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.

Truth of the Heart

A truth of the heart: The transformation that happens on a #yogaretreat is a quantum leap. It is not fully describable with words. But if your heart feels the call, and #Italy keeps popping up in your dreams then come with us!
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June 25-July 1, 2017 #Tuscany #YogaRetreat
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ITINERARY 2017

Day 1

Morning:
10:30am Meet in the lobby of the Hotel Palazzo Vecchio (via Cennini 4, 50123, Florence, Italy)
Walking tour of Historic Center of Florence

Afternoon:
1:30pm Lunch in Santo Spirito Plaza, Welcome!
2:45pm Visit Piazzale Michelangelo and Giardino delle Rose
Tour Basilica San Miniato del Monte
5:00pm Pool time

Evening:
6:00pm Welcome Yoga Practice
7:30pm Sunset Aperitivo
8:00pm Dinner and Brief Logistics Talk

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.

Piazzale Michelangelo offers panoramic views of Florence and the Arno valley.The Piazzale Michelangelo is dedicated to the city’s most famous Renaissance artist Michelangelo Buonarroti. At the center of the square stands a replica of his most famous statue, the David. The bronze statue is set on a large pedestal, decorated with replicas of allegorical statues depicting day, night, dusk and dawn.

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.

Day 2

Morning:
8:00am Yoga Practice
9:30am Breakfast
10:30am Depart for Monteriggioni
11:30am Castle Tour & Shopping
1:00pm Picnic Lunch in Monteriggioni

Monteriggioni is, without doubt, one of the most classical and best known Italian walled town. Since the Middle Age its fame was so big that also the great poet Dante Alighieri makes sign to his ’round enclosure’ in the Divine Comedy (Hell, chant XXXI vv. 40-41). Recently a part of the wall walk of the town walls has been restored and made accessible. From the top of the walled circuit, it is possible to admire the surrounding countryside towards Chianti and the Valdelsa and to enjoy a unique view of the town and its fortifications.

Afternoon:
2:30pm Siena
6:00pm Aperitivo on Il Campo (At Bar Il Palio), Siena

Siena preserves its medieval character to a remarkable degree, and has been largely unspoilt by new buildings. In fact Siena retains a ward-centric culture from medieval times. Each ward (contrada) is represented by an animal or mascot, and has its own boundary and distinct identity. Ward rivalries are most rampant during the annual horse race (Palio) in the Piazza del Campo.

Evening:
8:00pm Dinner
9:00pm Restorative Yoga Practice

Day 3 

Morning:
8:00am Yoga Practice
9:00am Breakfast

Afternoon:
12:30pm Lunch at the Borgo
1:30pm Depart for Radda in Chianti
2:30pm Radda in Chianti walking tour and wine tasting

Radda in Chianti is situated on a hill covered with woods and extensive vineyards forming the watershed between the Pesa and Arbia valleys. The structure of the medieval village is still intact; it grew up elliptically around the church of San Nicolò, of 14th century origin and the Palazzo Pretorio. Built about 1415, its facade is adorned with the coats of arms of the podestà (chief magistrates), the latter is now the seat of the municipality.

Just outside the village, in the Vignale farm, are the headquarters of the Chianti Classico consortium (its symbol is the black-cockerel, the former emblem of the League of Chianti), and the Centro di Studi Chiantigiani (Centre for Chianti Studies), founded in 1984, with a small library and an archive devoted to the history of Chianti and its agriculture. The Montevertine farm, near the village, houses the small Museo del Chianti, with displays relating to the farming community.

Evening:
6:30pm Yoga Practice
8:00pm Dinner at the Borgo

Day 4 

Morning:
8:00am Breakfast
9:30am Yoga Practice

Afternoon:
12pm Lunch at the Borgo
1:00pm Depart for Volterra
1:30pm Walking Tour of Volterra
2:30pm Free Time & Shopping in Volterra

Volterra “is situated in the middle of the triangle formed by the cities of Pisa, Siena and Florence. On clear days you can easily see the sea, with the islands of Capraia and Corsica on the horizon. Far from heavily-trafficked roads and industrial areas, Volterra is surrounded by rolling patchwork hills with fields of grain and woodlands. In Summer, as the spring rains slow their trickle, the green fields turn to gold as wheat is harvested and sunflowers raise, and then bow, their proud heads. Volterra is one of the most important towns in Tuscany: its unique position and its ancient history leaves everyone enchanted.” From our friends at Tuscan Tour.

Evening
4:30pm Depart for the Borgo
5:30pm Yoga Practice
6:30pm Dinner at Borgo
7:30pm Explore Casole D’Elsa after dinner

Casole d’Elsa is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Siena in the Italian region Tuscany, located about 50 km southwest of Florence and about 25 km west of Siena. It is a charming medieval hilltop town situated in wonderful countryside around Siena. It is situated 70km from Florence and 35km from the town of Siena.

Originally it was a domain of the Bishop of Volterra but in the middle of the 13th century it passed under the control of Siena. The Sienese strengthened the fortifications because of its strategical position. In 1554 Casole surrended, after strenuous resistance, to the imperial and Florentine armies during the war against Siena. The dualism between Siena and Volterra still survives in the daily life of Casole for political purposes it is in the Province of Siena, whereas it falls under the Diocese of Volterra for religious matters. Verrocchio Art School Tuscany Italy.

Day 5

Morning:
7:00am Breakfast
7:30am Depart for Beach Day on the Mediterranean!

Afternoon:
11:00am Arrive Fonteblanda
12:00pm Catered lunch at Beach Club
1:30pm Depart for Petriolo Natural Hot Springs & Spa

At the Petriolo, you can indulge at the brand new spa center by the natural hot pools, which offers massage, beauty and health treatments, or you can enjoy the hot springs (43°C), open to the public free of charge, where you can relax in the pools along the banks of the river Farma.

The spas at the Petriolo are open from May to October. The Petriolo’s thermal baths are very ancient. The Romans knew and appreciated them. It is very likely that these are the baths mentioned by the orator Marco Tullio Cicero in his pro Marco Caelio.

Of the original baths, composed by four groined vaulted rooms, only one room still exists. It opens onto the river Farma with arches built on octagonal pillars.

Evening:
7:00pm Restorative Yoga Practice
8:30pm Dinner

Day 6

Morning:
8:00am Yoga Practice
9:30am Breakfast
10:30am Depart for Wine Tasting Tour and Explore San Gimignano

‘San Gimignano delle belle Torri’ served as an important relay point for pilgrims travelling to or from Rome on the Via Francigena. The patrician families who controlled the town built around 72 tower-houses (some as high as 50 m) as symbols of their wealth and power. Although only 14 have survived, San Gimignano has retained its feudal atmosphere and appearance. The town also has several masterpieces of 14th- and 15th-century Italian art.

The People’s Palace is one of the most important monuments of San Gimignano, being both the home of the Civic Museum and rich in paintings by the Florentine and Sienese schools (dating from the 13th century) such as the “Crucifix”, painted by Coppo di Marcovaldo, the triptyches by Niccolò Tegliacci and Taddeo di Bartolo dating from the 14th century, and other important works of art dating from the 15th century painted by Domenico Michelino, Pinturicchio and Filippino Lippi.

Afternoon:
2:00pm Lunch at Borgo (Post lunch: Optional Massages)
2:30pm Pool time, R&R, Nap

Evening:
6:30pm Yoga Practice
8:00pm Bruschetta making class & Closing Dinner at Borgo

Day 7 

Morning:
8:00am Closing Yoga Practice
10:00am Brunch
12:00am Departures – Ciao for now!
1:00pm Arrive Florence

Imagine this View at you Wake up

Imagine this is the view you look out upon everyday for a week in Tuscany June 25-July 1?
Inhale peace. Exhale worry.
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Let’s unbusy ourselves.
Enjoy a cappuccino having time to slow down and breathe. When you want to pick wild lavender on your way to the pool to lie down.
You’ve done enough.
You are enough.
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Just relax 💚
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Borgo Tignano
 

Spiritual Meaning of Sunflowers

It is no secret my favorite flower medicine is from Sunflowers. I always felt this connection even when I was a little girl. I can’t wait to share them with you on my Tuscany Yoga Retreat!

SPIRITUAL MEANING OF THE SUNFLOWER

Sunflower has been adopted as a symbol of happiness, strength, a love of the sun & sunlight and because it is said to always turn its face to the sun it is considered by some to be a symbol of faith. Some DSCF7996

believe that the sunflower represents a constant search for light, or enlightenment.
There are lots of variations on the Greek Myth Origin Story about the Sunflower. This is the Greek Myth of Clytie (also Clytia) which supposedly tells how the sunflower came into existence.

Clytie, the water nymph, was in love with Apollo, the Sun God. She would stare up at Apollo, hoping he would glance her way. But Apollo was in love with someone else and never did favor Clytie with his gaze. When Clytie realised that Apollo was never going to return her love, she sank into a depression and would not eat or drink for nine days but just stare with sorrow at her unrequited love. The other Gods felt sorry for Clytie and they transformed her into a beautiful sunflower which always followed the path of the sun. Note: In the 3rd century BC, Apollo became known as and referred to as ‘Apollo Helios.’

PRIMARY SIGNIFICANCE
Gifts of radiant warmth, sunflowers are the happiest of flowers, and their meanings include loyalty and longevity. They are unique in their ability to provide energy in the form of nourishment and vibrance, an attribute which mirrors the sun and the energy provided by its heat and light.

No flower can lift spirits quite like sunflowers can. Bright and cheery, bold yet comfortable, the sunflower is a warm and caring gift. With brilliant yellow petals that surround the flower’s center, sunflowers have an unmistakable sun-like appearance that has made them a passionate flower choice for many. Sunflowers come in a number of varieties, ranging from small to large and from daylight yellows to sunset reds.

Sunflowers originated in the Americas in 1000B.C., where for centuries they were cultivated as a valuable food source. The use of sunflower images as religious symbols has also been documented in some native societies. With the European exploration of the New World, the sunflower was brought to new areas, and the flower’s popularity eventually spread as the rest of the world began to appreciate its beauty and sustenance. Artists throughout history have appreciated the sunflower’s unique splendor, and those of the Impressionist era were especially fixated on the flower . Today, sunflowers continue to provide a resource for commonly used seeds and oil, but they have also become recognized as a floral symbol of great significance.

sunflowers-tuscany-2017
Much of the meaning of sunflowers stems from its namesake, the sun itself. Wild sunflowers are often photographed with their tall stalks and bright petals stretched towards the sun. This unique behavior, known as phototropism, is a motif that has appeared in many ancient myths and is viewed as a symbol of loyalty and constancy. Their physical resemblance to the sun has also influenced their meanings. The sunflower’s petals have been likened to bright yellow rays of sunshine, which evoke feelings of warmth and happiness. In addition, the sunflower is often associated with adoration and longevity.

For a flower which reflects so many of the sun’s positive characteristics, it is little surprise that people enjoy basking in the sunflower’s warming glow. With the sense of brightness and warmth that sunflowers naturally impart, they have become an ideal choice for sending sentiments of cheerfulness and sunny get well thoughts.

Come with me to feel the ‪#‎medicine‬ ‪#‎plantmedicine‬ of ‪#‎sunflowers‬ for yourself June 25-July 1, 2017 Tuscany Vino & Vinyasa Retreat
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Curated from various sources over the years.

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Tuscany Yoga Retreat Favorite Photos

t’s not really fair to try to curate the “best” of my signature ‪#‎Tuscany‬ ‪#‎YogaRetreat‬ because I love all of it. Toscana is seen in broad brush strokes but it is felt with detailed precision only your soul knows.

I live in Tuscany part of the year. I am not a visitor. For that reason, what I want to share with you is not just a week of experiences waiting to happen but they are the totality of my entire life and that of my Father’s family. You receive my heritage as a gift on my beautiful ‪#‎Italy‬ Yoga Retreat.

Under the Tuscan Sun is a place you fall in love with and that love affair continues forever. For me, it’s never stopped. It is carried in your heart and how you drink, taste, see and feel the world.

We are all artists, dreamers, and poets. Italy simply reminds you of your true nature. Just like yoga does. And when you combine them it is magic!

My next adventure guided wtih acclaimed Art Expert/Teacher/Healer Amita Stark, is June 19-25, 2016.

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