Nom de Plumage

June 16, 2012

Well, Hello David!


Come on, you know that you have been waiting for this day once you realised that I am in Florence? For when in Florence, you CANNOT leave without visiting the most famous sculpture in THE WORLD. But to tease just a little longer, my little rendezvous with with the world’s stiffest and most beautiful man, came at the end of my long day. So as Julie Andrews sings, ‘let’s start at the very beginning………. Today, I really craved company and wanted to explore the majestic city of my dreams with someone, so I chose to join three short tours with an English Tour Company. I discovered the company on my second day at the Tourist Bureau near the Santa Maria Novella station. But to actually find the company through the maze of narrow streets, was no easy task, but find it I did and not wanting to be late (or get lost again), I arrived early for the first tour at 9:30 am. There are so many advantages in joining a tour if you are a solo traveller. The most obvious is for the company, but let us not forget that guides are a ‘walking encyclopaedia’ and know gossip and stories otherwise not found in guide books and that they know their way through the city, giving you the opportunity to discover new delights all without getting lost and wasting time. A small group of about twelve people, mainly all Americans, joined me for the three hour tour discovering the most famous and most visited places of this ancient city. With our headphones on the correct channel, the small group followed our Serbian guides bright umbrella as she held it pointed at the grey wet heavens. Our very first stop was at the very heart and beginning of Florence’s foundation, Piazza della Republica. Beneath the wet stone pavements, lay Florence of yesteryear, sealed and protected from all eyes. It was only discovered recently and in all fairness, would cost a fortune to reopen. It is a great shame that we may never get to see it, but at the same time, a blessing that it will be preserved just a little longer.

We then continued on through the narrow dark streets past the point of the flood of 1966 and saw just how high the water had risen, religious statues and small chapels (this is the capital of Renaissance) and a small door situated low on a stone wall for beggars in the old era to collect food scraps from the wealthy. The Strozzi Palace was stunning in it’s simplicity and wealth and home to Florence’s second most influential family after the Medici .

Who can imagine how a few hundred years can change the world’s most famous bridge, the Pointe Vecchio. Once the trading precinct of butchers, the murky water below was constantly awash with blood and guts from the butchered carcass.They were sly in those days because all that offal floated down the river to rival cities. Nasty! Now in the 21st century, the river below is still murky with soot and mud, giving it a brown ugly colour, but the bridge is now the home of jewellers. Gold is everywhere, blinding and confusing you because let me be honest, they all look the same. But nonetheless, the bridge is an icon and just to stand on it, was the most surreal feeling.

For me, the heart of Florence is our next stop and it is the piazza of statues, shops, cafes and history. The group was led by our informative guide through the dark corridors until a light followed by a huge opening that was the Piazza della Signora. It was here that the scene from “A Room With A View” opened up to me, until I was informed by the guide that actually the scene was tampered with and all is not what it seems. Damn! But still, it was a beautiful piazza with Palazzo Vecchio guarded by the sub-standard replica of my man David. The group was allowed a lunch break and  took the opportunity to buy a delicious sandwich on crusty Italian bread, followed by a gelato (how many is that now?).

Tour number two was at the very impressive Uffizi Gallery. All the treasures housed here, once belonged to the mega-rich Medici family and after their demise, it was trusted to the people of Florence. If you are a fan of art and you are religious, then this is the place to come because  I have never in all my life seen so many paintings dedicated to the Virgin Mary and Jesus. The famous painting by Botticelli ”The Birth of Venus” was here and it was beautiful. A short walk leads you to the Duomo and probably the most recognisable building in the city. The piazza is a hot-spot for pick-pockets, so beware. The massive cathedral is an awe-inspiring sight and from the outside it is very beautiful and elegant, but the inside is a disappointment and shows lack of or a waste of funds? Directly across from the Duomo is the gold-plated double doors that just make you gasp. The intensive and artistic work of the master-craftman who took about twenty years to complete, shows the comparison of building in the 16th century to the 21st.

And so the final tour began as the sun was setting and the temperature cools. The Academy of Art is a building that is tucked away in the back streets of the city and away from the main tourist hub, but it is not what is on the outside that counts, but what is inside. Ah, David, David, David! Past security and through the main door, you turn to your right and there straight ahead standing tall is the most impressive man of them all. I have to be honest that initially I could only wonder  what the fuss was about over some stone? That is until I saw the intricate and perfect detail of the stone that ironically is not even sculptured from a perfect slab. Michelangelo was a master and with a chisel in one hand and a hammer in the other, he was able to over the years, create the world’s most famous sculpture. Every muscle, along with the six pack, every vein, every tendon of a man in his prime, is here for all to see. A small piece of information to be noted, is that both David’s hands and feet are out of proportion to his body. A good reason behind it, for Michelangelo was commissioned to create a sculpture to be placed at the top of the Duomo. To look up from the ground, Michelangelo had the insight to realise that he needed to sculpt the hands and feet larger to appear in proportion. Pure genius! Oh, except for one small imperfection. Be honest, it is the talk of all women when they meet the not-so-shy David, is the size of his you-know-what. Who was the model? Oh well, not everyone can be perfect and what he lacks in some departments, he makes up for splendidly in others. So my Italian Masters trifecta is complete: Mona Lisa, The Last Supper and David.

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2 Comments »

  1. Nice photos. They look a lot like the ones I took when my wife and I visited Florence.

    Comment by jpon — June 17, 2012 @ 3:03 am | Reply

    • Thank you!
      I am enjoying your posts and look forward to reading the joys of being a writer.

      Comment by nomdeplumage — June 17, 2012 @ 4:23 pm | Reply


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