I liked Florence, right away.
The people were beautiful and fashionable but still practical and kind. The shops were fun and the wonderful old world culture was everywhere. The museums were impressive and looming over everything was the majestic Il Duomo. Rather than go on to Pisa, per our original plans, we decided to spend an extra day in Florence just hanging out and spending more time in the small picturesque town.
The first order of business was the Academy Gallery which is mostly known for hosting the David. I know you’ve heard this before – but that statue has to be seen in person. I’ve seen a million photos of it and I didn’t “get” it until I turned a corner and saw it at the end of a hallway. It’s huge and the way Michelangelo manipulated its size as it gets higher, for scaling reasons, has to be seen in person to appreciate. I always thought it was snobby when people said that but now I understand.
I bought a copy of this painting (based on Bonaventure’s Tree of Life meditation) at the Academy Gallery. My wife bought a refrigerator magnet with a picture of the David that came with removable boxer shorts.
A beautiful church in town had the body of Saint Juliana Falconieri, founderess of the Servites, on display. (She died in 1341) It’s not unusual to find bodies of saints on display in Italian churches. In case you are wondering, that’s not her face – it’s a mask, which is obvious in better pictures.
A fresco from the same church. It wrapped all the way around the large entrance and this is only one small corner of it. You see so much art like this in Italy that you quickly forget to notice how amazing each thing is.
Clams. Mussels. Scallops. Fish parts. Best. Pizza. Ever.
The Republic Plaza is amazing. This band played great jazz while we ate at a picturesque outdoor restaurant and watched children on the carousel.
We were told that this instrument was made from a hollowed out piano and tuned like a dulcimer.
The bass player danced while he played and got some of the crowd to follow him.
The Florence Cathedral watches you from almost every part of town.
(It’s easy to take good pictures when brilliant architects have done all of the difficult work. And it’s a bright day.)
Local kids were always hanging out at medieval churches and monuments. It’s odd to see them grow up with the very structures I spend my time studying.
This happy fellow played songs for us while we ate a nice dinner.
The food was excellent all over town.
At night the restaurants filled the streets with their tables and the town relaxed under the city lights. Bands played music for lovers and clowns entertained children in the most enjoyable town I have ever visited.
Entire Florence album is here