Written by diminor1929 on 08 Aug, 2010
I had heard so much about the wonders and beauty of Florence from many of my friends. The shopping, the buildings, the sculpture, statue of David, the food-especially the gelato and the shopping had been touted as Florence’s gift to the world !!!While not a…Read More
I had heard so much about the wonders and beauty of Florence from many of my friends. The shopping, the buildings, the sculpture, statue of David, the food-especially the gelato and the shopping had been touted as Florence’s gift to the world !!!While not a particularly avid shopper I figured it was worth checking out. I planned on getting Christmas gifts for family members and thus justified my spree. Joanne was practically drooling at the thought of a day in this paradise! We took our ship’s tour bus from our port in Livorno-our tour guide was a delightful and knowledgeable young man who also highly recommended Pisa (his hometown ) as a worthwhile stop. After driving about an hour through the magnificent Tuscan countryside we arrived and were taken to our meeting spot- The White House, which provided rest room facilities and a most generous discount on leather goods to tourists coming on this bus. All of the shops and keepers in Florence were most hospitable,pleasant and happy to provide discounts, when requested. There is not much English spoken but enough to conduct business. Clerks are not agrressive but genuinely seem to enjoy the art of selling.After snapping up some wallets and small leather handbags for my nieces we went in search of an ATM to get some Euros. American money is not good anywhere that we went-Euros only or credit card is a few places.We found lots and lots more leather goods, purses, jackets, boots, wallets,and also lots of jewelry. We invested in some silk Italian ties, beautiful wooden objects d’art painted to look like ceramics(unbreakable). We bought trays, pictures and other souvenirs to take for gifts back home. After busting our budget we started looking at duomos and architecture and spotted some truly unbelievable works of art. I was especially astonished at the wide selection of nude male statues on display in galleries outside the most famous duomos. The Italians do like their male nudes, I must say.After picture-taking and shopping there was only one thing left on our itinerary…LUNCH!We found an exceptionally appealing street-side café where the food and wine was, as we expected, to die for. After lunch we hit a shop called "Gelato Festival" and a festival for the senses it was indeed as we sampled possibly the best gelato in all of Italy.A little more shopping and we were back on the tour bus with our packages and the knowledge that we had spent a worthwhile day sampling all that Florence had to offer. Close
Written by meiji15 on 09 Apr, 2010
Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens The Palazzio Pitti is a 15th century palace constructed for Luca Pitti. Though around the mid-16th century the prominent Medici family acquired said property. And their influence can be visibly seen throughout the interior apartments. Now, upon entering the…Read More
Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens The Palazzio Pitti is a 15th century palace constructed for Luca Pitti. Though around the mid-16th century the prominent Medici family acquired said property. And their influence can be visibly seen throughout the interior apartments. Now, upon entering the Palazzio, you have to decide where to go first. Why? Because the Palace is home to no fewer than six museums. Indeed, it can take a full day to tour the Palazzio alone, more so if you have the Boboli Garden in your itinerary for the day. If you have more time, you may opt to visit the Silver Museum. (Trust me, it offers more than mere silver). If you like paintings, then head to the Gallery of Modern Art. Though one might be confused because the pieces in the said section were created from 1700 until the early 1900. The other sections are the Pallatine Gallery, Porcelain Museum, Costume Gallery, and Carriages Museum. As for the Boboli Gardens, this is a class on their own and hours can be spent just by strolling along the paved walk and arched floras. Venice and Its Architecture: The Duomo or the Cathedral. This stands at the center of Florence. But more interesting than that is the work of art that is kept inside the walls of the Cathedral Museum. I’m talking about the Pieta by Michelangelo. Some people were even convinced that the sheer magnificence of the Pieta trumps David. (Dare I say, i agree with them). The original Baptistry doors are in said museum as well. The Baptistry. In here, you don’t go to see what lies behind the doors---the doors, or the intricate bronze doors to be exact, are the main attraction in the Baptistry.Giotto's Bell Tower. This is one of the most identifiable of Florence’s many architectural treasures. The construction began around the 14th century. Unfortunately, the man who started it all, Giotto, did not live to see it completed. But such landmark is still as beautiful and essential today as it was many hundred years ago. Props need to be given to Andrea Pisano, he was the one who continued where Giotto left off. The climb to the top may be long (and may be claustrophobic for some) but it is worth it. How long will be the climb? Around 414 steps. Ponte Vecchio. This is an old bridge (thus the Italian name) that crosses the Arno River. Of course you want to walk across it, right? Who doesn’t? The bragging right is reason enough to walk across the bridge. And while you are at it, you may want to purchase souvenirs from the merchants that parallel the inside of the bridge (obviously).ShoppingIf your budget allows you, do some shopping. Florence is famous for its jewelries, leather, and world-renowned designers. You don’t want to go home empty handed, but I’m sure you don’t want to go home empty pocketed as well. My personal suggestion, walk. You can find good deals on the side streets a few miles off the primary tourist areas. MunchiesEat your lunch at round the 12 noon to 1 PM time frame. Almost every establishment except for restaurants are closed. Florence will likely satisfy your gastronomic desires. Though the prices might trigger you appetite to retreat. However, there is a way to fill your stomach without burning a hole in your pocket. How? Walk. Yes, like the advice given when shopping in Florence, once you have distanced yourself from the main tourist areas, you are good to go. So walk and wander around. Then buy your lunch. To enjoy Florence in one day will certainly be exhausting, though it will be a day like no other on your vacation. Close
Florence, the jewel of Tuscany, has charmed and captivated individuals for centuries. What is that? You only have a day? Not to worry. Even an hour in this enchanted city is worth the effort. With an entire day, the possibilities are endless. Appreciate the art,…Read More
Florence, the jewel of Tuscany, has charmed and captivated individuals for centuries. What is that? You only have a day? Not to worry. Even an hour in this enchanted city is worth the effort. With an entire day, the possibilities are endless. Appreciate the art, uncover the history, marvel at the architecture, shop around, pig out---like I said, the possibilities are infinite. Whichever tickles your fancy. You will leave with enough memories to last you a lifetime, and probably, you may find yourself aching to revisit such beauty again and again.Opting for an organized tour will assure that you will see the best Florence has to offer. If you chose the walking tour, such will guarantee you a pass for both the Uffizi and the Accademia. This will give you the opportunity to see the jewels of Florence including The Birth of Venus by Botticelli secured in the Uffizi and Michelangelo’s David housed in the Accademia. If you don’t like the walking tour, there is the hop on hop off alternative that embarks from the Central Station. You should also take into consideration the sights that you will be visiting for that one day. You might need a vehicle that will take you from one spot to another. The only setback I can see when one opts a hop on hop off is that you will be compelled to wait for the other tourists to make their way to the meeting place and eventually get in the bus. Waiting for the bus will certainly eat up precious time; taking a cab will mean higher costs. Though choosing the latter will provide you with the luxury of time. Given these issues, you have to seriously weigh everything before leaving your hotel room. A Piece of Florence Dedicated to the Art Aficionado First stop, the Galleria degli Uffizi or the Uffizi Gallery. This is one of the well-recognized and celebrated art museums in the world. With that said, you have to pre-purchase a ticket if you want to get in. And once you are in, brace yourself for sensory overload. Even the hallways are lined with sculptures. (And that’s just the hallway.) Though the main focus is on the paintings. In here you might get lost, though you can easily find your way out because the paintings are arranged chronologically. So you can head to your fave period and marvel at the masterpieces in front of you. The following are a few of the paintings enclosed in the walls of this gallery: The Ognissanti Madonna by Giotto; The Battle of San Romano by Uccello; Madonna with Child and Two Angels by Filippo Lippi; Primavera and The Birth f Venus by Botticelli; The Annunciation by Da Vinci; and Bacchus, Medusa, and The Sacrifice of Isaac by Caravaggio. Whew! That’s a mouthful. Second stop, the Gallerie dell’Accademia. If you are in a hurry, you have to remember these two sculptures: first is the David and the other one, the Slaves. Both of these are carved by the master artist, Michelangelo. These pieces immortalized Michelangelo at his best. You may have been enticed to visit the Accademia because of David or the Slaves, but believe me, the gallery has a lot more to offer coming from other distinguished Renaissance artists. Go see the Accademia and find out. Heads up: Almost all Florence museums are closed on Mondays. So if you are visiting the city on a Monday, you should cross out museums from your list. Though there are other fascinating sights to see (other than the museums). As for the tickets, you need not join an organized tour to have a guaranteed ticket for the museums. You can order them in advance by going online. In this setup, you can visit the museums at your own pace and you don’t have to wait in queue---a very essential thing to have when you only have a day to see Florence. Close
Written by airynfaerie on 11 Nov, 2009
My tastebuds and overall feelings towards coffee changed during the year when we moved to Florence, Italy. Now that we live in the US again, I still don't drink coffee regularly as I eventually did in Italy, but I've learned quite a bit, and feel…Read More
My tastebuds and overall feelings towards coffee changed during the year when we moved to Florence, Italy. Now that we live in the US again, I still don't drink coffee regularly as I eventually did in Italy, but I've learned quite a bit, and feel like my tastebuds evolved in our time oversees. In Italy there's an expression: "buon caffe!" that means "good coffee" and is used as commonly as "good day" and that it's a directive just as much as it's a pleasantry.I never was much of a regular coffee drinker when we lived in the States, and only had anything coffee about 1 time per month and it was normally a cold, ice-blended, mint-chocolate flavored, $4 concoction. When we visited Italy before, it was obvious that a small stop into a bar for a quick espresso is a big part of the culture, and so I did this several times but never felt the urge to continue. But just a month after we got settled in Florence, my coffee experience began evolving. First, it was just standing awkwardly with my husband at the bar while he downed his espresso and having to nicely say "Niente per me, grazie" a couple times as the barista would make sure I didn't want anything. Next, it was moving to the cioccolato caldo (hot chocolate) so I could at least enjoy a drink of sorts during caffe' break at language school. By the end of the second month I'd moved on to an occasional caffe' corretto (espresso with small tip of flavored liquor) - my favorite switched with my mood between Baileys or sambuca. *One thing about this drink is that it should only be ordered in the afternoon or later (since Italian have very strong unspoken rules of exactly when a drink can or can't be ordered...if you slip up, you get the "eyes looking over the reading glasses" stare by the locals). Another example of this rule is that a cappuccino or latte macchiato should never be ordered after 10am (11am is pushing it, but the weekends lend themselves to a later cut-off time since people sleep in). By the end of the third month I'd graduated to caffe' macchiato (coffee "stained" with a spot of milk) a couple times a week. Then finally I began the trek that has led to my quite regular consumption of Italian caffe'...the marocchino. It's like a macchiato but with cacao between the layers of espresso and frothy milk - and it comes in a tiny (clear) glass that sometimes has a cute metal handle. If you're lucky you'll happen upon a cafe that puts chocolate syrup on the bottom as well...YUM! Close
Written by airynfaerie on 16 Oct, 2009
If you're fortunate enough to be in Tuscany's capital city during Christmastime, you'll be happy to know that there are plenty of events to occupy your time. From festivals and musicals to art exhibitions and plenty of decorations, the holidays in Florence doesn't leave anyone…Read More
If you're fortunate enough to be in Tuscany's capital city during Christmastime, you'll be happy to know that there are plenty of events to occupy your time. From festivals and musicals to art exhibitions and plenty of decorations, the holidays in Florence doesn't leave anyone wanting. These are some of my recollections from the Christmastime of 2007 during our year of living in Florence. Just after Halloween we began to see the stores putting up new window displays and the toy store that is next door to our apartment has a great display with a snow machine and miniature village that attracts crowds throughout the day. A couple times I've even had to push my way through just to put my key in our outside door. Then a few weeks later we started seeing city workers with their large ladders putting up Christmas lights across many of the streets in the center. I kept wondering when they would finally turn them on, and then finally at the end of November we saw the first ones lit! All the streets then followed suit, especially Via Calzaiuoli (the main shopping street between the Duomo and Piazza Signoria) finally gleamed with thousands and thousands of little sparkles. So for a couple months, our evening walks are filled with beautiful Christmas lights, holiday store windows, and the occasional Christmas song coming from a street musician or cafe.During the first week of December there was a a German Christmas festival in the square at Santa Croce, one of the most famous churches in town. It was full of sausage, pastries, cheeses, candy, toys, and lights! We went one evening and had a fun time browsing at the stalls, and because this market was held for another week or so, we returned again because I had had my eyes on some tasty-looking donut creations! There is even a cafe on a merry-go-round - that, fortunately for those stuffing big Wurstel in their mouths, doesn't move! but instead is used as a creative outdoor table seating area.There are seasonal fare that starts popping up around the city, one of our favorites being castagne (chestnuts). We enjoyed these quite a bit during the season since the vendors around town set up small stands on the streets and sell bags of roasted chestnuts to passerbys who are drawn in by the tempting aroma. Many of the restaurants display baskets of this nut in their windows and even gelaterias showcase the whole fruit outside as well to advertise the flavor of the month. There are also many Marron Glace' (candied chestnut) in several of the specialty cafes'. Lighted Christmas trees show up all around the town - in store windows, private apartments, and public squares. The most famous is in Piazza della Repubblica. We were there for the lighting ceremony of the big "albero di Natale" (Christmas tree)...complete with thousands of lights, a kids choir, balloon artists, Father Christmas, hot chocolate, and LOTS & LOTS of people.From November to February, there are so many holiday events that take place organized by the non-profit cultural group, Inverno a Firenze (Winter in Florence). Many events are free of charge, as was an Opera Gala and Wine Tasting we attended. It was so nice to get dressed up, and enjoy an evening out - and the music was absolutely wonderful...selections from La Triviata by G. Verdi performed by a soprano, tenor, and pianist.So, as you can see - just a stroll around Florence during this season is bound to contain many fun surprises and events in which you can participate! It's a lovely, active, and beautiful time. Close
Written by mlmeredith on 10 Aug, 2007
Firenze (the real name for Florence) is now firmly ensconced on my list of favorite cities to return to (along with London, San Francisco, Boston and Honolulu). The galleries, the public art, the restaurants and the surrounding area make it an experience to savor.You can…Read More
Firenze (the real name for Florence) is now firmly ensconced on my list of favorite cities to return to (along with London, San Francisco, Boston and Honolulu). The galleries, the public art, the restaurants and the surrounding area make it an experience to savor.You can walk almost everywhere. But if you don’t have the time or desire to walk, the open air buses of CitySightseeing Firenze are a great value. The cost is about $30 USD (depending upon current rate fluctuations of course), which compares very favorably with the cost of a cab. Each bus provides earphone narration of the route in your choice of seven languages (Italian, English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, and Japanese). Simply buy a ticket and ride around listening to the music and the information, or get off at each stop and catch the next bus. Your ticket is good for 24 hours. (www.firenze.city-sightseeing.it/eng)As for the museums, during our four day stay we barely scratched the surface so what follows should not be considered a comprehensive list, just one that is reflective of our particular artistic priorities. The Bargello: A former prison, with a great collection of sculpture. You can take photographs of the pieces in the courtyard, but the best pieces are housed in a "cameras forbidden" gallery. I liked Michelangelo’s bust of Brutus. And a friend of ours insists that Donatello’s David here is superior to Michelangelo’s, although it is currently undergoing some restoration work (which you can watch) so I won’t agree or disagree with her assessment. An added plus, we happened to visit on one of the free admission days, so check into that (www.polomuseale.firenze.it/english/musei/bargello/)Gallerie dell'Accademia: Michelangelo’s David is the star of this gallery, but there are still other reasons to visit. I enjoyed seeing the unfinished pieces that the master was crafting for the tomb of Pope Julius (the guy that brow beat him into painting the Sistine Chapel). You can get a feel for the process of sculpture from gazing at them. Still, go to the Academia to see David. Aside from its singular merits as a work of art, it just might be the most perfect presentation of a sculpture that I’ve ever seen. One piece of advice, make reservations in advance or be prepared to wait in a long, long line. (www.gallerieaccademia.org/) Sadly, photography of any kind is forbidden.The Uffizi: I don’t know, but the size of this collection may be second only to that of the Vatican Museums. In any case, it’s an awesome array of Renaissance paintings and sculptures. Again, make reservations in advance, the time you save will be substantial. You’re not allowed to take photographs…darn it. (www.virtualuffizi.com/uffizi/)Basilica di Santa Croce: If there is an Italian equivalent of London’s Westminster Abbey, with tombs and monuments of the most prominent Italians, this is it. Included here are the tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Gioacchino Rossini along with memorials to Enrico Fermi and Antonio Meucci (who might have a more legitimate claim as inventor of the telephone than Alexander Graham Bell), and Florence Nightingale. Cameras are welcome. (www.santacroce.firenze.it/english)And if time and money is an issue, stop by the Piazza della Signoria. There you'll find worthy copies of David, The Rape of the Sabines, Perseus with the Head of Medusa, and other pieces.We ran out of time and weren’t able to visit the Medici Galleries at the Palazzo Pitt, otherwise it might have been included here. Close
Written by AdventuresWithAmy on 08 Jun, 2007
My husband and I decided on an Italian holiday for our honeymoon. During this trip we visited Florence. Florence is an absolutely beautiful city, but what we really enjoyed was our day trip out of Florence. One of the things we wanted…Read More
My husband and I decided on an Italian holiday for our honeymoon. During this trip we visited Florence. Florence is an absolutely beautiful city, but what we really enjoyed was our day trip out of Florence. One of the things we wanted to experience in Italy was an Italian cooking class. After searching the Internet, we realized this activity was actually quite expensive until I found the website for Accidental Tourist (www.AccidentalTourist.com). The tour we selected was labeled "cooking class" but we were quite happy when it turned out to actually be a wonderful day in the Tuscan hillside.
Our day began as a very knowledgeable tour guide picked us up in Florence. The first stop for the day was at a Tuscan estate about 40 minutes outside Florence. The Grignano country estate outside Florence is in Italy's Chianti Rufina region. Although the family no longer lives in this home, the rolling hills in the area are covered with grape vines and olive trees because the grounds are used to produce olive oil and wine. Our guide provided a very thorough tour of the facilities and we were lucky enough to be there in late October when the red grapes were being pressed.
Following a tour of the production facilities we were taken to the Grignano country villa for a tasting of the olive oil and wines. The ambiance of the villa was amazing. Our group gathered around a large farmhouse table and our guide sliced the rustic Italian bread that we would use to cleanse our palates between tastings. Because Tuscan bread is made without salt, our guide drizzled the bread with the fantastic olive oil and sprinkled it with salt before passing it around to the group. As we listened, our guide presented each of the wines made by the Grignano winery. After each presentation, our guide poured the wine into glasses and passed the glasses around the table. It was a fantastic experience. My husband and I agreed that the wines were all very good, but that the olive oil was fantastically unique with its soft, earthy taste.
After the tasting, we were taken to a Tuscan farmhouse for a lesson in pasta-making. In the basement of the farmhouse was a large table that our group gathered around while our guide explained the importance of the simple Italian ingredients used to make spinach ravioli and fettuccine. Following our guides instructions, the entire group first mixed the semolina flour and egg to create a sticky mess that would soon resemble pasta dough, and then kneaded our newly created pasta dough. Our guide then demonstrated how to use the pasta machine to roll the dough into perfect sheets of pasta. Surprisingly, few people in our group had experienced making pasta from scratch before. But for those of us that had, our past endeavors could not compare to the fresh ricotta and spinach that we were about to use to fill our ravioli! Our guide was so sure we'd taste the freshness that each person in the group was handed a small spoon and instructed to take just a sample of how fresh the ricotta filling actually tasted. It was beyond words.
The day ended with a late lunch prepared by the wife of the farmhouse owner. Using the ravioli and fettuccine created by our group, a wonderful lunch was served. Of course, this fantastic Tuscan cook threw in a few other items like pizza, eggplant parmesan, and a chickpea torte. The ravioli is served in simple Italian style with just a drizzle of olive oil and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, but it tasted great. The fettuccine was served with some chanterelle mushrooms that were collected by a group on an Accidental Tourist walking tour the day before. The meal ended with a wonderful tiramisu and an Italian serenade by our multi-talented tour guide.
It was a wonderful way to spend a day in Tuscany. For more pictures and information about our time in Italy, go to www.AdventuresWithAmy.com
Written by jaybroek on 21 Nov, 2003
My first sight of the Duomo was late in the evening on the day of our arrival in Florence. We had glimpsed Brunelleschi’s dome poking above the rooftops but nothing could prepare us for the first ‘full frontal’. In the dark the cathedral has to…Read More
My first sight of the Duomo was late in the evening on the day of our arrival in Florence. We had glimpsed Brunelleschi’s dome poking above the rooftops but nothing could prepare us for the first ‘full frontal’. In the dark the cathedral has to rely on its sheer bulk to impress as you can only get the vaguest impression of its architectural detail. It is only in the morning you realise why it seemed to glow in the moonlight.
I’ve been raised on gothic north European cathedrals with their hardy, plain stone, a few gargoyles here and there and sad, acid rain-melted apostles. This is poor preparation for the sheer grandeur and opulence of the Duomo, Campanile (bell tower) and octagonal Baptistry of Florence. The exteriors are a vibrant combination of white, pink and green marble – I can hear my mother’s voice now "fussy". It immediately made the Blonde and I recall the book of wedding cakes our local Italian restaurateur (Gino’s of Ruddington -- service with a smile and a killer cappuccino) thrust in our direction a few months earlier.
Begun at the end of the 13th century, the Duomo is testament to the rivalry of the medieval Italian cities and their desire to outdo each other. The building is vast; it will hold 20,000 people with ease. Its interior is in stark contrast to the overdone Neo-gothic façade – cool and sobering. There was a long queue to get inside but it moves along fairly quickly and it’s well worth the short wait. It is in stark contrast to the over blown exterior – calming and relatively plain. Once inside I was drawn towards the octagonal sanctuary, sitting directly under the dome itself. Looking up into the vast dome you can start to make out Vasari’s ‘Last Judgement’ fresco. Study this painting a while; it is marvellously shocking.
If you’re feeling fit, you can climb both the 85m Campanile (around 5 euros) and up to the top of the Dome, a further 6m up (6 euros for the pleasure). I heartily recommend both; you get similar views across the terracotta rooftops of the city but the Campanile has the added bonus of enabling you to see the dome in all its glory. A major part of the thrill of climbing the dome is the route up; a gravity-defying gallery around the inside of the dome (with some rather gruesome views of those who ‘failed’ the Last Judgment –- that poker must smart a little!) and then up between the dome’s outer and inner skins. Brunelleschi constructed this 42m-diameter dome without the aid of scaffolding. The secret lay in separating the relatively thin outer skin from a self-supporting inner layer constructed using a herringbone brick arrangement. It is fascinating to observe the structure as you ascend the sloping staircases and duck into successive chambers.
The regulation of visitors means that the top of the dome is relatively spacious (compare it with the top of St. Peter’s if you ever get to Rome) and you can enjoy a marvellous view across the rooftops. Sensible city planning as prevented the encroachment of tower blocks and other modern obscenities. And you also pick up a pleasant breeze that’s unnoticeable at street level.
The Duomo is an astonishing structure; completely out of proportion with the rest of the city, it is a marvel to behold and be a part of for a little while. Florence is full of self-aware beauty and the Duomo is the vainest of them all, but it really is as gorgeous as it thinks it is!
Written by Mary Porcher on 27 Mar, 2001
USEFUL INTERNET SITESWeekend A Firenze - On this sight you can make reservations and purchase tickets for many of the Florence galleries. That way, you don't have to worry about calling when you're there, making sure you get a spot, etc. If you…Read More
USEFUL INTERNET SITES
Fodors also has short descriptions of most of the sites in Italian cities. I cut these descriptions and pasted them into our itinerary. We will be able to glance at what the sight is about, and then refer to our Blue Guide for in depth info. Putting the Blue Guide page number beside the sights has been handy.
Written by dawn on 02 Mar, 2001
I like to write about places that others seem to pass over or touch on lightly and the Galleria Dell Accademia and the church Ognissanti fall into this category. Since the Galleria has tight security against taking pictures, I'll combine these two together for you!
I like to write about places that others seem to pass over or touch on lightly and the Galleria Dell Accademia and the church Ognissanti fall into this category. Since the Galleria has tight security against taking pictures, I'll combine these two together for you!
OGNISSANTI- located on the Borgo Ognissanti to the West of town and North of the river this church is free and open from 8-12 and 4-7, unless services are in progress.
It was founded in the 13th centruy by monks who developed a wool trade and became very wealthy in the process. They built this church, the monestery, 30 houses for the wool workers, and the bridge to the West to move their merchandise quicker. These guys were so wealthy, they could afford to hire great painters/sculpters like Ghirlandaro, Botticelli, and Giotto. This was also the home parish of the wealthy merchant family..the Vespucci's. Does the name Amerigo Vespucci ring a bell? Mapmaker and explorer extraordinare after which America is named? The second naive off the central altar is the Vespucci chapel. Inside is a painting called "Maddona del la Misericordio" by Bottecelli. In this painting a boy dressed in pink happens to be peeking around a man's cloak. This boy happens to be a very young Americus! Kneeling below the Virgins left hand is his cousin and the very beautiful mistress of Medici. If you go to the Uffizi museum you will see another painting of her ( also done by Bottecelli) called " the Birth of Venus." Who knew that Venus was a Vespucci?
GALLERIA DELL'ACCADEMIA- open 9-7pm, tues-sat & 9-2 Sun. $ 15,000 Lire admission ($ 7.50us)
This is the first art school founded in Europe in the year 1563. As you enter, the rape of the Sabines will be infront of you. It is quite an impressive and powerful piece that can be viewed from any direction. Makes you want to rescue the poor damsal in distress. turn to the left and follow the corridor around to the unfinished works of Michelangelo. They are quite impressive, and I like them better than some of his " finished" pieces! There's something painful or powerful about looking at the human form trying to struggle it's way out of the hard stone. Did you know that Michelangelo always worked his pieces from the central abdomen and worked his way out?
David will beckon to you from down the hall as he is bathed in bright white light...but take your time and really absorb the power of these pieces.
I know that David with those pretty curls,that sweet face, the bulging tight muscles with the veins popping causes quite a commotion. You know what though? His hands and feet are just too big for my tastes! Notice, I don't complain about any of his other anatomical points???
In the same room there is a collection of religious art. To the right of David is a piece where Christ is being taken down off the cross. I dare you to try and breath while you look at it! This painting takes you to the very moment of that last breath. I also want you to notice the exhaustion and defeat...or is it relief on the face of Christ?? You tell me !
If you take a left to the next room, you will enter the plaster cast room of very famous marble sculpters. Notice the multiple black pinpoints on each piece? These are marks left to measure from, so that each piece can be copied. This room is packed with Bottocelli women and children! He really knew and understood the female form where the great Michelangelo's women always look masculine and too bulky.