Saturday, November 10, 2012

Florence - Home of the Renaissance (Part 1)

Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Florence is the birthplace of the Renaissance and the center of Tuscan culture and heritage. Although our time in Florence was filled with cold, rainy days, we made the most of the poor weather and tried not to let it slow us down.

Although the rain often disrupted our time outside reveling in the architecture of Florence's amazing Cathedrals, Palaces, and Piazzas (coming up in Part 2!), by forcing us indoors it also allowed us to experience some of Florence's most important cultural experience - its museums.

As you may already know (from previous posts), we have a love/hate relationship with museums (Travis loves exploring them/Calli hates the way they make her feet feel), but we thoroughly enjoyed all Florence had to offer in this aspect.

Our first stop, after a rainy hour exploring an antiques market (who's idea could that have been?), was the Bargello. Housed in a beautiful castle turned palace turned barracks turned jail, the museum now hosts an amazing collection of Gothic and Renaissance sculpture, featuring such superstars as Michelangelo, Donatello, Giambologna, and Della Robbia. In addition, it houses a great collection of ceramics, textiles, ivories, coins, and other items of historical and artistic value. 

The beautifully detailed interior of the Bargello
We spent a good couple of hours admiring the amazing sculptures, picking out a few favorites along the way - Donatello's St. George, Michelangelo's Bacchus, and Pietro Francavilla's Jason.

Jason by Pietro Francavila

Our second museum visit in Florence was to one of the most famous in the world, the Uffizi Gallery. Not wanting to wait in line in the rain, we splurged a few euros and had our lovely hostess Lara make us a reservation. We were able to (fairly) easily collect our tickets and only had to wait in line for about 20 minutes. After checking our umbrella we set off to explore.

The exterior of the Uffizi Gallery
 First off, the building is amazing - at times even more amazing than the art, with the seemingly unending ceiling frescoes making it hard to look down. But the paintings are amazing too. Many of the greatest artists, both Italian and foreign, are represented here, and their talents cannot be denied. Paintings from the likes of Botticelli, Raphael, Michelangelo, da Vinci, and Rembrandt can a be found here, and no matter what your artistic preferences you are sure to find something you'll love. Some of our favorites included Sandro Botticelli's The Birth of Venus, Paolo Uccello's The Battle of San Romano, and Albrect Durer's The Adoration of the Magi

Sandro Botticelli - The Birth of Venus (via)

Paolo Uccello - The Battle of San Romano (via)

Albrect Durer - The Adoration of the Magi (via)

 Our final museum stop in Florence was La Specola, the natural history museum, and the post on that can be found here (We got a little ahead of ourselves because we visited on Halloween...sorry). Part 2 of our time in Florence should be up soon and the pictures shortly after that.

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Hey there!

Calli and Travis returned from a four month trip through Europe more excited than ever to hit the open road. Who knows where they'll end up next...

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