Unlike the trip to Siena which was impromptu, our trip to Florence was planned on a Sunday. Hubby was of the opinion that the roads to Florence on a Sunday would be less congested, as most people would stay home. He was right.
We left San Sano at 8.30 am and arrived at the city of Florence at 10 am, giving us plenty of time before our tour at the Accademia Gallery commenced at 11.30am.
Hubs bought the “skip-the-line” admission with private tour online, for both Galleries: the Accademia and Uffizi.
If you’re wondering why we drove all the way to Florence just to go to Museums, you will find out why the Accademia and Uffizi Galleries are the epitomes of what summed up the city of Florence.
With the ample waiting time, we explored Florence on our own.
The first instance I entered Florence was, Wow! What a lovely view from afar! I knew what lay beyond the bridge would be a discovery of even deeper artistic heritage and treasures left behind by the many God-given sculptors and painters of the past centuries.
Walking into the streets of Florence was like going back in time. One thing’s for sure, you cannot visit Florence without wandering freely the fully pedestrianised Piazza del Duomo. The picturesque square lies in the heart of the city, surrounded by restaurants, cafés, shops and of course, the magnificent sights of the Duomo, the Bell Tower and the Baptistery, all these have become the ultimate tourist hotspots! So you could see it was just impossible to have a selfie or snapshot without being photobombed by unexpected or unintended appearances lurking in the background of your photos. I’m sure I have appeared on their photos as much as they, on mine. Ha ha ..
Time To Go …
No, it was not time to leave the city, but time to meet our guide outside the Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze (Gallery of the Academy Of Florence). It was 11.30am.
Our guide was Carla. We were a small group of 2 families, us and a family from Seattle.
Suddenly, we became very attentive ‘students’… Afterall, the museum was founded as a teaching facility for the Academy Of Fine Arts students.
And by the way, Accademia Gallery is home to Michelangelo’s David. That’s right, the one and only.
Now, will the real David, please raise your hand?
The David on the left stands on the Palazza Vecchio while the David on the right stands handsomely as the centrepiece of the Accademia Gallery in the most visited room, called the Tribuna del David.
Both Davids are ceaselessly surrounded by tourists wanting to have a closer look at the 5.17m (17ft) tall Biblical hero.
The David stand-in or ‘imposter’ or replica or copy ~ whatever you want to call it ~ gets photographed as much as the real David, but coming all the way to Florence, and not seeing THE David that was sculptured by the godly hands of THE Michelangelo Buonarroti, would be a big fat waste of time.
Michelangelo was only 26 years old when he was challenged to sculpt the young shepherd David. He was presented with a simple and ugly looking slab of marble piece BUT he succeeded in creating the most breathtaking masterpiece of gleaming white marble. It took him over 2 years to complete the massive task (1501 – 1504).
David In Full Circle
It’s only at the Accademia Gallery that we could admire Michelangelo’s David from a close distance, ie admiring the perfection and magnificence of the colossal statue 360 degrees!
My favourite angle of David is his right side, from the right hand up to his neck.
Because the ONLY way to appreciate this angle is to appreciate the work of Michelangelo. Just look at the veins on David’s right hand, his arm and neck! It’s pure attention to details.
Michelangelo was also the first sculptor to depict David before the battle, while most sculptors chose to portray David after his victory, ie triumphant over the slain Goliath. You could see why Michelangelo chose to capture David in a most artful manner during his most tensed moment with full of bodily concentration. What can I say?
Michelangelo’s David was not the only one mentioned in our private tour. There were also 4 magnificently unfinished slaves of Michelangelo in the Tribuna del David together with the statue of St Matthew and the pieta.
Our tour lasted exactly for an hour and a half. There were too many art pieces and sculptures to mention in this post. I leave it to you to see them for yourself 😉
Thanks, Carla for opening our eyes, ears and mind in that short span of tour time 🙂
Lunch Interlude with a Mistake
Before meeting our next guide for the Uffizi tour, we had lunch at a simple resto, a little away from the crowded square and streets.
The foods were okay except for one and the service was rather slow.
I guess from the collage you could pin-point the odd dish out. I won’t say which one, so it’s up to you to give it a guess and interpret why it’s a mistake dish that made someone really disappointed that day 😦
The Only Bridge Standing
There’re many bridges across the Arno river, but there’s only ONE bridge that attracted tourists and the like the most.
When Florence was severely damaged during WW2 by the Germans, blowing up all its bridges, Ponte Vecchio or Old Bridge was the only Bridge standing. Rumour has it that Hitler found the view from the bridge too beautiful to destroy.
So here we were, walking on the Ponte Vecchio, admiring the bridge as it is today without being destroyed from any wars.
Ponte Vecchio is also one of the few bridges in the world that still has shops on it, specifically jewellery shops.
Just outside the Museum, we were greeted by Monica, our guide. Monica is Swede who has lived in Florence for the past 25 years. This time the group was bigger, at least 40 of us, with the youngest being a child of a year old. It was not difficult to decipher Monica’s audible explanation as each of us was given a headset.
The Uffizi Gallery housed the world’s greatest collection of Italian artworks and Renaissance art from Giotto to Botticelli, Piero della Francesca, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian and Caravaggio. Thanks to Anna Maria Lodovica, the last of the Medici line who left her property to Florence, ensuring that the Medici collections remained intact forever.
The Meaning Of Florence From A Single Painting
One of the paintings that everyone listened in awe to was the one from Alessandro Filipepi aka Botticelli. It’s called La Primavera.
There may be many other interpretations of La Primavera, but Monica narrated the painting in a very enlightening and interesting manner. I could remember almost every word she described the painting.
The painting is a symbol of Spring. It depicts love and marriage, sensuality and fertility.
The scene is set in the garden of Venus, the Roman Goddess Of Love. She’s standing in the centre of the painting. Above her, is her blindfolded son, Cupid, who shoots arrows of Love to the Three Graces. On the far right of the painting is Zephyrus, the wind that billows and pursues Chloris, the nymph.
On the far left is Mercury, the winged messenger of the Gods. He is holding a staff to dissipate the gloomy clouds of Winter for Spring to come.
When Zephyrus succeeds in making Chloris pregnant, she transforms into Flora, the Goddess of Spring. The transformation is depicted by the flowers spewing out of Chloris’ mouth. Flora then scatters the flowers she gathers on her dress, thus, symbolising springtime and fertility. And that’s how Florence (the city) got her name, from Flora.
I thought that interpretation of Florence was really enlightening, and that, from a single painting but of course there are other naming theories that seemed to conclude the floral definition of the city.
The Leaning Truth Of Tuscany
One hour and a half went by in a fleeting moment. We left Florence basking under the scorching Tuscan heat of 34C homeward bound 75km back to San Sano.
My thought lingered to our next adventure in Tuscany, one that would reveal the leaning truth of our Summer Hols …
Stay tuned 😉