Marian P. Merritt - Lagniappe

Where the Bayous Meet the Mountains

Sunday, November 24, 2013

My Italy Experience: Day 6 - Florence

Day 6 - 11/06/13 Firenze (Florence)

Left Cavazzale at 6:15 am. 

Waiting for the train at 6:00 a.m. in Cavazzale

Changed trains in Vicenza to Padova then another change in Padova to Florence.

Train Station in Florence
Today we arrived via train from Cavazzale to Florence (Firenza) approx 2 hours. As we exited the Station Santa Maria Novella, the bustle of the street with its nearby roundabout filled the air with an electric intensity. The flow of cars, scooters, and pedestrians moved as though rolling liquid through the streets. 

Round-about outside of Santa Maria Novella Station

It was early morning and I was excited for what the day held. We crossed the street and soon found the narrow street Via San Antonia that led to our hotel, The Katti House, a wonderful bed and breakfast tucked inside an old building on Via Faenza.

We walked through the opened outer doors to find two side-by-side closed doors and a sign saying to go down the street to the Trattoria Katti. Before I could get to the Trattoria, Scott found the bell on the wall next to the door and rang. A gentle hostess named, Anna Marie greeted us and showed us to our room.
A very comfortable room with a queen sized bed and full bathroom on the second floor.

The view looked down onto Via Faenza and the bustle of street traffic below drifted into our room through the opened windows.


After a few minutes to get freshen-up, we struck out to find the Gallerie dell' Accademia. The  Gallery is home to David and many other precious works of art.
We had a nice walk through the streets of Florence to the Accademia.

The wait was a mere 20 minutes in the no-reservation line. The time of year and morning worked well. My anticipation grew as we inched closer to the door. After we walked along a small corridor, we entered the main room of the museum. The body scanner and personal possession xray scanner drove home the importance of what I was about to experience.

The precious and valued art and the incomparable David.

We breezed through security, bought our tickets and entered the main chamber where indescribable art centuries old hung along the walls with nothing separating us. The richness of the colors made the images three dimensional. We started to go to the left where David awaited, but decided we would save the masterpiece for last.

With each gallery of fine art my anticipation grew. I drank in the complexity of each portrait and imagined the environment centuries ago where the images first materialized. I have always been amazed by the dimension of the folds of the garments while looking at pictures of these paintings, but to see the depth, color, and clarity of the originals was truly breathtaking.

When it was finally time to enter the wing were David lived my heart rate increased. I would finally see the masterpiece I'd long to see!

Seeing David was more than checking off a bucket list item. It was an opportunity to connect with an artisan who had truly honed his craft. 

Several of Michaelangelos works lined the path to David. Each work exhibited how he practiced to achieve perfection of each body part. It's easy to admire a finished masterpiece and see the beauty and precision, but to truly understand the path the artist takes to get to the finished product generates much greater appreciation.

At the end of the gallery, the looming figure of David stood.

His 17 foot frame on a pedestal of approx. 8 ft literally took my breath away. With surprising emotion, I stood in awe at the base of this amazing work of art and absorbed every detail.

His toenails, the veins bulging from his right hand, forearm and bicep, the defined musculature of his thighs and abdomen, the curls of his hair, and the eyes.  

Those mesmerizing eyes seemed to see right through me. I stood for moments drinking in his splendor from every angle. I wanted to grasp his greatness with more of my senses. I wanted to touch the smooth stone, to be alone to admire in
quiet splendor but had to settle with
absorbing as much as possible with my eyes.

Knowing this wonder emerged through the hands of Michelangelo from a simple flawed block of marble added to my awe and appreciation. I fought the sting of tears for many reasons, but most importantly because I understood the dedication to craft that this statue represented.

Every artist whether it be through music, painting, sculpting, writing, or any other medium prays for an emotional response from their audience.

For 500 years David has never ceased to provoke that response. I pray that the marvel of what Michelangelo created is never taken for granted by future generations of people who are bombarded with visual imagery through the magic of advanced technology. Michelangelo used rudimentary tools, his hands and clear vision to create something tangible. Something that has long outlived its creator.  Which I believe is the driving force for all artists--to create something that touches lives long after they are gone.  

Michelangelo quotes,

"If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all. ”
- Michelangelo

Quite the opposite, knowing the hard work to achieve mastery is what makes it so wonderful.

"Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish.”
- Michelangelo

Yes, this is what keeps artists striving to be better, to learn more, to never give up.

On our walk back to the hotel, we spotted a charming restaurant among the merchants lining the streets. Near the Medici Chapel. Great lunch of Caprese Salad, Grilled Dory (fish), tiramisu, with Ruffino Chiati. And Lemoncello!  Met two gentlemen from Missouri who told us about the best of Tuscany tour. Will have to book. Fun time.
Enjoying a Caprese Salad for lunch

Egli รจ molto forte

One of MANY leather vendors

Later we visited the Uffizi Gallery. Many beautiful and priceless works of art by the masters of the Renaissance. To name a few: Flippo Lippi, Giotto, Raphael, Titian, Piero Della Francesca, Caravaggio. 

The most fames included Botticelli's Birth of Venus and 

Michelangelo's Doni Tondo, the only painting of his in Florence.

As beautiful as these works are, nothing brought the rush of emotion David had.

The Ponte Vecchio 

Strolled across the Ponte Vecchio. So many jewelry shops. The Medici family's Pitti Palace was built on the south side of the Arno River and each day they to cross the Ponte Vecchio to get to their offices in the Uffizi. The shops along the Ponte Vecchio were butcher shops. The smell offended their royal noses so it was decreed that only luxury shops and things pleasing to the eye could be located on the bridge. So from that time until now, the shops along the bridge are filled with gold and diamonds. 

This bridge is the only bridge to survive the attacks during WW II. 

On the Ponte Vecchio - Jewelry shops line both sides

Crossed the bridge and sat at a gelato shop had lemone flavored gelato which was quite refreshing.  Got lost on the way back to the hotel so we walked for awhile and had a great view of the town. By the time we returned to our room, we were BEAT. 

Along the Arno - The Ponte Vecchio in the far distance

The Ponte Santa Trinita

Selfie next to the Arno in Florence, Italy

The Arno River in Florence

Had dinner at Trattoria Katti. Good meal to end a good day. Tomorrow: The Best of Tuscany Tour. Can't wait to see Tuscany!!! 

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