Monday, January 07, 2008

Flourishing Florence

Florence means "flourishing", a very appropriate description of this Italian city where art and architecture and literature flourished around the beginning of the 14th century to the 16th century, according to my recent readings. If you are a history buff or a student, you might already know that the Renaissance started here and spread to the rest of Europe. For me, this is new info, if not long-forgotten info, for what it's worth.

Visiting Florence surfaced some of the things I had learned in school decades ago. Those lectures would have been less boring had I been to Florence then.

I was never bored in Florence. There was so much to see and explore. Here are some more photos from the city.

The Duomo, dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore.
That's me at the foreground.

Ponte Vecchio, built in 1345. It is the only bridge in Florence
that survived WWII. It has lots of shops today, mostly jewellery.
And that's the Arno River.

Piazza della Repubblica. We chanced upon a military ceremony
as we passed through this area. There are expensive cafes and hotels at this piazza, the biggest in Florence.

The Loggia dei Lanzi has beautiful statues on its balcony.

Gino recognized most of the sculptures and statues that we saw in the Piazza della Signora where the Loggia dei Lanzi is located. Some looked familiar to me. Hmm, I think I've seen this somewhere... That's about the extent of my familiarity with sculptures. In fact, prior to the trip, I could not recall what the statue of David looked like, supposed to be "the most recognizable stone sculpture in the history of art" according to Wikipedia.

Talking of David, which I sometimes erroneously called Michael after the name of its creator Michelangelo, we went to see it at the Galleria dell'Accademia. The gallery itself was unimpressive on the outside. But inside, the sculptures, paintings, collection of musical instruments, etc. were breathtaking. For Gino and me, the statue of David was the best. It was surprisingly huge and commanding, absolutely beautiful in its stark nakedness. There was a youthfulness and strength and innocence about it. "Wow!" Gino and I reacted when we first saw David.

Half-shot of Michelangelo's statue of David.

"Mom, there's one thing that Michaelangelo forgot. David was a Jew. The statue isn't circumcised," Gino commented. Good observation.

The next day, we attempted to see the Uffizi that housed masterpieces by great artists. The line was very long. We went to Pitti Palace instead and walked around the Boboli Gardens.

I will let the pictures speak for themselves. No soundtrack this time. Enjoy the slide show.

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