03/15 – Firenze Trip 1 & 2

Trip 2 of 3 – Firenze, Italy – 15 Octtobre 2008 – “Il Davide”

Went to Firenze today, for our second of three trips to the city; just an hour train ride from Castiglion Fiorentino – where I’m staying in Italy. Today we had two planned things to do. The first to head to the top of Brunellesci’s Duomo for a view of the city and then to La Galleria di Bell’arte  which contains the infamous Il Davide. The Duomo was amazing of course. The ceiling was extremely interesting and demonic. I would have never imagined such vivid imagery to be in a church; but wow. There was some serious sadistic paintings depicting demons and the dead devouring, torturing and massacring live humans. Then above the dead; scenes of angles looking around and noble families starring down from the heavens. Probably one of the most unique murals I’ve seen. The view when we finally reached the top was outstanding. Going in the morning was cool because much of the city still had the morning valley fog that is so characteristic of the Toscana Regione. I think the Church’s of Firenze are some of my favorite because of their use of colored marble; greens, pinks, and whites. It a fun play of color that contrasts well with the “red” Spanish looking tiled roofs. Then in further contrast; while the exterior of the Italianesque gothic church are full of detail on the outside; their interiors are extremely simple and austere. Unlike the northern gothic which is full of ornate naives and apses to glorify their famous nobility or religious zealots.

After the Duomo di Firenze we headed towards La Galleria di Bell’arte. The line was long of course; but I could only imagine coming in the summer. Where we have about ½ lines to the most famous monuments, museums and ruins; you could only imagine in the high season of summer waiting hours. I think visiting Europe in the mid-Fall is the best possible time to go; and the weather is by far better than the melting heat I’ve heard of here in the summer.  There were some other famous paintings and sculpture in this gallery but its main reason for existence is to contain this one piece. Il Davide, or the David, was spectacular. First, it humongous, 17ft tall, sitting on a 4 ft platform, it towers over the crowd. The perfection of proportion is astounding. I can barely draw on a piece of paper a simple figure much less at another dimension and 16 more feet. The attention to detail is mind boggling down to veins in the hands, ever so slight impressions for muscles, or bones. The masters of art are clearly leaps and bounds past others. We stayed for about a half hour; got a few photos through our bag pockets (which you were not to do).  After the museum we were free for the rest of the day.

I had two plans before I headed home. The first was to run to the U.S. Embassy quickly to see if I could find anyone to help me find job opportunities in Italy. Unfortunately by the time I got there it was just minutes before they all left for their lunch break. All well. One gentleman did get me an e-mail address of someone in their office and just said to e-mail; that it would probably get a quicker response anyways; so I’ve added that to my list of things to do. List here are crucial. I have so much going on and have to be really efficient with my time; plus with no desk/office specifically for myself I can’t just leave things lying out as reminders – so I constantly keep my notebook up to date. Next I grabbed a quick bite to eat at the supermarket, a tomato with some olives and crackers. I really love this meal. I’ve finally learned to like natural black and green olives – boy was I missing out. This is a great meal. It still shocks me how plan my diet was in high school. I don’t know how my parents dealt with me. I feel like all I ate was peanut and jelly sandwiches or hamburgers. After lunch I quickly walked over to the train station to meet up with another one of my e-pals; Stefano. He works for an accounting firm around Firenze. It was another great opportunity for me to practice my Italian. We spoke almost all in Italian for 3 hours as we walked around the city. If only I could spend every day here talking in Italian – I would for sure be 100% fluent by the time I left. But unfortunately this is so hard to do with all the Americans at the center in Castiglion Fiorentino. Afterwards I jumped on a train; but received a very nice gift from Stefano. He gave me 3 Italian story/comic style books in Italian for kids probably in their low teen years. The reading level is perfect for me, lol I’m like my baby sisters age – Leah – probably worse). One of them is 20,000 Leagues under the sea. I can’t wait to find some time to read them. Hopefully after Fall Break; which starts tomorrow. Headed home and made it just in time to take a short jog (did about ½ hour of sprints up the hills of our town). Then back to schoolwork and to prepare for our long journey – almost 17 days on the road; to Milano for a night to catch a flight to Paris for 3 days, then Amsterdam for 3 days, then Prague for 2 days, Venice for 6 days and running my marathon; the another weekend and home! My goal is to go on 30 Euros/day including my hostel; which means lots of grocery stores for meals!  

Trip 1 of 3 – Firenze, Italia – September 10, 2008

Today we went to our first trip of three to Firenze. It was our “introduzione” to the city. We pretty much spent the entire time going from site to site in the city with our tour guide; getting an idea for the layout and its importance. We saw sites like the Chiesa Santa Croce, the Duomo & Baptistry as well as Ponte Vecchio (the old bridge), Piazza della Signoria (contains a copy of the David statue), Palazzo Vecchio (the Florence town Hall), and Piti Palace (old home of the Medici Family). We will be doing a tour of the Uffizi, Academica dell’arte, and a trip to the top of the compagnale on our later trips.

Afterwards we had a great lunch with to much wine and lot of great times. Post lunch we walked to the Piazzale Michelangelo which has a great view of the city to take our “money shot” as our professor called it. This was also my first chance so far to really use my Italian. It went really well and I think I will progress so much. I tried navigating us to find the museo di casa di Buonarotti (the house where Michelangelo grew up) but had much trouble. I knew we were on the correct street but people kept telling me we had just passed it and turn back; until finally one local notified me that it was closed for construction and all signs removed which would answer our difficulty in seeing it. So we decided to settle on taking the tour of the Palazzo Vecchio (town hall). It was great, so any great pieces of art and architecture. It’s interesting to see how much the royal family in Florence was involved with the Roman Catholic Church which was very obvious in this building. After a great day we headed home on a packed train where we had to sit on the floor; most of us made it safely but one fell asleep through our stop and no one noticed until we were on the train and train had gone. He made it a few hours later back to Castiglion Fiorentino after switching trains at the next stop.

Sulla Piazzale di Michelangelo in Firenze! The overlook of the city!

Sulla Piazzale di Michelangelo in Firenze! The overlook of the city!

Myself and the "David" (replica) in front of the Palazzo Vecchio! The old Medici Family Palace next to the Uffizi Gallery.

Myself and the the "David" (replica) in front of the Palazzo Vecchio; the old Medici Family Palace next to the Uffizi Art Gallery.

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Responses

  1. one day that handstand is not going to work…..


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