19 July 2012 Thursday | 23:14 | 2012/06 Europe
Florence is absolutely charming. It is the birth place of Florence Nightingale and many other great historical figures, and it was where Leonardo da Vinci painted Mona Lisa in 1503. I have to go back to Florence again someday.
I like pizza a lot, and none of the many slices I had in Italy were disappointing.
No one said you can’t have gelato at 10 A.M. right?
We got lost in the tiny streets of Florence the night before. The locals we approached responded with friendly smiles but none could point us in the correct direction. We walked for 45 minutes before we heaved a collective sigh of relief. After a well rested evening, the brunch in this random cafe kickstarted the day. I had hit the two-week mark in Europe by then, so the sleeping in was greatly appreciated. We signed up for a walking city tour but got bored after thirty minutes, which resulted in me dragging my friend in the opposite direction once I saw that familiar sign.
Florence— Home of Gucci.
I quickly realised it wasn’t a good idea to lug a huge shopping bag when we were about to enter a series of museums. It was really cumbersome, and I didn’t want to attract the attention of pickpockets.
Galleria degli Uffizi.
The House of Medici had an incredible history. They produced four Popes and owned a bank, and they defeated their rivals to become the most powerful family in Florence back then. They were also one of the main paymasters responsible for the Italian Renaissance. Donatello, Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, Galileo and many other artists worked with them. For instance, the Pope who commissioned Michelangelo to paint the Sistine Chapel was a Medici.
The Medici headquarters is now one of the famous art museums in Italy. Portraits and statues of the Medici patriarchs line the main corridors, and museum staff are deployed in each gallery to shout at visitors who defy the no camera rule.
#1 Painting in Uffizi: The Birth of Venus by Botticelli. (Lifted from the internet)
Piazza della Signoria, just in front of Palazzo Vecchio, was the focal point in town. Huge status line the square, including the world famous David by Michelangelo.
Replica of David in its original position, and The Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna.
A sculpture is merely a block of stone if you don’t understand its history. I was totally fascinated by Michelangelo’s David. Yes, he’s the hero who defeated the giant Goliath. What set this David apart from the rest was that he wasn’t holding Goliath’s beheaded remains like past interpretations. He looks tense and ready for combat, likely depicting a pre-battle stance. More importantly, he was staring towards Rome, the Florentine Republic’s biggest adversary.
Since we were already in Florence, it would be silly not to see the real David, now housed in Galleria dell’ Accademia. People queue for hours, unless a reservation was made. My friend did everything before departure, so we were inside in a jiffy.
Galleria dell’ Accademia. This is David.
I was totally awed. How did Michelangelo turn a single block of marble into this detailed masterpiece with his magical hands? David measures a whopping 5.17 metres, and completely overshadows everything and anything in its path.
I came back to do some further reading, and suspected that the David I saw could be another replica! It states on Wikitravel that “the gallery often showcases replicas while doing restoration works. You can tell because the toenail is intact for David, for example.” A deranged man hammered David’s left foot in 1991. The one I saw that day had a complete toenail. Oh well…
Stop #2: A science museum with Galileo Galilei in the spotlight.
High end jewellery stores on a bridge.
Rozz commented the other day that all pasar malams in the world look the same and sell the same stuff.
It was a beautiful day in Florence. I was glad I didn’t suffer from the Stendhal Syndrome. It sounds hilarious, but it is a real medical condition- “dizziness caused by being overwhelmed by Florence’s fantastic art.”
Yet another replica of David. I can’t remember the name of this place.
Living in a cosmopolitan city like Singapore exposes us to many varied forms of dining. I’m no stranger to dinners with a view, but I had yet another exceptional night of fun clicking glasses and laughing loudly with my new friends under the stars.
Elderly gentlemen serving a crossbreed of pig and boar.
Rockhard biscuit soaked in dessert wine.
I wasn’t that eager to return to the hotel after such a wonderful evening. I didn’t mind the cheap naked lightbulbs in the washroom, but I was floored over the fact that the aircon was installed behind the curtains. Why?!