Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Florence's two iconic views: The Duomo above
David (a bronze copy) below

I spent about three weeks here in 1971 the year I graduated from Stanford. That’s a long time between visits – too long to really note any changes. I do think there are more tourists here now and certainly a lot more college students. Stanford was one of the few universities with an overseas program here then. Today there are over 10,000 college students studying here at any one time.
When visiting the Uffizi Gallery, you must remember to look up
The Duomo Tower

Palazzo Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio, the only bridge in Florence spared by the retreating Nazis during WWII. 
Once again, we found a perfectly situated apartment less than 100 yards from the Ponte Vecchio. Three good restaurants are within a few feet of our door. Around the corner are several bakeries for breakfast or lunch. The supermarket is just as close. Our apartment came with two bedrooms and two baths for about $125 a night. I can’t imagine a place that inexpensive near Times Square or Piccadilly Circus.

This painting in the Uffizi shows the damage to the gallery by retreating Nazi bombs.

The most beautiful room in the Uffizi. We only looked through the doors.
Since we only had three days, we limited ourselves to the biggies: the Uffizi Gallery, the Duomo, the Accademia with the original David and other Michelangelo marbles, the Bargello and a trip up to Piazzale Michelangelo for the best views on a late afternoon.

The Uffizi courtyard now includes this garish thing amongst the marble statues.
What were they thinking?

Remnant of the old city walls

Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte where we attended part of a service which included Gregorian chanting by the congregation. We enjoyed the chanting, but left rather than listen to the homilies in Italian.
You can now tour under the Duomo and see the Roman remnants.
And of course we just wandered through the area. While we were more entranced with Venice, Florence has some of the most amazing art in the world. Since we only stayed three days, we will have to return to see more.

An operatic voice entertained us 
Four Christian publishers who will be executed for refusing to publish pagan works.
The guild sponsoring the statue gets their due.
David stands alone in a space built for him.
Crowds look on in awe.
The iconic look.
The exquisite detail
For me, the "Prisoners" which may or may not be unfinished are the most powerful of Michelangelo's works. I can actually see these figures fighting to leave the marble. In fact, Michelangelo described his work as simply removing the marble that was hiding the figure inside. Seems simple, right?

Some don't appreciate Michelangelo's Bacchus because he appears to be drunk and happy.

Donatello's David is quite a contrast to Michelangelo's
Early morning on the Ponte Vecchio. This is certainly one of the most expensive shopping streets in the world. High end jewelry, mostly gold is all that is offered for sale. Beautiful and expensive.

Most Italian cities and towns have a restricted driving zone. That doesn't mean there is no traffic and residents and officials still get to drive in the area. In most cases cameras work 24-7 to catch offenders and the fine won't be a pittance. Since there is still quite a bit of traffic it is easy to picture the gridlock that these laws prevent. This garage very near our apartment is obviously making good use of the opportunity these laws provide.

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