Tuesday, January 17, 2012

3 Must See, Do and Try in Florence are ...

... the Museo di San Marco.

This was a monastary and now acts as a convent and museum.  There was so much to learn about the life of a monk and the broader religious happenings back in the 15th C.  It was all so political.

Anyway, the building itself is really not much to look at from the outside, but inside is a wealth of subtle beauty.  We'd be walking down a hallway, go into a room, and it was massive and the next beyond small.  Best way to put it, we never knew what we'd find and that includes when we moved into the museum part.

The museum was on an upper floor and it was the living quarters of the monks.  Not horribly exciting, right?  So very wrong.  Each room possessed a fresco by the artist known as Fra Angelico, who also happened to be a friar who lived in San Marco when it was first built.  I was not a fan of his work before this visit and now I have a new appreciation for his work.

Now, while we went in the fall and not the best time for gardens, I imagine the inner courtyards are stunning so I'll have to go back again.

Thank you to The Pilgrim Project for the beautiful picture of the Cloisters above, it does the site justice.

... David by Michelangelo 16th C.

Let me clarify that by saying  while I absolutely enjoyed seeing this large sculpture in person at the Accademia Gallery and being able to walk all the way around it, I preferred the copy amongst other statues in its original location on the Piazza della Signoria.

One of my favorite our haunts was on this piazza, two turns away from our hotel.  We'd sit there at the end of the day, sipping whatever we fancied that day - often it was a chianti - and relax, take in the sites and sounds of Florence.  A few steps to the right is the Uffizi, which had 2 sculptures of Marsyas.  They sat on opposing sides of a corner that I was not expecting to see - what a joy - and now one of my all time favorite museums to visit, ever.  Yeah, it's that kind of great, but this copy of David caught and held my attention, go figure.

Pictures were forbidden in the gallery, as they were in most of the museums throughout Italy, but here is the real David on Wikipedia.  He is rather spectacular and his toes, they're huge!

... the Ponte Vecchio, actually, it's the walking, shopping and socializing that made Florence a truly magnificent city to visit.  They haven't wiped away their history which makes every step and turn interesting.  There were so many piazzas to visit, each with a different feel and they own set of shops and cafes.  They varied in size so it was easy to pick what suited the mood.

We stayed in the historic center where it was mainly pedestrian only and cobbled.  Despite this being where the tourists flock to see the sights, it actually didn't feel crowded.  There were a variety of markets and stalls, gelato shops - a true treat for the eyes, and all conducted at a fabulous pace of life for a city.

Maybe it was going in November that made this trip not all that crowded and therefore easy to enjoy walking around.

Yes, I'll absolutely be visiting Florence again.


Penelope Marzec said...

I loved visiting Florence. I was there for six weeks with a college tour. It was fantastic! I have always longed to return.

Tilly Greene said...

You lucky woman! A tour full of fun and education in and around Florence would be a dream! Well, I imagine you'll return one day and see how much has changed and how much hasn't...I know I am waiting for that day :-)