MERIDIANA HOTEL FLORENCE PLACES OF INTEREST

Piazza San Lorenzo: with its lively market, is named after the Basilica of the same name. The entrance to the cloisters and to the Biblioteca Mediceo Laurenziana, designed by Michelangelo, opens onto the square. On the right there is the statue of Giovanni delle Bande Nere, the father of Cosimo I. The statue was made by Bandinelli. On the east side, the back of Palazzo Medici Riccardi can be seen, built on a long, protruding base which is used as a bench to rest and to admire the surrounding buildings.

Piazza del Duomo: is in the heart of the historic centre of Florence, dominated by the imposing cathedral, the Campanile (Bell Tower) designed by Giotto and the Battistero di San Giovanni (the Baptistery of San Giovanni or sometimes called the Florence Baptistery or the Baptistery of St. John). Florence's Cathedral is one of the most important architectural works of the period, in Gothic-Renaissance style, and one of the largest and most beautiful cathedrals in Europe.

Piazza della Signoria: is Florence's main square, in the medieval centre, south of the Cathedral (Duomo) and a few dozen yards from Ponte Vecchio and the Arno. Palazzo degli Uffizi, also known as Palazzo Vecchio or Palazzo della Signoria, built by Vasari in the middle of the XVI century and completed by Buontalenti, is found in the square. On completion, 13 Uffizi (offices), previously housed in various seats, were all moved into the building.

Ponte Vecchio: one of the main symbols of the city of Florence, is suspended over the River Arno at the narrowest point. The first construction dates back to Roman times, but it was damaged several times when the river flooded. In 1442, the city authorities obliged the butchers to move their shops onto Ponte Vecchio in order to isolate them from the palaces and the dwellings in the centre of the city, aiming above all to eliminate the unpleasant smells which could thus be dispersed directly in the current of the river.

Piazza San Marco: surrounded by elegant buildings, is dominated by the monastery and the Basilica di San Marco, from which it takes its name. The church was built in 1437, when Cosimo il Vecchio (Cosimo the Elder) commissioned Michelozzo to build the church and the monastery for the Silvestrine monks, although the complex was later taken over by the Dominicans. In ancient times, the area was called San Marco al Cafaggio (faggio = beech), because of the fenced-in wooded area which once existed here.

Piazza Santa Croce: is located in an area which in ancient times was an island formed by two branches of the Arno, which separated near what is now Piazza Beccaria,to join again in front of the walls situated near Via de' Benci. Like Piazza Santa Maria Novella, Piazza di Santa Croce was built to contain the crowds of the faithful who gathered to listen to the sermons of the monks.

Firenze Fiera: is the Florentine complex which organises congresses, meetings and exhibitions in the city of Florence. The structures which house the various national and international events are the Fortezza da Basso, the Palazzo dei Congressi and the Palazzo degli Affari. They are positioned side by side and are in the area of the historic centre beside the Santa Maria Novella railway station.

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