Views near Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy

| October 7, 2009
ponte vecchio florence

Ponte Vecchio Florence

One of the best views of the city of Florence, Italy can be enjoyed on the Piazzale Michelangelo, which is just across the Arno River in the Oltrarno district of the city. My friend Lauren, who studied art history in both Florence and Venice actually recommended that we make a trek to the San Miniato al Monte basilica for the view, which sits just above the terrace at Michaelangelo’s square. Frankly, San Miniato was our goal but, with all the walking that we did that day, we were a bit tired and were quite satisfied with Michaelangelo’s view instead.

The photo above, taken from the terrace at about 5 o’clock in the afternoon, is one of my favorites of that day. The raking light combined with the warm temperature and high humidity to create a wonderful atmosphere that was reminiscent of the Canaletto or Bellotto paintings I admire so much. More on them in another post!

ponte santa trinita florence italy

Ponte Vecchio beyond Ponte Santa Trinita

The Ponte Vecchio, or “Old Bridge”, has quite a history. During World War II, the bridge was not destroyed by Germans during their retreat by an express order from Hitler, reportedly due to its architectural and artistic significance. Instead, access to the Ponte Vecchio was obstructed by the destruction of the buildings at both ends, which have since been rebuilt using original and modern design.

We crossed the Ponte Vecchio a number of times during our visit to Florence as we walked to Michelangelo’s square and the Pitti Palace among other destinations. Unlike Venice, it was a bit hard to find quality retail art galleries in Florence. The nice galleries we did find were located in the shopping areas near the bridge. At one of them, I met Italian artist Ida Calzolari, who was born in Venice, Italy in 1936 and is a descendant from a family of Venetian painters. Her grandfather, Enrico Calzolari was a teacher at the School of Beaux Arts in Venice. She actually had a piece in progress on the easel the day we stopped by her studio. We got past the broken English and Italian and discovered that she supplies one of the more prominent galleries in Colorado Springs – right in our back yard! If memory serves me correctly, the painting below was the one she was working on.

ida calzolari florence italy

Work by Ida Calzolari courtesy of Frederic Got Fine Art

An exhibition of twelve of her paintings was instituted by Ronald Reagan in Washington D.C in 1983. In addition, five of her paintings are exhibited in the Museum of Prince Torrigiani-Colonna in Venice. After devoting years of work restoring masterpieces from the 16th and 17th centuries for some of the finest museums in Europe, Ida now creates original oil paintings inspired from the past.

Below, I have posted a couple more pictures of Florence and the area around the bridge that I like. I hope you enjoy looking at these as much as I do. Florence is a fabulous place to visit and I highly recommend it ! Ciao for now!

santa trinita florence italy night

Ponte Santa Trinita at night from Ponte Vecchio


ponte vecchio florence italy

Ponte Vecchio midday in late September

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Category: Fine Art and Painting, Photography, Travel

Comments (2)

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  1. Perry says:

    Lee, these images are amazing. Are or were you a professional photographer? My wife’s family is from the area (Lucca) and very much enjoyed your recordings as well. Sounds like a fun trip!

  2. Lee says:

    Wow, thanks for the compliment Perry! Not a pro but engaged in art direction off and on for a number of years. I have been trying to approach photography from a painter’s perspective, focusing on simplicity, masses and composition a bit more. Sweet that you have family in Italy. We passed near Lucca on the way to LaSpezia after visiting Florence. We also hit Siena and San Gimignano, which is in the same area. I will be posting some Porto Venere and Cinque Terre pics soon. Stay warm, It’s snowing here tonight!