The day after we went to Vatican City we woke up early to catch a train to Florence. Luckily the train station was really close to our hotel so we didn’t have long to walk. It was strange to see no mention of the train being late, almost all trains were late, some by an hour which was so surprising! Not really something you see every day in London!
We arrived in Florence and headed straight to the Accademia Gallery to see the statue of David and the Prisoners by Michelangelo. Michelangelo was incredibly talented and I’ve always been a fan. David was created in 1504 and originally placed outside the Palazzo Vecchio. When the commissioners asked for a David, they were expecting David as King, not David as a boy before he became King. Also, when Michelangelo was creating David he built a giant box for him and the sculpture so people would stop observing him during the “David-making” competition! In 1873 the over 4 meter tall David was moved to its current place for conservation.
This trip I became a much bigger fan of sculpture. I’ve always found it fascinating what people can do with stone and seeing these works in person was absolutely breathtaking! I still have yet to see my favorite sculpture in person but this trip made me even more excited to make plans to see it!!
In the same gallery as David, leading up to the sculpture, you come across the Prisoners, unfinished sculptures of Michelangelo’s that show how he worked. It’s so fascinating to see how the sculptures are almost escaping from the stone!
|The black dots help the sculptors get the correct scale from the plaster|
model to the marble final project
After that we walked around a little bit, taking in the city, and made our way to the National Museum of Bargello that had some other works by Michelangelo. The building itself dates back to 1255 and was once headquarters of the Captain of the People and then the residence of the Bargello that is of the head of the police. It was also a prison at one point before it became a museum in the mid 19th-century. If you look at the picture of the stairs (the interior courtyard of the museum) you can see some stone plaques for the captains of the guards with their coat of arms. There are hundreds of them in the courtyard that date from hundreds of years ago! So cool! The captains were mostly foreign and only stayed for a couple of months to prevent corruption.
|Public sculpture gallery|
|Dad and Michel became very immature at this point…|
|Mercury (pictured above) with Aeolus giving him|
the wind to fly
|Charlotte Napoleon Bonaparte|
|Lorenzo Ghiberti (think doors of the Florence baptistry)|
|The triumph of hell and death|
Santa Croce was stunning! I was also surprised that it had a museum attached to it. Looking back, it makes sense why they charge for entry! It was amazing seeing the tombs of so many great people in such a beautiful church. I’m still not sure if Italian churches are my favorite (I seem to be partial to the Gothic churches of France and England for some reason) but I did love seeing so many examples of churches in Italy.
After we finished up at Santa Croce, we simply walked around Florence. I finally got a pair of effective gloves (yay!), Michael got a football jersey, and we got some Italian pastries, which ended up being my dinner back in Rome ;) . Florence is a really beautiful place, a little small by my taste for living there. I do see why people love to study abroad there though! I’m also really glad I got to see another Italian city besides Rome, it’s amazing how different they are.