Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.”

Jack Kerouac

The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality

“The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.”

Samuel Johnson

Top Things to See and Do in Florence, Italy

Top 8 things to do in Florence

So it’s your first time in Florence and you don’t want to miss what this Tuscan capital has to offer? Have no fear-Go Inspired is here to make your experience one you will not forget.

1. Il Duomo

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore: Florence’s most popular site is its Duomo (cathedral), the Cattedrale de Santa Maria del Fiore. The huge Gothic duomo was begun in 1296, consecrated in 1436, and holds 20,000 people. Its exterior, made of green, pink, and white marble, has several elaborate doors and interesting statues. Inside, Brunelleschi’s Dome is a masterpiece of construction. (You can buy a ticket to the top-463 steps.)

2. Ponte Vecchio

The Ponte Vecchio (old bridge), built in 1345, was Florence’s first bridge across the Arno River and is the only surviving bridge from Florence’s medieval days (others were destroyed in World War II). The Ponte Vecchio is still lined with shops selling gold and silver jewelry. From the bridge, you’ll have a great view along the Arno River and beyond. Have a gelato while listening to live music at night.

3. Tour the Uffizi Gallery

The Galleria degli Uffizi holds the world’s most important collection of Renaissance art but it’s also Italy’s most crowded museum so 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. Check out http://www.uffizi.com/ for more information.

4. Galleria dell’ Academia

Florence’s Galleria dell’ Academia holds important paintings and sculptures from the 13th-16th centuries. Michelangelo’s David, probably the most famous sculpture in the world, is in the Galleria dell’ Academia as well as other sculptures by Michelangelo. You’ll also find an interesting collection of musical instruments, begun by the Medici family. Always long lines so either go early in the morning or late in the afternoon or buy tickets in advance.

5. Boboli Garden and Pitti Palace

Cross the Ponte Vecchio to 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 (except some Mondays in winter) with seasonal closing times. The Pitti Palace, Florence’s largest palazzo, was once the seat of the Medici family. You can visit 8 different galleries, including art, costumes, jewelry, and apartments.

6. Piazza Michelangelo

Hike the steps to Piazza Michelangelo to get a beautiful view of Florence. During the summer, it is a great place to go to watch the sunset.

7. Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio

Florence’s most famous square is Piazza della Signoria, the heart of the historic center and a free open-air sculpture exhibit. The Loggia della Signoria holds some important statues including a copy of Michelangelo’s David. The piazza has been Florence’s political center since the middle ages and Florence’s town hall, the medieval Palazzo Vecchio, sits on the piazza. The palazzo contains elaborately decorated public rooms and private apartments that can be visited. Around the piazza are cafes and restaurants.

8. Santa Croce

The largest Franciscan church in the world, sits in Piazza di Santa Croce, about 800 meters from the Duomo. Originally, the site was in marshland outside the city walls. It is the final resting place of some of the most illustrious Italians, such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Foscolo, Gentile and Rossini, thus it is known also as the Temple of the Italian Glories.

Go Inspired tips

  • Shopping-you will find clothes shops as well as traditional Tuscan shops selling items from the area.
  • Eat ice cream (gelato)-Make sure you see what the price is because in many areas (like near the Ponte Vecchio) can be quite expensive. Some suggestions  are (according to http://www.florenceuncovered.com/header/food-drink/ice-cream-florence/ ):

Gelateria Alla Carraia, Nazario Sauro square, Florence. Cheap ice crem shop near River Arno: 1 € ice-cream!

Gelateria dei Neri, Via dei Neri 20-22r, Florence. Some say it is the best ice cream in Florence! Close to Ponte Vecchio and palazzo Vecchio.

Gelateria de’ Medici: It’s famous for spicy chocolate with hot pepper.

  • Walk through the leather markets-make sure you bargain!
  • Fiesole-this is a mountain town outside of Florence and provides spectacular views of Florence. Bus #7 leaves from Piazza San Marco and the train station.
  • Restaurants: There are so many great ones to choose from! One thing to be aware of is the service charge. Often, tips are included. Look carefully at the bill.
  • Trains-If you choose to take a side trip outside of Tuscany, you can purchase your train ticket at the machines in the train station (waiting in line usually takes forever). MAKE SURE YOU VALIDATE YOUR TICKET BEFORE GETTING ON BY PLACING THE TICKET INTO THE YELLOW MACHINE BEFORE GETTING ON THE TRAIN.

So join one of Go Inspired’s Italian programs -Italian Design, Commedia dell’Arte or Baroque and Renaissance Dance and you get to have an opportunity of a lifetime!

Check out the New York Times article on suggested things to do in Florence! New York Times Travel Florence, Italy

There are no foreign lands

“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.”

Robert Louis Stevenson

Discover Samothraki – Samothrace, Greece this summer!

Join us on a Sacred Greek island this summer!

Are you looking for something different to do this summer? Travelling across Europe and want some time relaxing where you won’t be surrounded by tourists? Want to experience a yoga and meditation practice like no other? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, Go Inspired has a perfect option for you.  Join our 10-day yoga, meditation and sacred dance course on Samothrace/Samothraki, a spiritual Greek island.

Samothrace/Samothraki is an island that has long been a vacation secret of northern Greeks. Samothrace beckons those looking to enjoy unspoiled nature,  picture-perfect beaches, enchanting villages and historic ruins. This 11 mile-long island is one of the most rugged Greek islands with its Mt. Saos-the highest mountain on the Aegean island. It is home of the Sanctuary of the Great Gods-a site of important Hellenic and pre-Hellenic religious ceremonies.

Visitors can explore the modern port town called Kamariotissa and also the Old Town. For lovers of water sports or just sunbathers, Samothrace has both rocky and sandy beaches with crystal clear water for snorkeling or diving. There are hidden waterfalls to be discovered while hiking as well as rivers and streams. There are also the famous sulfer springs of Therma to be visited for better health. At night, most villages have entertainment as well as taverns throughout the island.

Samothrace is perfect for nature lovers as it boasts abundant physical beauty with its forests and mediterranean landscape. There are plenty of outdoor activities such as trekking, mountaineering, rafting, kayaking, mountain biking and paragliding. Samothrace has something for everyone!

 

How to get there:

To get to Samothrace, you can take a ferry from Kavala which is offered several times per week. Another option is a boat from Alexandroupoli, which operates four boats per day during the high season. There is no airport on the island.

For more information regarding Samothrace, check out the following links:

http://www.greektravel.com/greekislands/samothraki/index.htm

http://www.justgreece.com/aegean/samothraki.php

http://www.visitgreece.gr/en/greek_islands/samothrace

 

The world is a book

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

St. Augustine