Wednesday, 27 September 2017

After breakfast I walked down to the Bologna train station. Will miss the morning walk since I’m leaving tomorrow. Today I’m visiting Florence again to visit the Galeria Academiei where Michelangelo’s David is located, then to Uffizi Gallery. Both are two of the top attractions in Florence.

When I arrived at the Florence train station, I successfully bypassed the McDonald’s and went directly to the Galeria Academiei where I picked up my reserved ticket for the 10:30 group and waiting in line to enter. Glad that I had a reserved ticket online. The ticket line was long with probably a two-hour wait.

Had no idea what to expect when I walked in. After a security check, we were pointed to the entrance to the museum and didn’t expect that the first thing to see was the statue of David. As we walked down the gallery to the statue, some of Michelangelo’s works were displayed. I remember first seeing this statue, like most of us, many years ago and we have seen it often over the years. Whoever decided how to display the statue, they got it right.

After taking a few pictures of the statue, I visited the other galleries. It is a relatively small museum with a large collection of paintings by Florentine artists, mostly from the period 1300-1600, the Trecento to the Late Renaissance and a special exhibit on early musical instruments. I enjoy seeing the early works of art, which are almost entirely religious. And there was a room of plaster castings used to make various sculptures – mainly busts.

As you see David from the entrance to the gallery.

David from different angles

Room full of 19th Century plaster casts used for statues

Early 17th and 18th Century Instruments

13th and 14th Century Paintings

My next museum was Uffizi Gallery. From Wiki: “One of the most important Italian museums, and the most visited, it is also one of the largest and best known in the world, and holds a collection of priceless works, particularly from the period of the Italian Renaissance.” Along the way I was tempted by a shop selling gourmet ice cream, so I ordered a cone with two different flavors of chocolate. Molto bene!

Had no idea that the Uffizi Gallery was so large. (See picture below.) There wasn’t anything in particular that I wanted to see there, but loved what I saw. So many great works on display – one right after another. Room after room. A little overwhelming. Good crowd control and didn’t feel like a sardine in a can. There was one set of rooms that was very popular and I had to make my way through it. It contained some of da Vinci’s works and people where lined up taking pictures. All in all I enjoyed walking around the museum very much and saw some works that I enjoyed and more that I’ll investigate later to learn more.

Uffizi Gallery’s Interior Courtyard

Gallery Hallways

The Tribuna of the Uffizi is an octagonal room. Designed by Bernardo Buontalenti 

(Via Wiki) Below is an oil painting mounted on a round convex wooden shield. It was commissioned to Caravaggio by his patron, Cardinal Francesco Maria Bourbon del Monte, who then gave it as a gift to the Grand Duke Ferdinando I de’ Medici. The theme of the Medusa was very dear to the Medici, had a symbolic value as an allegory of prudence and wisdom. The “shield” of Caravaggio went to enrich the collection of the Grand Duke’s arms and stayed there until the ‘700, when all the contents of the armory was sold except for this painting. Medusa’s face is caught by Caravaggio at the time the scream suddenly emerged at the head cut, the base of which flows a stream of blood. Eyes and mouth wide open are enhanced by the warm light that characterizes the painting.

Medusa, without the reflection via Google.

Portrait of Virginia de’Medici

The Ponte Vecchio

Bell Tower at Piazza della Signoria

About this time I was getting hungry. Like the day before, I wanted to find an excellent Italian restaurant to understand what great Italian food tastes like, and I found just the place, Trattoria Antico Fattore. This restaurant has been popular since the 19th century and located near Uffizi Gallery.

I ordered spaghetti bolognese for my first course, then an order of meatballs. (Yes, it was lot of food.) Enjoyed every bite. Both dishes were mild, flavorful with no one ingredient overpowering the rest, and nicely presented. The waiter was pleased that I ordered Italian style where each course is served separately and not on one plate.

After lunch I took a walk to work off the meal. Florence is a very walkable city and, like many other old cities, most every street has interesting twists and turns where you are often surprised with something interesting. But it was getting close to when my train was scheduled to leave so I pointed myself towards the station and was home within an hour or so.

Tomorrow I leave early afternoon for Milan where I’ll spend the night at the airport’s Sheridan Hotel, then fly to London the following day. I’ll have a few days in London to meet up with friends before taking the train up to Edinburgh.




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