Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Itay Day 8--Firenza, continued

Today marks our last day of sightseeing in Firenza (Florence).  We started the day walking over to the Bargello Museum. Right across the street was a small church and abbey, Badia Florentina, that we stepped into (because when do I ever say no to a church?). 


Dante supposedly grew up near this church, founded in 978 (so originally Romanesque) but later upgraded to gothic between 1284 and 1310 and then Baroque-d between 1627 and 1631. 



The church  also had a small shop selling goods made by local monestaries that we went back to after we visited the museum since it was so close. 




The Bargello, built in 1255, was the Town Hall, fortress, and later prison, so even the building itself was historical, and interesting to see.




We were there, however, to see the art, in particular sculptures, including some by Michelangelo. 

(Bacchus)

(Brutus)


And a study of Davids:
(Donatello, 1408)


(Donatello, 1430)

(Andrea del Verrocchio, 1470, Premier sculpture of the generation between Donatello and Michaelangelo.  He was also Leonardo da Vinci's teacher--some think a young Leonardo could have been the model for this sculpture).

Interesting comparison to Michelangelo's David.  The Medici's (yes them again) owned and displayed Donatello's bronze David above in the Medici Palace, and Michelangelo admired and studied it while he lived with them.


(Donatello's St. George from the Orsanmichele Church from Medici Florence, as you may recall, the statute at the church is now a copy)









(There was also a whole room filled with beautiful pottery!)


From the museum we continued going southeast of the Duomo to the Basilica di Santa Croce (Holy Cross). 

The church, begun in 1294, was large and I thought it was  much prettier than the Duomo.








Santa Croce is also known as the Temple of the Italian Glories for all the notables buried there, including:
(Dante)

(Michelangelo)

(Galileo)

(Machiavelli) 

St. Croce also has a famous leather school where the impoverished learn to make leather goods as their trade, and we stepped in briefly to take a look,


before heading out into the cloister,


Where we saw Gaddi's Tree of the Cross and the Last Supper--in the medieval monk's dining room.


From here we excited back into the piazza,


and west to the Palazzo Davanzati, a tower house, originally built in the mid 14th century. 


I was particularly interested in seeing a tower house.  This particular structure shows the transaction from medieval tower house to a more renaissance building, with an interior staircase and courtyard surrounded by rooms on each floor.  A medieval tower house would have wooden stairs on the outside of the building.


I was a little disappointed we could only see the first floor (remember in Europe it is ground floor then first floor), especially since the kitchen is on the top of this building, but it was still pretty cool.







After a pizza lunch,


we headed back to the Palazzo Vecchio, the town hall followed by Medici palace first mentioned in my Medici Florence post, which we finally toured!


Even though it looks really cool from the outside, and it has a really impressive courtyard,


But singly I stood, when, by consent
Of all, Florence had to the ground been razed,
The one who openly forbade the deed.
(Translation from the internet)

I was a bit disappointed it wasn't furnished, but it had gorgeous frescos, especially the ceilings.










(Window view of the Duomo--and what a view!)

From here we walked up the Por S. Maria,

and to,


and then over,


the Ponte Vecchio, a Florence landmark.  The bridge was originally a fish market, but the Florentines decided that silver and gold shops would smell a smidgen better, so it was made "upscale" a few centuries ago. 



The bridge took us to the opposite bank of the Arno River, where, conveniently, our next stop, the Pitti Palace, was located.  The Pitti Palace was another Medici home, but later than the Medici Palazzo.  The Pitti Palace was built by Cosimo I when he became the Duke of Florence (yep, Cosimo I again!).



This palace was huge!  We toured only the Royal apartments, which were decorated and furnished, so I was very happy. 





(Napoleon's Bathroom)









We also had some time to walk up to the garden,






before heading over Ponte Vecchio and back towards the Piazza della Signoria.

(Gelato break anyone?)


We had dinner that night on the Piazza Republica.  Expensive, but a pretty setting!



(gnocchi!)

(Second dessert (or maybe gelato just doesn't count?) with a dessert wine)

After a bit of nighttime wanderings,

it was back to the hotel!

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