvia tuscany

‪#‎Sunflowers‬ ‪#‎Peace‬ and ‪#‎Love‬