Monday, October 27, 2008

Sunny Sunday in Firenze

We woke up to a relatively quiet Sunday morning city. After showering and getting ready for our day, we went to the breakfast room for the second part of the B & B designation. Nothing. No one in sight, not a crumb of food to partake. What the hell? we both thought. Oh well, we had to get some food and then over to the Accademia Gallery, or Galleria dell’ Accademia, for our 10:00 a.m. reservation, so off we went. As we were walking, I noticed a clock hanging above a business and it said 7:45 a.m. I said to Howard, “That’s strange. Check your phone clock, will you?” Howard checked and according to his clock, it was 8:45 a.m. We continued our walk then came across another outdoor clock. This one said 8:00 a.m. Again, I had Howard check his phone clock and it said 9:00 a.m. We both considered that Firenze was in another time zone, but we had used our clock yesterday and been where we needed to be at the correct time. I mentioned Daylight Savings Time and we both laughed. Well, we found a little cafĂ© near the Accademia Gallery and their clock said 8:15 a.m. By now we knew something was up and we asked our waitress. In broken English and lots of hand motions, we learned that last night the clocks were set back an hour. Yes, it was Daylight Savings Time Italian style! After breakfast, we walked to a piazza and plopped ourselves down to enjoy the morning sun and wait a little longer than anticipated for our 9:45 entrance into the Accademia Gallery.

The highlight of the Accademia Gallery was (drum roll here): Michelangelo’s David.

What a specimen. We looked, walked around his back side and looked, then sat on a bench and looked some more. Mighty impressive. It was wonderful to see a large group of 6th or 7th graders all sitting at the base of David sketching and drawing the massive sculpture.

(Howard's comments, as usual, in italics) . . . .

David is fabulous. I have often looked at his right hand, (the really big one) and wondered about the position of his fingers. Since my views of David have been from pictures, I was unable to see why his had looked so awkward. It became clear in viewing this masterpiece. He is holding a stone, about the size of a baseball, which totally explains the angles of his hand and the position of his fingers. Michelangelo must have played some Little League somewhere along the line.

Before you get to David, who is highlighted and separated from the other Michelangelo sculptors, you see a series of rough, but very large pieces (Prisoners) also by Michelangelo that were not completed. Just as David is finished and precise, showing immense detail, these large rough, impressionist pieces by Michaelangelo are very compelling pieces. Where David is precise, these are rough. Where David is smooth, detailed and polished, these pieces express enegery and tension as they attempt to emerge from the rock that contains them. It is like comparing impressionist painting to the detailed portrait painters. At times we want the detail, at others we want the ability to let our own minds read from the structure, position and unfinished nature the message of the artist. It was, to put in mildly, moving.

We had a fairly quick look around the rest of the museum, even got to see a special exhibit on antique musical instruments. Then to our delight, while viewing religious art on the second floor, we heard music coming from one of the exhibit rooms. A woman was playing a pianoforte and beautiful music was filling the second floor of the gallery. No photos were allowed in the gallery, but that didn’t stop Howard from getting his camera in position on his belly and cagily snapping a photo:

Next on our Sunday agenda? The Firenze monthly outdoor antique market. Howard had already scoped out the piazza where it was taking place, so it was a short walk to nirvana. Yes, Italian nirvana once again.

I was floating. Here's my bounty:

Lunch? Of course. Vegetables? Yes. Mushy? Of course.

Our afternoon adventure was to visit the Pitti Palace. To get there, we got to cross the Arno River via the Ponte Vecchio. The bridge was crowded with people out on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The bridge itself was lined with jewelry stores, their windows filled with gold and silver jewelry.

At the Pitti Palace we had the option of touring the palace and art galleries, or visiting the gardens and seeing the Grand Ducal Treasures. We opted for the Boboli and Bardini Gardens. and the treasures.

And as we were leaving, we discovered this wonderful, crazy, unique grotto:

The gardens were magnificient and the treasures, well, by the time we were done looking, we were, well, done. Parboiled. Finito. Nothing left. Noodles.

As anyone can see, my poor Dayna is exhausted; but miracle of miracles, within moments she had recovered and began to produce the blog. She amazes me. I have never been one to blog, I mean, I rarely call anyone or write anything, so to watch Dayna produce this travel journal has been really fun. From a selfish perspective, it has helped cement into my memory our travels and fun events and has challenged me to contribute, which I have found quite enjoyable, although I do suffer from writer's block (laziness actually) ocassionally. This is all in fun and the combination of writing and pictures and the sharing of this vacation is very fulfilling. Enough schmoltz.


Destree said...

Right before Howard's comment, I was thinking about what a gift this travel blog is...these are places that I will probably never see in my lifetime (not negative thinking, but even if I do get to Italy...who knows what ground I would cover?) anyways, just seeing that there is life going on in another part of the world as I go about my own is....well it's really cool. BTW, love the pic of the two of you. And I was wondering if the statue of David is as cool as the one at Caesar's Palace in Vegas. ;0)

Bridget B. said...

Love the keyholes!!

gl. said...

ooo, what are those numbered tokens? (and that's a great picture of you at the end!)