Tanya has made sure that we do not miss out on seeing Michelangelo’s David by getting tickets with the same company we visited the Vatican with as this was such a good experience. We awake to solid rain and wonder if they will still run the tour. In our excitement we leave the umbrella behind and are rather soaked before we come across the first umbrella shop. Tanya picks the pink version and then a blue poncho, we look so cute.
Our guide is a little late but turns out to be a very fun and knowledgeable woman in her 60’s with a lot of sass. There are 21 in our group, we get the personalized radios and we enter the Galleria dell’Accademia, a brief metal detector check and the tour begins.
We learn that David was carved out of a single piece of marble rejected by two earlier sculptors, lying idle in a courtyard for 40 years. Michelangelo had become a protégée of the Medici family when he was discovered carving at the age of 13. David was commissioned in 1501, when Michelangelo was a mere 26 years old for this work and it took him three years to complete.
Our guide really brings the sculpture alive describing the intent conveyed by the sculpture of David, a young man reaching deep beyond his fear to tackle the greatest challenge he will ever face and choosing to take the challenge on. With that we can really see the determination in his eyes, the anatomical detail in all the muscles, the tension and the readiness to succeed.
Of course there are other sculptures even of Michelangelo and many paintings but certainly this 5m , 50 ton sculpture captures the imagination. We now have two more hours of history wandering the narrow streets of Florence mostly in the rain but every minute well worth it.
Despite the rain , there are lots of people around. We visit the Medici family home, where yesterday we had two performers singing David Bowie songs taking advantage of the acoustics. There is currently an exhibition in Florence dedicated to David Bowie.
It is hard to believe that some of the stone foundations of buildings we pass are the very same that Leonardo de Vinci and Michelangelo would have been walking by.
We come across some beautiful door knockers again, capturing André’s attention.
The tour finishes at the Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Europe still lined with jewelry stores just like in the Middle Ages.
It is definately time for lunch and Tanya spies a cute little place with an interesting menu. The special is an awesome ravioli with cream sauce, pecorino and radicchio.
Tanya picks a spinach ricotta ball the size of an arancini but this has no rice, both really delicious. I go for a yummy pear, pine nut salad and rocket salad.
We are now ready for more exploring, and bingo we hit the right bag store. Tanya is completely content with her choice but you will have to wait till she gets home to see it.
We have been told that there is a must see church, that is much grander inside than the Duomo and that is the Church of Santa Croce, a quick line up for tickets and we are in complete awe.
It only has a facade like the Duomo but inside it is huge with a multitude of chapels, a sacristy and many additions by the wealthy Medici’s over the centuries.
The collection of art is incredible with magnificent frescos lining the walls. It also housed a large monastery with grounds for gardens and a number of courtyards.
We take a long time to visit just to appreciate it all.
Some of the works were badly damaged in the floods in 1966 and required massive restoration works and a lot of donated money. You can see that it would have taken a lot of expertise for the restorations.
Fairly pooped we get home to finish off some nice cheese and crackers we bought and a glass of the local wine for André and Tanya.