Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Day 18: Florence #2

Saturday July 27, 2013

Today's highlights:
   -The David!!
   -The Duomo
   -Our living quarters

Today we saw The David sculpture, by Michelangelo. While I fully admit that I am no art historian and know very little about art and sculpture, I was speechless. It is literally one of the most beautiful man-made things I have ever seen. When we entered the Accademia (museum), no one even warns you. You just turn a corner and BAM, there it is, in all it's glory. It stands about 20 feet high (14 feet of statue on a 5-foot pedestal) in its own dome, and it was HUGE! So much bigger than I was expecting. It seems impossible that it was carved from marble, it is so smooth and perfect. It all came from one solid piece of stone.

We learned something cool about Michelangelo too. He said that when he carves, he is not the one creating, but is instead a tool in the hands of God. He is simply helping that stone to become what it was meant to be in the first place. What God wanted it to be. In fact, most sculptors begin by mapping out their plan and drawing marks in the rocks, but Michelangelo sculpts freehand, feeling every movement and cut is inspired. The artist's job, he says, is just to clear away the excess stone until the intended sculpture emerges. That's pretty miraculous. And I think has a lot of parallels to our lives if you really think about it. 

The David is of course referring to the story of David and Goliath. It is believed that this sculpture shows David before he faces the giant, as if saying, "Let's do this." It became so widely respected first for its beauty and second, because it was a symbol to the Florentines of the power of the underdog when you have God on your side. Seriously incredible.

Along the hallway, there are several other "unfinished" statues by Michelangelo called "Prisoners." These look almost like a visual manifestation of Michelangelo's claim that he was just helping the intended statue emerge. These are big muscular people who look like they are fighting their way out of the stone to become what they were meant to be. Some have almost emerged while others are still trapped by the stone. They were really moving (you know, emotionally. Not physically).

So now for Florence's other grand masterpiece: The Duomo (domed cathedral). Holy. Cannoli. This thing is unreal. It is huge and you would not believe how detailed the outside of the whole church is. There are LIFE-SIZE statues all over it, and intricate paintings and marble carvings. It's cray-cray!

So the story is that the cathedral structure was built with the plan to put a dome on top before anyone even knew how to build it. Then the funds ran low and for almost a century, it was left unfinished. There it was, a big eye-sore in the middle of the city, a symbol to the Florentines of their own failure (or so I'm told). And then, the Medici family (basically the family that sparked the whole renaissance) hired a guy named Brunelleschi to finish it. He came up with a design totally unique and seemingly impossible. Though a lot of people doubted him, a few years later the dome was finished, making it a symbol of Florentine pride, culture and talent. Today it stands as literally a grand centerpiece of Florence and it is a sight to behold. We first saw this when we arrived yesterday but today finally got time to look around it a little more. So beautiful. 

We continued with another museum, the Bargello, but pretty soon after starting decided that even though we'd loved everything we had seen so far, the average man can only take so much art. We were kind of art-ed out. So what did we do, you ask? Why, the only thing you can do in that scenario. We got some gelato. (How many times have we gotten gelato already? I swear I write that everyday. I'll mail a scoop to whoever can count how many times I have said that). Then we took a little nap break before heading back to our favorite adorable old Italian man for dinner. We repeated the ravioli (we tried not to but it was just SO good) but also tried some pumpkin risotto this time. Mmmm... Delish. (I realize that you probably don't care what we ate for every meal, but I don't want to forget. Who knows, maybe I'll even be inspired to cook when we get home).

So no cliff-hangs today, but still a pretty cool day. We feel very cultured :). 

Also, it's our Anniversary Eve! One year ago we were at our wedding dinner! We are so good at being married now.....

Also, this is on the wall of the house we are staying in. Crazily enough, this was not the weirdest wall decoration in that place. Not by a long shot. Inquire for more details. 


  1. I counted 8 mentions of gelato and 3 mentions of ice cream so far. You know the address to mail me my gelato, just like I know Rob's response to this comment - "Bry would be the one to count that."

    1. Bry, Robbie laughed so hard at that comment. You nailed it. Also, your gelato's in the mail!

  2. 1) totally understand what you mean about being "art-ed out." happened to me in Paris 2) i DO want to hear about all your food! it makes me happy 3) love the Banksy grafitti.

    1. Holli! I haven't said this yet because I forget I can comment on here too, but I love your comments! You make me feel justified in every decision we make here and that I choose to write about it. You are the best!

  3. Angie! I totally answered your question in my head with gelato before I even read your answer! Duh! I love reading about your adventures! Keep up the good work writing about all of them!