04.11.2015 - 04.11.2015 18 °C
Today was the day to finally make it inside Palazzo Vecchio, which sits on the edge of Piazza Signoria with its multitude of restaurants and statues. The palace was used by the Medici family before they moved away from the rabble into the Pitti Palace across the other side of the Arno. The Palazzo is now a museum for works of art and religion, and is one of Florence's foremost museums - not only because of the items it holds, but because of the building itself.
And its interiors:
It's yet another place where you have to remember to look up. The ceilings are all different, and either elaborately moulded or painted - or both. Here are (quite) a few:
You may recall that outside the Palazzo Vecchio is this sculpture by Jeff Koons, a modern-day sculptor.
He's also lucky / respected enough to have a piece inside (to great controversy), which combines his signature coloured stainless steel with very white plaster. It's called 'Gazing Ball (Barberini Faun)', and it's a combination of a plaster cast of a well-known sculpture from Greco-Roman times, with the addition of a 'gazing ball' on one knee. As you can see, it's slightly pornographic, but as this is the view I got when I walked through the door into this room, I figured you should also see it in all its naked, er, glory!
I did really like the - there's only one way to say this... blue ball!
Here's a couple of other angles
It's easy to get annoyed with being 'followed' by a large group of Chinese tourists on a tour when you're in a museum or gallery. They tend to be really rude & push past - and get in the way of photos. Plus the constant talking of their tour guide really ruins the artistic mood. It seems that no matter how fast or slow you go, you always cross paths with them.
Also in the Palazzo Vecchio is a gallery with paintings and maps from Florence's old days. It's fantastic to see an installation that isn't based in religion for a change, and I did enjoy figuring out where everything was on this map!
These massive keys were from the old gates in the city wall, when it was intact. The guards had to unlock them every morning and lock them every night to keep out who-knows-who.
I've decided to give the last two Italian language lessons a miss. The change in teacher this week has made a huge difference to the enjoyability of the classes - she speaks way too quickly and very loudly, which makes it hard to follow her, or concentrate on the information. Since it's only two more lessons, I don't feel I'm missing much, because I've learned the most important grammar at this stage, so it's just vocabulary and practice now, really. A few of my classmates have given up for the same reason!
I'm going to make good use of the time though. Tomorrow I'm off on a tour to Siena, Paenza, Montalcino and Montepulciano - for wine, cheese and vistas - and some more architecture and churches, no doubt! Should be a lovely day.