Thus far, I’ve spent a combined three and a half days in Firenze. One of those days was spent “working” at the market. Another of those days was spent mostly in bed (I slept in…). So today, I wanted to make my day worth it. Some of the big things in Firenze are the galleries. I told myself to get up early to get there before the line, but I slept in…again.
I had already made a reservation for the Uffizi Gallery for my final day, so I told myself that if the line-up for the Galleria dell’Accademia isn’t too bad, I’ll give it a go. I showed up in the morning and waited about 45 minutes, which is considered good. I didn’t really know what was the big thing with the Academia until I was about 30 minutes into the line. It’s the David. And a few other pieces from the Renaissance.
Although I felt a certain obligation to go see the David, I also felt it was a little stupid. Almost like the Mona Lisa. What’s the big deal? It’s a statue. On the other hand, I would feel like I hadn’t fully experienced Firenze if I had skipped out on the David. Once inside, I wandered. I passed the David and went to another room absolutely overflowing with marble statues, mostly by another Renaissance artist (can’t remember his name..).
Just before leaving, I decided to read about the David, just for kicks. And then I got it: the David is a symbol. While there are other very impressive aspects to the David (how perfectly proportioned he is; the artist, Michelangelo, is considered the most important artist of the Renaissance; the David is also considered THE masterpiece of the Renaissance), I only truly appreciated him when I read about the story behind it.
The statue is representative of David right after having defeated Goliath. He is not macho. He is not proud. He is pensive. He is modest. David did not use brute strength to defeat Goliath; he used his intelligence instead. David is a symbol for Firenze. Firenze did not have much military strength, and yet it was the economic centre of Tuscany and the birthplace of the Renaissance. He gives the people of Firenze strength.
There are three Davids in Firenze. The original stands very tall in the Gallery Academia (photographs are, obviously, prohibited). The second, a copy, stands in front of City Hall in the Piazza della Signoria. The third, a bronze copy, overlooks Firenze from atop Piazzale Michelangelo. I saw all three today.
After the Galleria dell’Accademia, I slowly made my way through the old part of town to get to il Giardino di Boboli.
The David in il Piazza della Signoria. It stands right in front of the main door to il Palazzo Vecchio, or City Hall.
Il Palazzo Vecchio.
View of the Uffizi Hall, just outside of the Galleria di Uffizi. The Gallery is considered one of the most famous art history museums in the world.
Il Ponte Vecchio. Used to be filled with butcher shops, but is now where you go to buy tacky gold jewelry. One of the last bridges in the world occupied entirely by shops. It’s actually really, really cool. Even the Nazis didn’t want to bomb it.
The day before, I had passed il Giardino di Boboli. I didn’t go inside; entrance costs 6 or 7 euro. EVERYTHING in Firenze costs something. It’s really annoying. I bought some things for lunch and slowly made my way to the southern bank.
In il Giardino di Boboli. I’m not really sure what the story of the garden is for, but I can wager it has something to do with the royal family. The garden is located atop a hill right behind the Palazzo Pitti, where the royal family, the Medici, once lived.
View of the Palazzo Pitti from the Giardino di Boboli. Not far from where I took this picture, I sat down on the lawn and picnic-ed.
Another view of the Palazzo.
It was so hot out. There were fountains here and there around the garden. Some you could drink from, some you couldn’t.
Looking South from one of the terraces in the garden. After the garden, I slowly made my way back to the hostel. I was in desperate need of a cold shower and a little nap. After, I hopped on a bus to il Piazzale Michelangelo with one of my roommates to catch the sun set over Firenze.
The Bronze David atop il Piazzale Michelangelo.
View of Firenze from il Piazzale Michelangelo.
I kind of wish I had spent a little more time in Firenze. There is just so much to see. There are museums left and right, each with something different yet historically important to offer. I’m off to the Uffizi before taking the train to Rome. For now,