For the past year of studying in Rome I really have not left Rome that often, except for day hikes in Cinque Terra and a trip to Hadrians Gardens. Finally after spending the last year learning about the birth of the Renaissance I took a two day trip to Florence with my dad.
To be honest I was not very impressed at least with the art.
Of course we only stayed in the Old City, so I can’t say much about the whole city.
At first, the architecture is very beautiful, I will admit that, the Duomo and Baptistery are incredible. As well as Santa Maria Novella, the first church one see’s when leaving the station.
However even the Duomo was a bit confusing, I was extremely impressed with the church and facade because I had believed it was built in the 1400-1500’s, but nothing written around the church said any different, until I went to the museum. There I learned only the dome is truly original and the church had been redone almost every 100 years, the current facade is from the 1800’s. So yes, it is beautiful, but I suppose that the late age makes it less impressive, at least to me (this is actually something we discussed in Art History class, which I will discuss later).
While it was beautiful to walk around in, there is not one thing affordable, it is all designer stores, Gucci on every corner, since Florence is the home of Gucci.
The art and gold trader influence is still present today, with artists studios open and they work outside so visitors can see. The Ponte Vecchio is all jewelery shops, perfect place to buy an engagement ring, but not much else.
So while the outside was pretty, I couldn’t wait to wander into churches and see all this art I had heard about. Well, I still am very unclear where all this amazing art is, I’m guessing the Uffizi took it all, because I was not able to make it in there. The churches were empty, white walls, with one painting per chapel. Though I am sure some may prefer this, I am used to Roman churches, in which every inch is covered with art by a well known artist.
I did of course see a few works by Fillipino Lippi, Donatello’s Mary Magdalene and the famous painting of Dante with his divine comedy. The inside of the Medici palace was very decorated with most works by Vasari, however otherwise, the main churches were very empty and boring.
I was able to finally distinguish that Northern Italian style of painting, with the very bright and bold colors.
But overall I must say Florence can really be done in a day trip, unless you are planning on the Uffizi.
The only things absolutely amazing about Florence, was the view from the top of the Duomo’s Tower and the food. But the food truly deserves a post on it’s own, so until then here are a few photos:
I was shooting with a Macro lense, so I was not able to capture the whole thing, but above, there is a bit of the facade of the Duomo.
This is the outside of the Medici Pallazzo with a beautiful sculpture outside.
The Firenze Lions. Located in the outdoor Uffizi section, in front of the Medici Palace.
Oh, Another very amazing piece of art was that of a small chapel located in the museum section of Santa Maria Novella. The paintings are medieval and show different allegories and stories of the Christian faith.
Above being my favorite, it represents the Triumph of the Christian Doctorine, here are all the individuals: The angels at the very top represent Faith, Charity, Hope, Temperance, Prudence, Justice and Fortitube, from left to right. Then the second register is St. Thomas Aquinas with from left to right, Job, David, St. Paul, St Mark St Matthew, then the three heretics:Nestor, Arius and Averrous, then: St. John the Evangelist, Luke, Moses, Isaiah, and Solomon.
Finally the Bottom list is Civil Law –Justinian, Canonical Law –Clement V, Philosophy –Aristotle, Holy Scriptures –St. Jerome, Theology –St. John of Damascus, Contemplation –St. Dionysus, Preaching –St. Augustine, Arithmetic –Pythagoras, Geometry –Euclid, Astronomy –Ptolemy, Music –Tubalcain, Dialectics –Pietro Ispano, Rhetoric –Cicero, and Grammar with Priscian.