I instantly fell in love with Florence. So much history, art, nature, food, everything!
I arrived around 9p and had dinner with Janelle and some people she met and my Korean roommate. So the Hotel Archi Rossie where we stayed is featured in a famous Korean blog so in my 4-bed dorm, I had 6 Korean roommates rotate in and out during my 4-night stay. Janelle also had a constant rotation of Korean roommates except on one night she had a creepy white guy. They even sell ramen! Anyway, after dinner, we were going to go karaoke except when we arrived at the bar, it was way too happening for me. I had just finished my one day tour of Munich.
We got lost going to this bar and it was on the river side of the town. So Janelle and I basically saw the major sights in the middle of the night. it was spectacular. No one was around. It was quiet. No crowds. It was just Janelle and me strolling through the Uffizi “mall” area where the Medici family once walked. (They built these long halls so they didn’t have to walk on the dirty roads of the commoners.) I appreciated the Cathedral and the Duomo in its entirety (except for the couple taking selfies in front of it) knowing absolutely nothing about it.
The next day I fell in love with David… Michaelangelo’s David. The guy studied dead bodies for months to sculpt this perfect body! He used the one marble block that no one was able to carve for centuries! After looking at the unfinished marble sculptures (the prisoners, etc) leading up to the David, I was able to appreciate him even more. Imagine chipping marble piece by piece… And creating perfection out of it! There’s no room for error. You can’t hit “undo” or “erase”. It’s just one block of marble and you have one shot! Apparently Michaelangelo used to say the sculpting part was easy. I sat there for a while to notice all the fine details. The veins, the muscles, the sternum and the ribs, the toes and fingers with all its wrinkles. Incredible. How can you not fall in love with this masterpiece? Totally must see in person.
Before this we had a art historian tour guide give us a 3 hour tour of Florence. She was so passionate. We learned about the architecture, the history, the various styles of art from the Medieval era to the Renaissance. Basically it went from boring, still, no depth, 1 dimensional art to more realistic features. It’s why the David is so symbolic of the Renaissance- it features the true human form and his facial expression shows fear and/or courage. You can even see the emotion in his stance.
The Renaissance was driven by Florence’s strong economy. Florence was a self made city. Their money came from trading wool which eventually made them extremely successful bankers. The Medici family had the largest bank in Europe during the 15th century and they ended up controlling Florence politics.
People of that time believed in building lavish things to tell God they were true believers…and to show off of course. When they built their homes and offices, benches were placed in front of buildings to show off a family’s wealth. The size and design of the buildings were all for showing off. Although there were some practical aspects too like the large rings around the houses for parking horses and kitchens on the top floor to prevent fires from spreading.
The last standing bridge wasn’t bombed because during WWII, Hitler who loved Florence was convinced by a General to keep a piece of its history. (Apparently he was an artist himself and drew a bunch of sketches of buildings when he was homeless in Austria and he eventually built some.) There are still houses built into this bridge. It used to be used by food vendors and then after the Medici family finished building their private halls that led directly to this bridge, they couldn’t stand the stench so they moved the food market somewhere else and only allowed jewelry and things to be sold on the bridge.
We made our way to the Uffizi Gallery in the afternoon. So much incredible art. I can’t believe how old these paintings are.
And then the most amazing sunset ever! It was too hard to narrow down on these photos.
And FOOD AND WINE of course!!