Welcome back! It has been about three weeks since our return from Italy, and though it still stings to have had to leave, writing this blog is a great way to look back on the memories. Sad to say, this post will be the last one featuring pictures from Italy itself due to the fact that we have returned to the U.S., but don’t worry—this blog will still continue for a while after! The posts, however, will follow a different format. More on that later.
For now, a blog about Florence would not be complete without something dedicated to the art. This was, after all, a major part of the reason that I decided to go to Florence, and the streets are filled with so many museums that it would be a major disservice not to mention them. The Uffizi is, of course, the most famous. A massive building right next to the Palazzo Vecchio, the Uffizi is one of the most famous art museums in the world and hosts paintings from Giotto, Lippi, Raphael, Michelangelo, Botticelli, and Leonardo da Vinci all the way through to Titian and Caravaggio. The museum is absolutely massive; I spent a total of nine hours inside over two separate visits trying to see it all. Some famous paintings inside include Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, Michelangelo’s Doni Tondo, da Vinci’s Annunciation, and Caravaggio’s Medusa. If you visit, consider getting some kind of guidebook or tour; there is so much to see and it’s easy to get a little lost or overwhelmed.
In addition to the Uffizi, Florence also has the Bargello, a sculpture museum about five minutes’ walk from the Uffizi. This is famous for housing Giambologna’s Mercury and Donatello’s David (not to be confused with Michelangelo’s David), both of which revolutionized sculpture in the Renaissance. Smaller, far less crowded, and more sculpture-based, the Bargello is also worth a visit!
And of course, no visit to Florence is complete without a trip to the David. Michelangelo’s great masterpiece is synonymous with Florence’s fame, so of course we couldn’t leave without seeing it! Soon after finding out that we had to go home early, a bunch of friends and I immediately went to the Galleria dell’Accademia to see the famous marble piece. For me, seeing this statue was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream, and I was absolutely blown away. Walking down the hall in which it is situated, the statue feels more like a Goliath than a David; the gravity of this massive statue simply pulls you towards it. It’s impossible to describe how huge it feels to stand beneath it and the power it has over the space. Looking up at it and seeing all the intricacies in the carving this statue and how lifelike it seems, one can certainly understand why this has long been the cause of so much intrigue. Well done, Michelangelo—it really is a masterpiece!
Our last “sky view” of Florence is instantly recognizable for anyone who has visited the city. Palazzo Vecchio—which means “old palace”—is the building that dominates the Piazza della Signoria, the main square in Florence, and its tower stands out above the city. Back in the Renaissance, the building was the government headquarters until the Medici took power and converting it into a living space for their family. On my last day in Florence, I finally went to visit the palace and tower that I had been staring at for five weeks. The rooms inside are richly decorated and themed to reflect the glory of the Medici by making direct comparisons between the family members and Greek deities. The Medici may have had massive egos, but we get to explore beautiful palaces like this because of it, so who am I to complain?
After exploring the interior of the palace, I climbed up the many winding stairs to the battlements and tower on top. It was odd to be up high in something that I had seen every day from the ground! To the north, the tower gives a beautiful view of the Duomo, and from the west and south, a view of the river and whole of the city.
I couldn’t help but think of how many important people had also climbed that tower and looked over the city they ruled. I got an odd bittersweet feeling; this was the last time I’d see Florence from up high on this trip. It looked as beautiful as ever, with the river and the old rooftops and the hills beyond. Though I would be leaving the next morning, for that moment Florence was still before me, and I said a quiet little thank-you to God and to the Medici for making her as great as she is.
Though our time in Florence has ended for now, the things I have learned and loved there have not, and I cannot wait to return someday soon. I’m so happy to be sharing all of this with you as well, and hopefully I have inspired some of you to give Florence a visit—once all this craziness dies down, that is.
Stay tuned for next week’s #WednesdayswithaView—I’ll keep sharing about the things I have learned on this trip and all I have been doing since returning. Wash your hands and stay healthy!