Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Beauty of Florence ... in Crowds

Florence is the city where Roman soldiers spent their retirement... if they survived that long.  It's a beautiful city filled with art and music.  If you're planning a trip to Florence spend more than the two days we had.  There is just so much to see here.

We set off for a bus tour to the Piazzale Michelangelo which includes replicas of Michelangelo sculptures including the David.

This is an amazing view and unfortunately my photos really don't do it justice.  I would have loved to have explored more but our tour guide was really on a strict schedule. This is a lovely area driving through pretty tree-lined residential streets, past historic and incredible homes - palaces really.
What's left of the ancient walls around Florence.
Our guide was extremely annoyed when I showed up since everyone was waiting on the bus for us and we had an appointment at the Galleria dell'Accademia where David was waiting for us.
I must admit I was grateful for the guide because this building is one that if you blinked you might miss it. 

Just inside the lobby - stunning.
There are so many incredibly beautiful works of art in this museum and I'm sure we only saw a small portion.  Our tour guide must have been a history teacher because she went on and on about Michelangelo and we never really got to much past the David - again out of time.  I don't recommend this type of tour if you really want to explore.  I'd really like to go back and do Italy at a more leisurely pace.  However, last minute impromptu visits can go like that.
I'm not going to include all the works of art we saw since there were so many and you can view the site itself for better shots.  I had too many heads popping into my shots. 
There is an entire area showcasing musical instruments of the Medici Family who were quite a famous and influential family in Italy.  Their family crest is attached to this Stradivarius as with most of the instruments.
The David
I've seen so many images of this statue and knew it was by Michelangelo and that it was The David, and so on but for whatever reason I had forgotten it was David of the David and Goliath fable.  This is supposed to show him immediately after slaying Goliath.  He holds small rocks in his one hand and the sling tossed over his shoulder.  (What can I say - one of my blonde moments).   The detail on this is amazing when you really get up close to look at it.  Veins, muscles, structure... that's when you really appreciate his genius.
Love these door handles - just across from the Academy.
The most prominent feature in Florence is the red roofed Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore.  The line up to go in was so extensive that we gave this one a miss as well.  We had other things we wanted to fit in and it was spitting rain at this point.  I'm sorry to have missed it as the detail work just on the outside of green, white and pink marble was so intricate that I'm sure the inside would have blown us away. 
The gilt copper ball and cross just glow. 
The intricate massive front doors to the Basilica.
It's so hard to take it all in.

I took so many image of this Basilica and still don't feel that I did it justice.
The Baptistery was naturally under construction and covered up so the only images I have are of the great doors that lead into it.
It was at this point that our guide dropped us suddenly.  I wasn't expecting that but was becoming so turned off of tours at this point that I figured we were better off on our own and at our own pace.
A few close ups of the details I had time to take once we were on our own...

Up next...  Palazzo Vecchio and of course Ponte Vecchio...

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