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Published: February 3rd 2010
Aaah ... The Duomo Brunelleschi's Dome, The Baptistry Doors, The Uffizi, Michaelangelo, Santa Maria Novella, Fra Angelico, Pallazo Pitti Vechio Palace, Borgello The, The Academy ... the Land of the Medici, the land of the Renaisssance ..... the list goes on. An artists dream in Florence ....
We arrived to sunshine but cold in Florence, a welcome change from Abu Dhabi's Desert heat. A novelty to be wearing winter clothes again. All style in Florence, fashion & flare on the cobbled streets as everyone is rugged up in their fur coats, boots and scalves.
I love Florence, a majestic, solid, ornate city, the center of the Renaissance.
Brunelleschi's dome on the Duomo, proudly and defiantly rises above the city. In respect for Brunelleschi, no other buliding has been built higher than the dome since it was completed in 1436. The striking layout of green, black and white marble of the cathedral are instantly recognized as you catch glimpses of it through the narrow streets. The dome also, is sighted from many narrow, cobbled, turns & Lanes, and Impresses, as you walk into the open piazza of the Duomo and the Baptistry, with Ghiberti's famous bronze doors. Lit up
at night, it is even more stiking, we were fortunate to have a great hotel just off a side street from the Duomo.
There is so much to see in Florence, it really is an art lovers paradise. We tried to see as much as we could in the time we had there. It is also wonderful to just roam to The Streets and admire the majestic, beautiful buildings, with their window boxes and wooden shutters, wooden extended Overhanging eaves, the worn & ocher sand, mars red and lime greens of the sturdy stone buildings.
Whilst doing that .... Strolling the cobbled streets, on the lookout for great coffee and fresh pizza & pasta ... then there are also all the museums and churches to explore.
A lot of the Renaissance treasures are found in the many churches, ... and we marched off to as many as we could .... almost converting Paul along the way! I joked that was my mission .... all the art was just a deployment, I mean we did go to so many beautiful Renaissance and Medieval churches ... it was very moving.
The church of Santa Croce was beautiful to
visit in the evening with its courtyard all lit up. There are many famous tombs here including Michaelangelo, Machiavelli and Galileo. The cloisters and surrounding buildings by Brunelleschi were magically lit in the evening to add to the reverential experience. The Opera Museum is also here, where inside are many early paintings Renaisssance including Cimambue's 13th century crucifix.
We dream of the Uffizi .. and now we are here.
The Medici family administration buildings are now home to this famous gallery of Italian Renaissance art. It is vast .. and requires a lot of stamina to see the collection. The collection is immense ...'s Botticelli, Leonardo, Raphael, Tintoretto, Bird's famous battle of San Remo, Giotto and Michaelangelo, Massac and Fra Angelico, Titian and Caravaggio, and the list goes on ....
We had a well earned break in the Uffizi rooftop cafe. What joy to be sitting out on the terrace, Cafe Latte and focaccia, sun shining, not crowded for the time of year .. Glancing over at the Palazzo Vecchio and Brunelleshi's dome, just a stones throw away!
The ominous Bargello, once a prison and one of Florences' earliest original buildings still intact from the 13th
century .... is now home to the most important collection of sculpture in Florence. Highlights include Michaelangelo, Donatello, Ghiberti & & Brunelleschi.
If that wasn't enough ..... A must of course is The Accademia Gallery, the resting place of Michaelangelo's David blockbuster.
It is stunning to see in the flesh, and towers tall and majestic, compelling from every angle. Its presence dominates the large gallery space, its massive size commands and holds your attention. There was a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition of nudes alongside, which was well placed, in a dark curtained off enclosure close by David ... a good combination of muscular, sensual studies ....
Palazzo Pitti, became the home of the Medici family in the 1500's, and is now open as a major gallery space with extensive gardens.
The galleries are vast ... so we managed to see just a part of the collection. The Palantine Gallery was full of Raphaels, Titian, Rubens, Giorgione, countless frescoes and ornate ceilings, all within the ornate rooms of the grand palace. The Royal Rooms were incredible to see .... ornately decorated walls, ceilings, floors, chandeliers ... the beautiful Royal Duchess Room, with an excuisite, sumptuously decorated bed, embroided
curtains, silks, tapestries, furniture & .... and all the art on the walls! "
On a more subdued and reflective notes ...
San Marco is the home to Fra Angelico's famous, Frescoe painted, monk cells. Unfortunately, we were Unable to go on & see the frescoes, Which are painted on the walls of the 44 cells in the Dormitory .... a big dissapointment, although I did see them many years ago, I was hoping to be Able to see them with Paul again ... oh well. We did manage to see the church and the courtyard of the monastic buildings with frescoes painted in the cloisters.
And there's more .....
San Lorenzo, the home of The Medici Chapel and Michaelangelo's tombs for the Medici family. Extravagant, richly decorated, multicolored, ornately patterned, marble walls, gilded gold surrounds, imposing sculptures above the many tombs .... It is all a bit overwhelming, you need to spend some time here to absorb it all ... Below San Lorenzo, in the Treasury, but moving is a very humble tomb of the divine sculptor, Donatello .... a favorite of mine from a very young age.
Florence has always pulled at my
heart strings, my love of the Renaissance, and in particular, the Duomo and Brunelleschi, Donatello, Fra Angelico and Santa Maria Novella .....
Santa Maria Novella, stands alone, the commanding presence of the large plaza it sits in ...
This square was used for chariot races ounces between the 16th & 19th Centuries The walled cemetery and gardens with its striking green and white marble patterns, its cypress tall pines, are instantly recognized. I have always loved the beautiful and graceful facade, with its mixture of curved and austere marble patterns. This Gothic church is also home to one of the most important Renaissance paintings ... Massac's Frescoe of the crucifixion, 'Trinity, Mary and St John', a development of perspective in early Ranaissance art. It is a priveledge to be standing in front of this beautiful, evocative painting with its fading colors and serene contemplation.
Florence ..... Florence ah ..... And that is just a small part of it .... I look forward to returning!
There are lots of photos attached, but this is just a sample!, I recommend a quick scroll through the pages!
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