After leaving the lovely island of Burano, we traveled to Firenze (‘Florence’ in English), known as the birthplace of the Renaissance. Florence is the capital of the Tuscany region of Italy.
We started our morning on August 9th with a visit to the Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze to see Michelangelo’s magnificent marble sculpture David which he created from 1501 to 1504. In my high school European history class, we had spent some time on art history, especially the Renaissance. We learned about the “three greats”: Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Rafael. It was amazing to feast my eyes on the works of art in Italy that I had learned about in school! David is just over five meters tall (17 feet) and is carved from a single block of marble. It is awe-inspiring to consider how one person could sculpt a simple block of marble into such an expressive and human-looking masterpiece.
The hero, David, is Goliath’s killer in the biblical story; however Michelangelo depicted David as a man, not a boy. The statue’s hands (holding a sling and a rock) are disproportionately large to focus on the power of humanity and to represent strength and determination. After admiring David, we took a walk through the Santa Croce Square which had a replica David in place of where the original sculpture stood for 400 years. This square was an open air museum with other replicas of world-famous sculptures.
We also enjoyed viewing the large Duomo (dome) of the Basicila di Santa Maria del Fiore, created by Filippo Brunelleschi, the Campanile de Giotto (Giotto’s Bell Tower), and Ghiberti’s Porte del Paradiso (Gates of Paradise doors) at the Florence Baptistery. So much history and art to enjoy in Florence!
After spending the morning surrounded by art, we took a quick stroll along the Arno River and then we were off to Rome!