Thursday, February 4, 2010

Shadows of the Renaissance

I understand now.  Florence is so much more than a city.  The past of this small community on the banks of the Arno is forever intertwined with the invention and advancement of all mankind.  The Medici were essentially the world's first modern traders and bankers.  The Renaissance began here, which advanced all forms of intellectual inquiry and creation.  It is the birthplace of so much, and yet it now just simply exists as this quiet town in the Tuscan hills.  It forges on ahead with shops full of artisans, with architecture that yanks at your interest with each chisel, and with art that will never be eclipsed, ever.  It has gracefully come down from its apogee unapologetic and ready to just be.  Placing itself firmly and deeply into my heart as one of the most beautiful places that I have ever fallen in love with was no task at all for this stunner.  It simply is what Florence does.

 Early in the AM, we headed out for the Galleria delgi Uffizi, which houses 
the largest collection of Renaissance art.  This is in the plaza outside.
 Also outside the Uffizi
 Pavement still damp from evening showers.
 The Arno
 Taking the stairs up to the Uffizi
 You are not allowed to take pics in the Uffizi, and as much as I wanted to man up and snap a shot
of The Birth of Venus, I had yet to grow a pair in this environment.  This was my first forbidden 
picture of the day, included only because it was a big step in the right direction of my new photography mantra of "shoot now, deal with the screaming Italian later"

 Another Shot of inside the Uffizi, All of the ceilings are full with ornate paintings.  Kristin looks

 I wish I could have produced a better picture, but this lady flipped out on me right as I raised my camera.

 Tower on Piazza della Signoria
 A fountain on the roof of the Uffizi

 A quiet Florence street

 A meat shop that we stopped by on our way to Brunelleschi's Duomo


 A lot FULL of mopeds

 For a sense of scale, check out that guy.  The duomo is immense.  It took 150 years to 
complete, and was started in the 13th(!) century 

 The Campanile, which is the cathedral's bell tower

 Inside the Duomo

 We had to climb 463 steps to the top and 463 back down.  This was a wide stretch.  The 
spiraling stretches were to cramped to photo.

 Inside the Duomo at the top, took balls to paint this high

 The final stretch of stairs 

 View from the top, definitely worth the struggle


 A nice picture of the Campanile 

 Hills of Tuscany in the distance

 No making fun of my camera bag

 hey boo

 Just a few more, I swear.  We stayed up at the top of the dome for about 30 minutes.  It was seriously 
just absolutely breathtaking.

 A road grows smaller

 Moments before the descent

 Social statues

 The duomo ground floor.  It was surprisingly quite empty, except for the occasional Japanese tour group.

 The original entrance

 Top of dome


 Bye duomo

 So, how crazy are we?  After climbing to the top of the duomo, we decided 
to punish ourselves further and climbed to the top of the Campanile, all 420
odd steps.

 It gave up a great view

 Florence is so small that you can see where all you have been.  We were standing up here tracking our path.

 I never get tired of these Florentine panoramas, but you might so..

 I realized around this point that I lost my walking stick.  Trying to ask the duomo
guards for help was like begging for a hundred from a homeless man, just not happening.
The Baptistry
The duomo's facade, we almost missed it, but luckily just turned a corner and wham

 Fresh Mozz, lettuce, tomato (MLT)
This pizza blew us away 

 A beast of some kind

 A mustachioed knocker
 Next on our agenda was to travel by foot to the Galleria dell'Accademia, which houses...

 The most perfect piece of art ever created

Photographs were prohibited in this area, and I definitely snuck off these shots very carefully.  It is incredible how large this statue is.  And perfect.  We stared at it for 15 minutes, and it looked like at any given second it would break free of the pedestal and take off down the hall
 After David, we headed off to see my favorite work of art in the world
 But first, drinks at a Ben and Jerry's...

 I loved this carousel, it was very Renaissance-ish 
 The headband kept my ears warm

 Kristin at a market 

 Now this was awesome, we found a little glove shop full of gloves of every color and design.  They looked at our hands and eyeballed our sizes perfectly, and than taught us how to properly put gloves on.  It was a lot cooler than it sounds.  We both bought cashmere lined gloves that are softer than the slightest whisper.

 New gloves

 Ponte Vecchio

 The other side of the Arno

 We were taking the long way to Santa Maria 

 Just some random door

 We gad to check a map for this one, middle road it is

 Basilica di Santa Maria Novella

 There it is. My favorite painting in the world.  I once wrote a 10 page paper about this exact painting, painted on this exact wall, almost 600 years ago.  If this thing was portable and could be bought and sold at auction, then it would be one of those top 5 art pieces in the world. Since monetary value really 
determines how ubiquitous a painting seems in the art world, and this particular masterpiece cannot be sold, it just lives out a quiet life here in Florence.  Masaccio painted it, and it basically was the first incidence of Renaissance art.
 Pictures in here, also not allowed, and my shutter seemed really loud.

 One more, crazy seeing this thing in person.  The only other painting that made my heart speed up like this was Picasso's Guernica in Madrid.

 Basilica di Santa Maria Novella

 I look ridiculous
 We stopped for Gelato 

 She will be pissed when she finds out I took this sneak shot 

 Small car

 Cool bar.  We are generally only eating at bars because it is good, quick, and cheap.
Bars are different here.

 Another gorgeous building


 Bike Commuter

 Ferragamo Flagship

 Ponte Santa Trinita

 A fountain

 A corner store



 A tasty shop


 Love locks

 Getting late



Totally running out of internet in a few minutes.  I had to make haste.



  1. Again--a spectacular display. Florence comes alive, thanks to Justin and his unique pictures! Thanks for the phone call! Certainly do appreciate goboogo!

  2. You guys look like you are having an amazing time! Definitely living a romantic dream. Thanks for sharing your adventures! We love you both very much! Lisa and Dad

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