November 23, 2008

Our Final Days in Florence

Yesterday morning, after my early rise due to insomnia, I got Jon up and we started out on a long day of walking and exploring. The first thing we did Saturday morning was walk up a hill side, past the Ponte Vecchio to the Piazzale Michelangelo where we (and many other tourists) took in the most spectacular view of Florence you can imagine. We then walked further up the hill to the San Miniato church. It is a 10th century church with old frescoes and wonderful old statues and great murals - you know, the usual.

We then walked to the Basilica of Santa Croce which had even more amazing, wonderful religious art and the tombs of Michelangelo, Dante and Galileo to name a few. Within the church was an amazing museum with lots of frescoes and DellaRobias. There is so much in that church, I had trouble absorbing it all, which is probably why I took so many pictures. I will have to go back and look over everything.

Then, as if that was not enough, we went to the museum that houses the great works from the Duomo. There were works by DellaRobia, Donatello among others. But the best piece has to be Michelangelo's last sculpture, The Pieta which he sculpted for his tomb but then destroyed because he didn't think it was good enough. Fortunately for all of us, one his students put it back together. His face is on one of the figures holding up Christ. It's moving.

That was a lot for one day and we had a nice rest before going to dinner. We wanted to be well rested for our final push today. We saved the best for last. Today we went to the Uffizi gallery and I am glad we were well rested. They have the absolute best examples of Renaissance artwork in the world. The Botticellis were breathtaking. Michelangelo's only free standing painting was there. Leonardo da Vinci's Annunciation was beautiful. There was a whole exhibit dedicated to Giotto and his followers. The Metropolitan Museum of Art would love to have any of the pieces we saw today. Caravaggio, Hans Holbein, Memling, Raphael, Titian. A super collection.

This trip has been great, just superb.

Tomorrow morning it is finished. We start our long trek back. Florence to Rome by train. Then Rome to the airport by train. Rome to London and then London to New York.

I will be sad to leave. But when I get back, I'll start the daunting task of editing the hundreds and hundreds of photos we took this week so I can share our trip with you. But be warned. There is going to be a lot of art.

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