October 20: Florence

Lessons learned yesterday made for a smooth day today. 

We love where we are staying, and the fact that for 8 days we will not need to haul our luggage (three carry-on sized bags between us, not a lot, but still a pain when you have to go up and down stairs, etc). The trade-off, however, is that when it takes every bit of three hours to get to Florence, and three hours to get back, you just don’t have as much time as you would like to see everything. So, we chose what we really wanted to do, and are already planning on a someday return trip to see more.

We prepurchased our tickets for the Ufizzi online, and were able to avoid the lines. Florence, Italy, is the home of the Renaissance, and no family played a greater role than the Medici.

The Ufizze Gallery is housed in what served as their business offices for several generations. It is located right on the Arno River, and much of the art was collected or commissioned by the family in their lifetime.

We got there a bit early, and enjoyed walking around outside and seeing and photographing the some of the exterior sculptures, including a replica of David by Michaelangelo. The original is in the Academia, and we did not have time to go there.

We toured the Ufizzi, enjoying art by so many of the masters of the Renaissance inside. After we finished, we crossed the Arno on the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge). This bridge is very old, beautiful, and historic. In fact, when the Nazis were retreating at the end of WWII, they found it to be such a beautiful bridge that they did not destroy it. It was the only bridge over the Arno in Florence to survive the war.

We walked along and went up to the Pitti Palace, where the Medici family actually lived. It is huge. I can’t imagine living in a house that big. We did not have time to go in and explore, that will be another trip.

We got in our 16,000 steps (and then some), so we stopped to get a gelatto on the way back. I got the smallest size that they had, and mixed caramel and hazelnut flavors. Between this gelato and that which I had in Como, I’d say it’s a tie.  I’ll probably say that for everywhere, lol. 

We stopped for a few groceries here in town, and come home and had a nice quiet dinner. We had wanted to go over to see the coast tomorrow, but we have our Eurail passes already paid, and want to use them instead of paying to take a bus somewhere. There is no direct route, the closest is 4 hours away, so rather than have 8 hours of travel for 2 hours of fun, we instead will be going to the Medievel City of San Gemignano tomorrow.

The replica of the David by Michaelangelo

Some of the many sculptures on the loggia outside of the museum

The clock tower on the Palazzio Vecchio (Old Palace). This was also part of the Medici complex. The fencing you see in the bottom left corner is there to provide cover as they restore a fountain on the Piazza.

Ceilings . . . always ceilings. This is one of the statuary halls. This museum is known as much for its sculpture collection as it is for its art. The sculpture halls have the rooms of art going off of each side all the way around the U-shaped building.

Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus”. I have always loved this painting.

This was one of the private rooms of Lorenzo Medici, and is being restored.  Imagine having this art surrounding you every day in your office.

I had never heard of Filippino Lippi before, but he is a new find that I will look for in museums in the future. I most likely have seen art by him before, but just didn’t remember the name. I loved this painting.

An ancient coffin. Imagine being buried in something like this!

A painting by Michaelangelo. This was a commission, and serves two purposes. It is liturgical (religious) art, but also a family portrait. The man who commissioned the painting is depicted here as Joseph, his wife and son as Mary and Jesus. This was very common back then.

A painting by Da Vinci.

The Ponte Vecchio on the right 

The Pitti Palace

Each window has a lion beneath it; each lion is unique.

When parking is an issue, you just stack the cars.

Mmmmmmmm . . .


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