Florence - Day 2


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September 17th 2013
Published: November 10th 2017
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My first stop was the Galleria dell Academia to see the famous statue of David. I wanted to get there early to avoid the queue. I was there early 8.05 to be exact, the museum doesn't open until 8.15. But I still wasn't there early enough to avoid the queue, it was already all the way down the block. I was waiting for the better part of an hour to get in. I did start to kick myself for not making a reservation but the lady in front of me commented that the reserved line was just as long. The only people going straight in were the tour groups, and didn't I shudder when I saw them starting to arrive. But about the art.... It was very religious. Most of the paintings in the gallery were either medieval (when all they were allowed to paint was pictures from the bible) and renaissance. David, was very impressive. I so wanted to get a happy snap but no photography allowed. So hard to believe it was sculpted from one block of marble, he must have had a great vision to do all that work with no mistakes. Or maybe there were, maybe that's why David's hands are so big!

Next stop was the Palazzo Medici Ricardo. When the Medici family made it big,in the 1400's Cosimo, built this house for the family. It has passed between the Medici family and the state several times, depending on the families state of grace. Eventually the Medici's sold it to the Ricardo family in 1659, who in turn sold it to the city of Florence in the 1800's. Today it is a museum, with rooms preserved and/or decorated the way they were in the Medici era and a few grandiose rooms from when the french King Charles VIII took control of Florence. Downstairs there are two courtyards dedicated to sculpture, one is quite a pleasant garden if it weren't for all the sculptures of nude chicks around. There are also several rooms dedicated to modern art, which I'm sorry to say isn't nearly as fascinating as the classical stuff. Maybe I just don't "get it"

After the museums I returned to my hotel to grab a cardigan as it was quite cool and I only had a light shawl I'd picked up in Rome so I could go into a stupid church. By this stage my feet were getting tired so it was time to rest. I stopped for lunch and a glass of vino which I'm happy to say I did not spill. The afternoon was dedicated to churches. First was the Saint Lorenzo church which is not far from the Duomo, seriously Florence you've already got one big ass church in the middle of town, do you really need another? This church should be renamed to the church of the crucifixion, going by the art that is their favourite bible story. It is a beautiful building but I could not take photo's. Below the church lie the crypts of the Medici family. I'm not entirely sure but I believe the church itself has several crypts within it. There were certainly enough boxy things that looked eerily like a sarcophagus. After a cool morning the sun came out, and now I had a cardie I didn't really need. Next was the Santa Maria Novella, which was way better, and not just because I could take photo's... It was because the staff were much nicer ;-)

Santa Maria Novella is a beautiful church in, red, green and white marble, like the Duomo. It has enormous oil paintings on the walls. I found myself wondering about the stations of the cross. I always thought every Catholic church had the stations of the cross around the walls, but I don't think I've seen one in Italy that follows that regime. Of course all the paintings are scenes from the bible, and I'm sorry to say I don't actually recognise many of the scenes...13 years of Catholic education wasted! To the side of the of the church was a beautiful court yard. Frescoes of from the book of genesis once adorned the walls but unfortunately they are to faded to see clearly now. From the courtyard you can walk down into the tombs of the nuns who lived in the convent. There are several small chapels off to the side of the main alter (which is magnificent) They are truly beautiful, and once again, absolutely lovely stained glass windows and beautiful art work on the ceilings. I remember going to church when I was young and being bored out of my mind. I wonder if the ceilings of churches here are painted so when patrons (or their children) are bored and they start tuning out and looking around they have something sacred to focus on? My second theory of the day, the churches don't have many pews, I think in the days of yore, patrons had to stand and listen to the sermons, maybe when they passed out from exhaustion they woke up looking at these beautiful ceilings and were moved. Maybe that's why there were so many saints back then, because everyone woke up in the church having visions of Christ and the saints. Maybe I'm just a little cynical?

I think I've had my fill of religious art, bring on the pagan stuff!

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