Leslie absolutely fell in love with Florence today. We are going to have to come back some time. We have quite a few pictures from today and it was a struggle to get them down to this small number.
We started the day with a surprise from the guide. Since traffic was lighter than expected, we got to go to Michelangelo Square which gives a panoramic view of Florence. Needless to say those are the first four pictures. The building in the second picture is Palazzo Vechio which is the town hall of Florence. The third picture shows the Florence Cathedral and the fourth is Ponte Vecchio which is a medieval bridge.
Our next stop was the Accademia Gallery where Michelangelo’s famous statue of David is housed. It was truly amazing to see the statue in person. It is 17 feet tall and they have it displayed so you can walk around it. The fifth picture shows one of Michelangelo’s unfinished statues. It was very cool to see how a work in progress looked and it made a finished statue all that more remarkable.. The guide told us that the David was the result of a test given to a young Michelangelo by the powers-to-be in the art world in Florence. He was given a 25 year old piece of marble that had been used by another artist and 2 years to create an image of David. Evidently this was a difficult task that they thought he would fail. He worked on it behind screens and as everyone knows now, produced a masterpiece .
The next four pictures show the Florence Cathedral, The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (St. Mary of the Flower). Pictures cannot show, and words cannot describe, how beautiful this church is on the outside. It is huge, with so much beautiful marble and many statues, scenes, etc. It was begun in 1296 in the Gothic style and completed structurally in 1436. The fourth picture shows the beautiful paintings on the inside of the dome. The next picture shows one of the panels of the bronze doors of the baptistery that is in front of the church. It was closed for renovation, but the beautiful doors were visible. Each panel of the doors represents a story from the Bible.
The next two pictures are from the Piazza della Signoria where the Palazzo Vechio is located. The statue of David that is there is a replica of the actual statue. This is the spot where the actual statue stood until the late 1800s, when it was moved inside to protect it from the weather. The replica was placed here in 1910. While we were in the piazza, Leslie learned something that she was not happy about. The guide told us that Tom Hanks, etc. would be in this square filming the new Robert Langdon film on May 2nd. So instead of being in Venice when we are there, they will be leaving the day before we get there. She is destined not to see a film being made.
The next four pictures are from the Medici chapels which are two structures at the Basilica of San Lorenzo dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, and built with the purpose of celebrating the Medici family, patrons of the church and Grand Dukes of Tuscan. There were several works in the chapels from Michelangelo. The fourth picture shows a tomb and Michelangelo’s Dusk and Dawn.
The next to the last picture is from the Piazza di Santa Croce (Holy Cross) and the last picture shows The Basilica di Santa Croce. It is the burial place of some of the most illustrious Italians, such as Michelangelo, Galieo, Machiavelli and Rossini thus it is known also as the Temple of the Italian Glories.