Day 59: September 20th
I had read and been told a number of times to book ahead for tickets to the museums in Florence. I’m glad I listened as when we got to the Uffizi in the morning, the queue was already a mile long. We had an entry slot for 12:30 pm and couldn’t even collect our tickets up until just before. So we wandered around the area…which is all stunning..one amazing piazza after another.
Right next door is the Piazza della Signoria—the most historical square of Florence, dating back to the thirteenth century, a place which has witnessed events from the times of the Medicis. From here one can see the Palazzo Vecchio, and the Loggia(open air sculpture park) where there are many statues, among which is Hercules and the Centaur. To either sides of the loggia are the famous, Cellini’s Perseus with the head of Medusa and Giambologna’s Rape of the Sabines. All of these original sculptures are out in the open for us to enjoy…for free! They could have very well been in one of the museums but were here for everyone to enjoy.
The other statues in the Piazza are, Michelangelo’s David (this is a copy, the original is in the Galleria which we see tomorrow) and Neptune in white marble.
We also walked across Ponte Vecchio which is a bridge across the river Arno. It was lined with butcher shops at one point but when the Medicis came along, they demanded that they be replaced with jewelry stores…which are still there. I’m certainly not sure if they are the same but there are a ton of them. I walked into one of them to enquire the price on a very simple chain…and walked right out! Either that chain is overpriced for the tourists or it is the most expensive white gold ever! 🙂
We finally walked back to the Uffizi just in time for our tickets and had to queue a second time once we had our tickets just to get in. One just gets used to queuing in Florence.
The Uffizi Museum or the Galleria Degli Uffizi as it is known here is among the oldest and most famous art galleries in the world. It most certainly houses the largest collection of Renaissance art in the world. Most of the art, once owned by the Medicis were given to the city of Florence on the condition that they never leave the city…and so they have been displayed at the Uffizi since the 18th century. The paintings and the artists here are so well known…Boticelli’s Birth of Venus, Tiziano’s Venus of Urbino, Michelangelo’s Holy Family and Da Vinci’s Adoration of the Magi.
My favorite part of the Uffizi however weren’t the paintings…they were the long corridors along the length of the museum which houses all of the sculptures..there are frescos on the ceilings and great views when one looks out of the windows. Unfortunately no pictures were allowed to be taken. I did manage to sneak in a few before being told off…so my camera was put away for the rest of the time.
We spent a good four hours wandering the museum and were exhausted by the time we were done. A nice glass of chianti(local wine) later, we made our way back to our hotel. We found a Chinese restaurant nearby…jackpot!:)
Tomorrow, we see the world famous David!