Italy Stories and Tips

Excursion to Florence

Santa Maria Del Fiore Photo, Italy, Europe

After breakfast we headed down to the Uffizi for our 9:15 appuntomento. It was really amazing how many paintings I recognized in there given I know relatively little about paintings. The crazy wet tshirt Madonna with alien elongated "mannerist" child was there. The Birth of Venus by Boccacio was there. The Duke and Duchess of Urbino were there looking dead and scary. The beheading of some dude by this lady that was a self portrait of the female artist was in there. It was a wonderful experience. Julie was disappointed though because the Venus of Urbino by Titian was on expo at the Prato in Spain this month.

After Uffizi, we checked out the Bargello, a sculpture museum. There, we saw Donatello’s David. Julie wanted to see some other dude’s David, but he, like Venus, was not on display. It’s being cleaned. We were informed of this by a museum attendant with a gigantic sty in his eye. It was a little bit frightening.

After Bargello, we went to see Michaelangelo’s David at The Accademia. It was truly magnificent. It was so big and smooth and white and the light from the skylight was shining on his face…ah. His hands and feet were so big. You could see little veins popping out of his wrist and his neck. His face was screwed up in this very real expression. Ah! And his butt was huge and round. Wow. It was so amazing. Julie and I had to walk around him twice. Apparently David is the representative Florentine man. Florence was always a republic, and in trying to remain independent from the papal army had to fortify itself against attacks. The idea of a strong yet small power fighting against a giant was the embodiment of the struggle between Florence and the papacy. When Spain took over Florence, a statue of Perseus holding the head of Medusa was put up to oppress the sense of rebelliousness in the layfolk of Florence, right across from where the David was.

After David, we had lunch at a little place between there and the Duomo which we had walked through on the way to see David. We "Helen Keller"-ed it and got spaghetti Bolognese and caprese salad to split. I used the bathroom there. It was scary because it was through the kitchen.

We met up with the other Carolina girls to check out the baptistery across from the Duomo. From there we saw the Medici chapel. The marble detail was incredible in there. Most of it was covered with scaffolding because they’re cleaning it, but the architecture is amazing. Most of the marbling is green with some rose and lighter green and white. Very cool.

We stopped by the place where they have the world’s best gelato (being that the world’s best gelato is in Florence and this is the best gelato place in Florence) called the Vivoli. I got pineapple/peach/blueberry. It was pretty good. The good part was the chunks of peach and pineapple were big enough to taste and get the real flavor of the fruit. I stole an ashtray from there….bad karma I’m sure, but it was worth it.

From Medici, we checked out ponte vecchio shops, Santa Croce, Santa Maria Novella, and Palazzo Vecchio. We decided to cross over the Arno Fiume to see the Pitti Palace and the Brancaccio chapel. The Pitti Palace was so amazing. The ceiling of Hercules’ marriage by Michaelangelo was incredible (I stole a picture of it!!!) There were tons of Raffaele, Boccacio, Da Vinci, etc….in the Pitti. And the rooms were gorgeous on top of that. Ah.

My feet are now killing me. We walked back over the Amerigo Vespucci ponte and saw some of the biggest river rats on the face of the planet. I don’t think anyone in the world has ever seen as much of Florence as I have in such a small amount of time ever. And all I have to show for it is a picture of Venus and seven museum tickets.

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