I’m in love and his name is David. We began our first full day in Florence by touring the Galleria dell’Accademia, with Michelangelo’s most famous work – the statue of David. I didn’t expect to be as moved as I was by this beautiful work of art. It literally brought tears to my eyes. My only regret is not being able to capture this, as photography is strictly prohibited in this museum.
We were also intrigued by the four “statues of the slaves” by Michelangelo in the hall leading up to David – all works that were never completed but show his artistry and craftsmanship in various stages. Four huge, single blocks of Carrara marble in the process of being transformed into human form/likeness but frozen in time and never finished. Incredible. Mark said he appreciated David more after seeing these four unfinished works.
We also enjoyed the history behind several of the paintings hanging in the initial gallery, as well as the musical instrument gallery. There we saw a tenor viola by Antonio Stradivari; the museum claims this is the only one in the world in its original state with no modifications made. It was beautiful.
Another important work of art in the Accademia is the plaster cast of Gaimbologna’s Rape of the Sabine Women, considered a technical masterpiece due to its 360 degree point of view and movement. The actual marble statue is on display in the Loggia della Signoria – right next to the Palazzo Vecchio (I was able to photograph this one!).
A replica of David also stands at the entrance to the palace. While still impressive, it doesn't compare to seeing the original.
We spent the early afternoon enjoying the Mercato Centrale - where there are dozens of stalls of fresh produce, meat, fish, pasta, cheese, nuts, wine, etc.! It was a culinary delight walking through and sampling many of the items.
We then walked through the leather market in Piazza de San Lorenzo, quickly overwhelmed by it all!
We spent the remainder of the afternoon taking a lovely stroll around the city, across the Ponte Vecchio and around the Pitti Palace. We ran out of time today, so the Duomo and Santa Croce Church are on our list for tomorrow.
Our last evening in Florence was capped with the best meal we've had to-date in Italy at a lovely restaurant recommended by our friends, Amy & French (who have been to Italy so many times they should have dual citizenship!). La Giostra was divine - from the carpaccio of egglant, tomato, zucchini and pecorino, to the ravioli with brie and pears and cabreto chops with fried zucchini flowers and artichokes. Every bite was delicious!
The last stop of our journey is Venice - we should arrive just in time to see the sun setting over the city. Can't wait!
PS> I had a nightmare last night that I tripped and accidentally knocked over the statue of David. I seriously did! We're blaming this on too much gelato!