Let’s Do The Time Warp Again

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Mercury

Visiting Florence can seem like being in a time warp. You’re surrounded by the Renaissance in the museums, galleries, churches, and public places. We spent this morning following the Renaissance walking tour (from the Steves book and app again). The tour took us by the Bargello and we decided to stop in. This small museum was quiet and uncrowded, so it was a pleasant change from the streets full of tour groups. It contains a large courtyard, several Michelangelo sculptures on the ground floor and Donatello sculpture in the room above (add some Leonardo and Raphael and you have the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). There’s also a famous bronze statue of Mercury by Giambologna that made us think of flowers.

We also visited the Bapistry where we admired its bronze doors and ceiling mosaics, especially the Last Judgement where you can see Christ giving a thumbs up or thumbs down to the dead who wish to enter heaven. (Really! Look closely at the picture and check out the hands.)

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Last Judgement

The Orsanmichele Church was open so we walked in. This church was originally a granary and you can see signs of that in the design. Inside is a beautiful Gothic Tabernacle and the exterior of the church has niches in the walls where statues (two more Donatellos) are housed. After a long morning of walking, we decided to get some gelato and then return to our hotel for a rest.

For the evening’s entertainment we ventured outside of the touristy part of Venice to the Nelson Mandela Forum where it was truly time to do the Time Warp again. We saw a touring company perform the Rocky Horror Show and it was great fun. It was in English of course, except for an Italian speaking narrator who apparently was a local celebrity because he got a lot of applause as soon as he entered. We enjoyed this little break from the Renaissance and a time warp back to the 70s.

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Rocky Horror Show

 

And Today We Saw David

Our morning was spent packing, riding the train to Florence, and finding our hotel, but we still had the afternoon to wander around, get our Firenze pass, and visit a church and a museum.

The Duomo is a Gothic cathedral with a huge dome that can be seen all around town and makes a good landmark in a city of narrow winding streets. We found the Mercato Market where we had lunch and then walked through the Duomo to get a sense of its grandeur.

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Michelangelo’s David

From there we went to Accademia to see Michelangelo’s David. Our Firenze cards let us skip the long lines and walk right in. I expected the crowd to be huge but it wasn’t bad at all, and we were able to see this amazing statue up close and from all sides. This is truly a marvelous work that you cannot possibly appreciate from photos alone. You have to see it. I remember that the statue was attacked in the early 90s by a deranged  man with a hammer and a toe was broken (and repaired). Nowadays you can’t get that close because there are plexiglass panels all around it.

To get to David you pass by a series of incomplete statues know as the Prisoners. They are called this because Michelangelo believed he was freeing his sculptures from the stone in which God had imprisoned them. Because they are unfinished, they do appear to be emerging from huge blocks of marble.

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The bass of Paul’s dreams

Also in the Accademia there is a little bonus room, The Museum of Musical Instruments. This room holds mostly string instruments, including several Stradivarius violins. I got the feeling I sometimes have when I see animals in a zoo. Those violins should be played, not just looked at. Paul was enthralled by a double bass and asked if I would buy it for him, but I think we will remain a one-bass family for now.

Late last night, from our hotel room, we heard laughing, shouting, and chanting in the street below us. Apparently there was a football game (not American football, but the less barbaric game the rest of the world plays) between Rome and Florence. The Rome team won, but apparently some folks in Florence were quite happy about that. If I were younger, I might have gone out on the street to join them.