Italy – Florence

“Life is short and the world is wide.” – Anonymous

 

Hey friends!

If you are looking for some history or culture in your life, Florence has some really cool museums and art galleries. Not to mention a beautifully intricate church, the Duomo.

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We also got more gelato here. We literally got gelato at least once every day in Italy. Our teacher had jokingly told us that we had to get gelato at least two times every day as part of our grade. We knew she was joking, but we basically did it anyways. I think I only had one each day. Worth it, though.

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The David. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. Well, it’s here in Florence at the Accademia! Though the Accademia gallery was fairly small, I really enjoyed the hallway showcasing the “Prisoners,” some unfinished works of Michelangelo. They are considered unfinished because they are not completely carved out or polished. However, I think that Michelangelo moved on from them because the message could be so easily seen in each statue already. They did not need to be polished to portray what he wanted. The hallway led up to the David itself, standing prominently in the well-lit dome surrounded by a crowd of people.

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Also in this hallway is a bust of Michelangelo himself. This was done in his later years, when he looks worn-out, tired. I found it interesting.

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A lot of the walking we did in Florence was right by the Arno river. It was beautiful scenery. I loved the clouds while we were there, too. They look intense, and beautiful in the pictures.

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Found a duck on the river at one point. I love taking pictures of animals, so naturally I stopped and took a picture while the duck posed for me.

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We also toured the Medici Chapel while we were there. Two things stood out most to me during our tour: the Chapel of the Princes, a room completely made of semi-precious stones, and the New Sacristy with Michelangelo’s sculptures.

The Chapel of the Princes was beautiful, though, unfortunately, it was covered up a bit by scaffolding. However, the effect when I walked into the room was the same. The dark colored stones loomed over us, it was almost intimidating. Yet the smooth walls and intricate designs everywhere were captivating. I found it peaceful being there.

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They had little plaques around the room where they had carved tiny pieces of the semi-precious stones to make crests. It is referred to as “Stone Painting.”

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The New Sacristy was a room for some lesser-known Medici family members, I believe they were both Dukes. Michelangelo designed these crypts, with great detail and showcased his masterful knowledge of positioning with each sculpture in this room. If you are interested in these kinds of things I would definitely suggest looking up a more detailed description of the pieces in this room. The positions of the statues are very specific and hold great meaning. The positioning of the two dukes show their personalities, their strengths. One was a thinker, the other a man of action. See if you can determine which is which! Also, the statues below the dukes. Each one was sculpted to portray the emotion of the Night, the Day, Dusk, and Dawn. Very cool symbolism in these sculptures!

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We also took a walking tour through Florence on one of the days we were visiting. We saw a statue of Perseus holding Medusa’s head in a main square. The statue was meant to show citizens that disobedience would be punished. It was placed there to strike fear in the people. Sculptures in areas such as this were much more political statements than they are used for today.

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At the end of our walking tour, we went to the Ponte Vecchio bridge. This is probably the most famous bridge in Florence. It is full of goldsmith shops. Beautiful bridge and very nice view from the center!

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Florence is a well-known fashion center, and is home to the Gucci Museum. I’m not sure into fashion, but for anyone who is, I hear it’s a neat exhibit. I can only personally vouch for their cafe, and their super fancy sugar cubes (which are not actually cubes, but are in fact shaped in the Gucci logo). Our teacher took us here for fun, and we each ordered a tea or coffee. The place was very nice, very modern, and everyone was very pleased with their beverages.

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The Uffizi gallery was enormous! I definitely don’t think I saw everything there, though I got most of more mentionable, well-known pieces.

This gallery houses the famous Birth of Venus painting by Botticelli.

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It is also home to Michelangelo’s only painting on wood. He also designed the frame for this piece. Though he was more known for his sculptures, his style can be seen quite prominently in this painting.

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On the last day, a group of us decided to go on an extra mini-adventure outside of our big Florence adventure.

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We hopped on a couple trains, and headed to Pisa! We were so close, we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see it. We took every cheesy picture imaginable, and even ate Pizza in Pisa next to the leaning tower of Pisa.

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Thank you for reading!

 

Sincerely,

Kirsten

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