Monday, June 29, 2009

Firenze (Florence)

On May 19th, we made our way from the beautiful Cinque Terre to the birthplace of the Renaissance - Firenze (Florence), Italy. It was hard not to like a city that sports a view like this:

On the far right you see the dome of the Florence Cathedral (Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore), which was the work of Filippo Brunelleschi. The brick dome was a monumental accomplishment at the time (1436) and served as a primary inspiration for Michaelangelo when designing St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Below is a picture of the Duomo's facade.

Florence is known for its museums, and we were not disappointed with the amazing works at the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia. At the former, we were thrilled to see Botticelli's Birth of Venus. Meanwhile, at the Accademia, the main attractions are Michaelangelo's Prisoners, and more importantly, David. We've been disappointed with some famous pieces of art - the Mona Lisa, most notably - but David is more than deserving of the hype. It was magnificent.

Most of the finest artwork in Florence is now housed in museums, but there are a number of nice statutes - some of them originals - still dotting the city streets. Here you see a copy of David and across from him, Hercules and Cacus on the Piazza della Signoria.

Finally, here is a uniquely Florentine site: the Ponte Vecchio, or "Old Bridge." Its latest incarnation dates to 1345. It has always been a market of sorts, and it remains so to this day, with abundant leather and jewelry sellers.

At the end of WW II, the Nazis supposedly did not blow up the Ponte Vecchio - at a time when they were blowing up the rest of the bridges in Florence to slow Allied forces - simply because they recognized its historical worth. (They of course blocked the bridge via other means, like toppling buildings in front of it.)

1 comment:

Caroline said...

So beautiful and interesting! I feel that I'm becoming very educated through your blog. :)