This week has been a whirlwind of activities, museums, and even more amazing food. Here’s a quick (hopefully, as I tend to blabber on) recap of what we’ve done this week:
We started our gloomy Monday morning on the steps of the Duomo, where we ventured inside to the BLANK BLANK BLANK, inside the Duomo itself. The inside of the church was not what one would expect based only on the outside as it has a Gothic style interior, lacking extravegant ceilings, decorations and artworks (except in the dome part itself and other spots) unlike the duomo of Siena.
From here we walked through the rain across the piazza to the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo where some famous works by Michelangelo and Donatello find their home, as well as the real doors to the baptistry. This was one of my favorite museums thus far on the trip. Across from the display of the baptistry doors they had a video showing the restoration process of them. The amount of work it took to make the then grey, dirty art gold, shiny, and gorgeous again is phenomenal. Imagine the scene from Titanic where they recover the old drawings of Rose, but on a much larger, realistic, and intricate scale.
As half of our plans were rained out on Monday, we started our day out at the Accademia to see the forever famous David (Michelangelo’s) and the other fantastic artwork held there. While I enjoyed the David, I have to say that I enjoyed Michelangelo’s later work more, as it held more emphasis on emotion than on perfection. As we went from gallery to gallery here, avoiding large tour groups from the Disney cruise line, I had to fight the strong urge to take pictures, as I wanted to capture every piece of art in all its glory. My favorite gallery here was the the music gallery, including all the Stratovarious strings. My inner orchestra dork squealed like ten year-old meeting Justin Beiber.
Next we made a trip to the Museum de Marco, a monastery home to a famous annunciation frescoe painting and Savonarola, the man responsible for the burning of great artworks during Michelangelo’s time.
Our last stop of the day was to Pizzale de Michaelangelo, which has the greatest view of the city from all of Florence. After snapping many pictures (shameless selfie/instagram time) we attended a Catholic mass in San Miniato al Monte, an absolutely beautiful church built in 1090.
Thankfully, our apartment was close to the Pizzale, so a quick walk down the hill and we were able to rest our weary feet from another long and amazing day!
Starting at the Pitti Palace, we toured through its art galleries and rooms. It. Was. Massive. When I called my mom to tell her about it later that night I told her that I wanted to live there. So we should start saving up now. (But of course I was kidding. Or was I…) My favorite parts were the rooms that are still set up like how the rooms were when royalty lived. There was one particular room with royal blue and gold (GO ROYALS!) wallpaper that was absolutely gorgeous. Again I wish I could have taken pictures.
From here we went to the Biboli gardens and paid special attention to the grotto. I wish I had known exactly what this was used for, as it was amazing. The figures popping from the walls as though they had been underwater for years and now brought to the surface.
The day of the Brancacci Chapel. The outside of this church was far different from the inside, as it is very medieval and the inside was redone in the 1700′s after a fire. This so far has been my favorite church. The inside was beautifully decorated, with frescoes and ornate ceilings.
Thursday night we spent at the opera, Madame Butterfly in St. Mark’s church. Beforehand, myself and two of my wonderful roommates enjoyed some fresh pizza from a place down the road from our apartment and sangria to cool us down from the sweltering heat. This was the first opera I have been to (although I have been to a dozen musicals between living in Las Vegas and Charlotte and visiting New York) and I have to say that I really enjoyed, if for nothing but the music. The whole performance was in Italian, but they had a narrator explain the acts before they began, which made everything a whole lot easier.
Last day before Rome! Today we enjoyed sleeping in a little bit before heading up to Fiesole to paint and see the Etruscan ruins. This was amazing. From the views of Florence to the ruins, it was the best day of the week. After a short hike (man, you’d think we’d be done with the hills and hiking after Cinque Terre and Siena, but I guess not!) we had the best view of all of Florence. Dr. Challons-Lipton brought some paints and paper for us to experiment with, and while others played with water colors I chose to sit in the shade and journal. I attempted to write a poem, but if you’ve ever met me, you’ll know that I’m not a fan of poetry. In fact, I once had a poem about my hatred of poetry published in the Signet. Maybe next time I sit down to write it will be something worthy of publishing in a blog for the world to see, but not today.
After a long day in the sun, it was nice to come back and cool off in our apartment. As my roommates and I scramble to pack for Rome (while really I’m procrastinating the packing process by blogging and reading Dan Brown’s Inferno, which is set in Florence and is AWESOME) I’m ready to see what another Italian city has to offer. Every one that I’ve been to so far has been charming and exciting in their own ways, I can’t wait to see the big sites in Rome.