Uffizi, Palazzo Vecchio, The Academy, San Marco
I haven't blogged much since it was time to get down to work. After all, the reason we're here is to complete coursework for my MA. To accommodate that goal, we've started limiting our sight seeing and setting a more predictable schedule. The day typically begins with breakfast.
Willa usually orchestrates proceedings.
Then I head off to get some work done. Travis and Willa tend to watch some Italian cartoons in the morning or visit local shops. After a few hours of work, we try to go out for a few hours of exploration. This has typically consisted of the local museums. We try to do the small museums. If we attempt a large one, like the Uffizi, we limit our visit to a wing at a time -- time, on this trip, has been on our side.
If you have more than a week in Florence, and you're into museums, the Uffizi Pass is well worth the investment. It's actually one of the cheaper options for families and let's you skip the line. Kudos to Travis for sniffing this out. We may only be here until the end of June, but we're members for all of 2015. Christmas in Italy, anyone?
I'm sharing highlights from four of the museums we've visited so far. I'm condensing them to (hopefully) retain your interest and because it's more time efficient than writing a post for each one. Buon divertimento!
The Uffizi was commissioned by the Medici as judicial and administrative buildings for Firenze in the mid 1500s. In the mid 1700s it began serving as a museum and its collections have grown since. It houses many noteworthy pieces, only a few that we've seen so far.
The Birth of Venus, a/k/a Venus on the Half Shell
It also has several impressive vantage points to view the Arno and the Palazzo Vecchio.
Travis was very excited to see some of the major works he teaches. We perused while Willa charmed visitors and employees alike.
The Palazzo Vecchio Museo sits right next door to the Uffizi. We snuck in right before closing to see one of Travis' favorite pieces, Donatello's David.
I was particularly relieved to see the piece below.
The sculptor must have spent time with children. This is proof that Willa is not the only child that enjoys plucking eyeballs.
The Medici Chapel is a five minute walk from our apartment, and is well worth an hour or two of your time. The outside is fairly non-descript, but the interior is very impressive.
The bottom floor is full of reliquaries, beautifully decorated shrines that contain the bones of saints.
On the second floor is an amazing tribute to the departed Medici family.
Helluva tomb, right?
The Academy, a smaller museum, is situated a block and half from our apartment. It holds a small selection of art, but the main attraction which keeps people in line for hours every day is...
Michelangelo's David is impressive not only because of its size, which is fourteen feet tall without the marble base, but because of the detail. The muscles, joints, and even veins are easily visible and lends the piece a degree of naturalism that makes it appear more than stone.
If you walk past The Academy for another block and a half, you come to San Marco, a former monastery turned museum. The first floor was filled with many frescos and artwork.
And a beautiful courtyard sits in the middle.
The second floor was my favorite though. The old monk's cells are left open for exploration. I really loved seeing the small doors, windows, and the frescos within. The frescos were completed by Fra Anglico. He is especially known for this one.
Travis tells me it has to do with the amount of depth portrayed.
There were small holes in the floor that were covered in glass. Underneath, you could see Frescos painted in the cubbies below.
Off the housing area was the library wing, filled with old manuscripts, ink materials, and book binding tools. We couldn't take pictures of most of it, but we did get a few hasty ones of the room, which was beautiful itself.
Hope I haven't museum-ed you out quite yet, there may be one more to come. Stay tuned for Pisa, Milan, and more adventures.
A più tardi!
Travis, Lisa, and Willa