Follow my adventures around Europe as I try not to get gored by any stray bulls in Pamplona, fall into a canal in Venice, win and lose millions of dollars on the French Riviera and generally become hopelessly lost on the European rail networks. Enjoy!
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Having heard all manner of horror stories about the queues in Florence, set out very early and eventually found the quite drab Galleria Dell Academia a few minutes after it opened and joined the other unorganised folks in the line for people who hadn’t called ahead for a reservation. Settled in for a long wait despite being only having about 12 people in front of me (2 of whom had also been in my Vatican tour group) and so was quite surprised when we all got let in after only a 10 minute wait. Headed straight for Michelangelo’s David which is just amazing, and was nice to get there while the gallery was still relatively quiet too because the several times I went past it later you could barely see the base of the statue). Stood around admiring for a bit and then had a quick look around the rest of the gallery which mostly houses religious artworks and a collection of early musical instruments. Stopped by to admire David a few more times before I left, I dunno what it is but even though you’ve seen it a million times before and there are at least 2 full size copies around town (and that’s not counting the souvenir statues on sale everywhere) there’s just something about the original that really draws you in.
Anyway, spent the rest of the morning exploring Florence which is a lovely old city. Checked out a few old churches, which seem to be a lot less ornate than in other cities but absolutely huge and still filled with artworks. Visited the Duomo cathedral who’s painted dome dominates the skyline, and St Lorenzo which is Florence’s oldest cathedral and contains works by Donatello (not the Turtle). Found Piazza Della Signoria which was where the David originally stood and which now has a copy, as well as a big open air collection of other sculptures. Nearby was the Galleria degli Uffizi, another gallery featuring the Birth of Venus and many, many other works, but there was at least a 2 hour wait in line and I was suffering from art overload by this point anyway so skipped that one. Climbed back up the hill to Piazzale Michelangelo, home to another fake David, which by now was full of tour buses and people enjoying the amazing view of the city and back to the campsite for a nice relaxing afternoon enjoying the view and the sunshine.
Wandered back the city for a stroll around sunset. Checked out a few more piazzas but mostly sat amongst the statues in Logia de Signoria listening to the musicians play for diners at the ristorantes. Also found Il Porcellino, a bronze statue of a boar which (according to the most popular stories) will ensure you return to Florence (or give you good luck, or grant a wish) if you rub its snout and drop a coin from its mouth into the grating below...also apparently it was in Hannibal?? Hiked back up the hill for a great view of the city all lit up at night. Another exciting day of riding the trains for 7 hours tomorrow to get to Nice where Susan will be joining me to (hopefully) soak up some sun and glam it up on the French Riviera…also I’m really close to finishing my 100th Sodoku puzzle on the trains so exciting times ahead folks J