Sunday, May 22, 2005

Florence/Firenze (part 3 of 4)…

If you do not yet know where your staying in Florence yet, back in my 2001 trip I believe we stayed at Soggiorno Battistero, which is a small place conveniently located right in the middle of the city.

Obviously, while in your Florence you are going to want to go the Accademia to see Michelangelo’s David. Now I personally prefer Bernini’s David, which is sort of the “action shot” version (and which you can see for yourself in Rome), but you sort of have to see this. Inside the Accademia, you’ll also get to see Michelangelo’s unfinished Prisoners, which I actually like more than his David, but to each his own. With regard to the David, be warned – you are not allowed to take your own photographs and he is surrounded by glass (this was not the case when I went in 1998, but was the case by my return in 2001). You should also be warned that there will be long lines and much waiting to get into the Accademia. Of course, while you are waiting in line you can peruse all of the post cards, including the fan-favorite Penises of Italy card. I would wager that this postcard has been bought and sent out by more visiting Americans than any other single postcard found throughout the country.

If you head over to Palazzo Vecchio, which is a palace and former home of the Medici’s, you can see where the real David stood until 1873. Currently there is fake David in that spot, and some tourists mistakenly believe it’s the real one. Along with the original David in the Accademia and this fake David, there is an additional fake David, which is green, somewhere else in the city (I don’t recall where for sure, but I think it is up in the mountains near a big random outside flea market kind of thing). I mention this for no good reason.

More-or-less the center of Florence is the Duomo, which you should definitely go into, as it has some incredible frescoes on the dome, among other things. Also, next door to the Duomo is Giotto’s Tower, which you should go into and climb up. Now it’s a lot of stairs to climb, and it is an absolute dog of an ascent (there are at least two times when you think you’re done and sadly realize there’s more you can climb to), but it provides you with an awesome view of the whole city.

Also in this same area is the Baptistery of St. John, an octagon building that has these big incredible bronze doors (the doors face the Duomo).

I’ll bring up Dali again because both times I was in Florence there was a Dali exhibit at Piazza Pitti 15. It had a very temporary feel to it, but considering it was there from at least 1998 through 2001, it could still be there. As with the Venice Dali exhibit, if you are into his stuff, there is some great shit here.

Although I’ve been to Florence twice, I’m not sure that I have ever actually been to the Uffizi Gallery, but it has lots of Italian greats, including Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, so if you’re in an art mood, this is probably a good stop-off. Be warned though – they apparently limit the number of people that can go in at any one time, so you may have a solid wait in front of you.

My favorite thing in Florence has to be the Boboli Gardens, which are absolutely amazing. Give yourself plenty of time to wander throughout the gardens, enjoying the various paths, views, fountains, etc. You’ll also find some great views of the city and the mountains (the mountain view makes a great background for a photo).

Finally, while I have never been to Pisa, it is only about an hour away, so if you want to go see that leaning tower thinger and take a picture where you pretend to be holding it up, it would be relatively easy to get there from Florence.


At 8:28 AM, Blogger EmoRiot said...

There's also a fake David at the Royal Museum in London, England... so if you want to do a whole fake David tour of Europe, you could. Anyone else know of fake david's?

At 10:38 AM, Blogger Bug said...

Are you sure you're talking about the fake at the Royal Museum in London? Or do you mean the fake at the Cast Courts in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London?

That's the only one I know of there. Wouldn't want to send people to the wrong location.

At 9:14 PM, Blogger rooni said...

Oh man, I went to the Uffizi. I love Botticelli, and I highly recommend it. It's a huge gallery, but it's gorgeous and well worth it. I didn't have to wait at all (..unlike stupid Paris and the stupid Louvre.)

Definitely get a good view of Ponte Vecchio.

I want to go back to Florence. This post makes me jealous! =)


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