A Travellerspoint blog

Days 23-25

sunny 18 °C
View Florence on judesbucketlist's travel map.

Yes, it's three days' worth, but mostly photos!

Sunday

Not much planned for this day since Saturday was such a big day at Lucca and Pisa. I decided to take a walk to the east this time, along the Arno and came across these gorgeous beasts on the way:
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Believe it or not, there's kind of a beach up river where it looks like they've shipped some sand. Not sure why!
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The wall along the river's edge is lined with Africans selling fake designer bags. Don't know why they've chosen there particularly, as there aren't many people walking that way, away from the Ponte Vecchio and Florence's main drag. Perhaps the cops leave them alone down there.

There's a green belt up river too, which looks great from a distance
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But not so great up close!
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Don't think I'd be keen to be hanging around there at night.

Walking back as the sun was lower made for a nice view:
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There are quite few hotels overlooking the Arno up that way, they'll be pretty expensive, though not as much as more central hotels. The Ritz sure ain't what it used to be though!
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Monday

With less than 2 weeks to go before I leave, I've decided to make a concerted effort to check out the places and sights I haven't caught up on to date.

A few people have told me to go the central market - Mercato Centrale - and have lunch, so this was a good opportunity. It's not far from the school so I went straight after the lesson. Outside there are a huge number of barrow stalls, selling bags, jackets, scarves, belts and so on. Inside, there's every conceivable food stall - butchers, bakers (didn't see a candlestick maker!), fruit & veges, pasta, dried beans, olive oil, and more!

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Outside Mercato Centrale building

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Upstairs is a very big "food hall" with some top notch cooking - it's themed so there's a pasta place, pizza, cheese specialist, meats, etc. I had a pasta dish which was pretty good.

Last time I was here, 4 years ago, I went into the Duomo Cathedral so I didn't want to bother queuing for that again. However, I never went into the baptistery - the Battisteria di San Giovanni - right next to the cathedral, or the museum - Museo dell'Opera. So that was my mission for Monday 2nd.

Before I went in, I had read about a marble circle on the piazza next to the Duomo. It's the spot where the gold ball from the top of the dome landed after it was hit by lightning in 1600 and rolled down the roof. And here it is (a tough shot to get both the ball on the roof and the spot on the ground, with cars parked in the way!).

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The museum contains items - mostly sculptural - removed from the baptistery and the cathedral for safekeeping or which have been replaced by other pieces. It's a very modern, clean facility, with the pieces set out aesthetically and very particularly. I found it pretty soulless, but they've treated the pieces with respect, with numerous salons and rooms arranged throughout the building (where Michelangelo and Brunelleschi both worked at some point). Here's a smattering of photos from the museum:

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This is Michelangelo's final Pieta, which he sculpted in his 70s. He became angry with the faults in the marble and smashed it up - a sculpture student put it back together and completed it some years later, after his death.
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This Silver Altar is a real show-stopper, in its own glass case on a stage in a room with special lighting. It's truly gorgeous, and had numerous contributors between 1367-1483.
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There's a "model room" where they demonstrate how the dome of the Duomo was constructed, including showing a video (which I didn't stay for)
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On the top floor, is a terrace with a more close-up view of the dome than I've had so far:
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Again, it would be wonderful if it was cleaned!

I mentioned the other day that they have finally removed the scaffolding from the Baptistery, and it's much cleaner than the cathedral because the Pope's coming on Tuesday. Inside, the building is a riot of mosaics - both on the floor and the ceiling!

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This is what you're greeted with when you walk in the door

Then you look up...
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And across...
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And around...
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At some point, you do manage to lift your chin off the floor, but it is awe-inspiring, when you realise that ceiling is covered in mosaic tiles, not painted! The walls are just striped marble from the outside, which would normally be pretty amazing in itself, but it pales in comparison to the ceiling, believe me!

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Tuesday

I've been seeing the advertising all over the city for Bellezza Divina (Divine Beauty), an art exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi, including a Van Gogh from the Vatican Museum.

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Atrium, Palazzo Strozzi

Here are a few pieces from the exhibition:

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Adolfo Wildt, Mary Gives Birth to 3 Christian Children

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Maurice Denis, Annunciation at Fiesole - I took this because I was standing pretty much in that spot when I went to Fiesole!

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Crucifixion, Primo Conti - to the left is a Picasso, also of the crucifixion. I went to take a photo of it, but one of the staff stopped me as it's the one piece in the entire exhibition that you're not allowed to photograph. So I took this one, then cropped it and here it is:

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Haha! Showed them didn't I?

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Van Gogh, Pieta

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Is it just me, or does this view out the Palazzo Strozzi windows look like a Minion is standing there? Teehee!

Afterwards, I just wandered some more (I'm getting good at that!).

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Another gorgeous entrance

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Wheel-jacked, and it's not even West Auckland! Shows that locking your bike frame to a post may not be the solution to thievery!!

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Remember Michele's shop from a few days back - or was it a couple of weeks ago? This is what it looks like when it's closed. So he does bring almost everything in and out each day! It still looks great with the garlic hanging over the door, I reckon.

Posted by judesbucketlist 20:59 Archived in Italy Tagged art paintings italy florence tuscany baptistry duomo_museum

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Great pix Judy throughly enjoyed the trip through Florence today!

by Brenda

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