About Me

I am a 45 year husband and dad, currently adjusting to life back in the United States after living in Italy for a little over two years. I love spending time with my family, cycling, model railroading, mosaics and watching TV and movies.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Florence - Home of David

We slept in again this morning, but were rewarded with an extra hour since Italy has daylight savings time this weekend. I love daylight savings time in the fall.

It was a beautiful sunny morning. The high today was supposed to reach 70. We got ourselves ready for the day and headed out.

The Sunday morning streets were empty and quiet.

Most of the streets in the city center look like this.

Brandon would be our tour guide this morning. Our first stop, the Ponte Vecchio, the oldest of Florence's bridges. It was built at the narrowest point of the Arno River. The river has destroyed the bridge several times and it each time it was rebuilt more solidly. In 1345 it was made so wide and so strong that it has resisted the river to present day. In the Middel Ages the bridge was a place of commerce for butchers, fishmongers and craftsmen. It was a dirty and smelly place, yet full of life. In 1593 the merchants and craftmen were expelled from the bridge and replaced with goldsmiths and jewellers who could be charged higher rent and didn't dirty up the place.

Brandon reading about the Ponte Vecchio.

The Ponte Vecchio.

View down the Arno River.

Family picture on the bridge.

Katrina in all her beauty.

Our next stop was Piazza Della Signoria. In the Middle Ages the square was a small open area. The Palace of the Signoria was built at the end of the 13th century. When the Republic came in 1530, the Medici family, whose dukedom now began, went to live in palace, making it the Ducal. When they moved to their new residence, the Pitti Palace, the old palace name became the Vecchio - meaning old. Today it is the seat of the municipality. Until 1527, Michelangelo's 'David' stood to the left of the front door, where a replica stands today. The orignal 'David' was damaged in a riot when a bench was thrown out of a palace window knocking its left arm off. It was moved indoors for its own protection, then moved to the Accademia in 1873.

Palazzo Vecchio.

This replica of David stands where the original stood until 1527. It was moved indoors for its own protection, then moved to the Accademia in 1873.

Statue on the right of the Palazzo Vecchio's doorway.

Guarding the front door of Palazzo Vecchio.

On another side of the piazza is the Loggia, once a forum for public debate. Later, the Medici's figured that good art was more desirable than free speech, it was turned into an outdoor sculpture gallery.

The Loggia.

Statues in the Loggia

Fountains in the piazza.

Brandon taking a map break.

We continued to wander the streets of Florence looking and listening as Brandon pointed out sights of interest. At one point I heard that there was a parade coming around the Duomo.

Look how crowded the city center is!!

We decided it would be wise to get some lunch before our reserved Accademia time. We found a small cafe on the piazza and had some sandwiches for lunch.

After lunch we headed towards the Accademia. We stopped near the museum to take a look at the paintings of a local artist setup on the street. We really liked his work and ended up buying a painting of the Ponte Vecchio.

The Accademia is a small museum in comparison to most we have visited so far. What makes this museum so famous is its largest work of marble, David, by Michelangelo. It is said that David rarely disappoints, and it didn't. The sheer size and detail are amazing. To see it in person is so much more meaningful and inspirational than in a postcard or book. Unfortunately, no photos are allowed inside the museum. We spent a little over an hour inside the museum (I said it was small!).

After the museum we wandered back towards our hotel so that we could catch a bus up to Piazza Michelangelo on the hill overlooking the city. Along the way we stopped and shopped at the street vendor booths.

Racks and racks of ties make for colorful displays.

After a short break in the room, we caught a bus and took the 40 minute ride up to Piazza Michelangelo. What a great view of the city.

Another copy of David overlooks the city of Florence.

Photographer at work.

Nice views of the city.

Artist at work.

We spent a bit of time at the top. Katrina found a large stairway where many people were sitting enjoying some live music and watching the sunset. We decided to do the same.

Live music at sunset in Florence...does it get any better!

When the sun had set we set off walking back down into the city. It was a pretty easy and quick walk down to the river. We stopped to take a few pictures of the river at sunset, then headed for a restaurant near our hotel. We were hungry for some dinner.

View of the Ponte Vecchio at sunset.

On the way to the restaurant we spotted this chalk artist...impressive.

We had dinner near out hotel. Katrina had a great tasting tortellini dish. I had a two pasta sample dish and Brandon had pasta con pomodoro. We also enjoyed some glasses of chianti.

28 Week Gelati Count: 146
28 Week Wine Bottle Count: 26

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