Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The David

Today was full of surprises.

Last night after our big dinner out, we returned to the hotel to find out from Paulo that, "From 11pm to 4:30am, there will be no water. There is a problem and all of Florence will have the water turned off." Kate woke at 4am with a groggy series of thoughts. I will summarize here. 

The water is supposed to be off. It is raining outside. Oh, those poor plumbers who have to be out in the rain fixing the problem. Those Italian Plumbers. Mario and Luigi. 

Pretty funny stuff.

After breakfast at the hotel, we were in for our second and much better surprise. The Accademia Gallery of Florence that we had booked tickets to was 1 block away from our hotel. Yay! Super close.

We skipped the lines, wondering if it would be hard to find the main attraction of the gallery. We entered, turned into the first room on the left and there he was.

Michelangelo's David. I am a fan of sculptures, as you may remember from my blog about the Louvre, so I was in the zone with this one. 

First of all, The David is MUCH bigger than I was expecting. It is 4.3m (14.2ft) tall and that's without the base. The guy standing in front of the sculpture in my above photo was probably 6'4", so when you're looking up at The David, you are looking UP at it.

I took a very slow walk around David, taking pictures from every angle. I can't describe how much I loved it. So life like, Kate said when you stare at the ribs, you expect to see him take a breath.

I walked around the museum some, but ended up grabbing a seat and staring at every inch of the sculpture for something like 20 minutes. I was amazed by Michelangelo's ability to take a giant marble slab and turn it into this man. Fleshy and soft in spots, hard and bony in others. The musculature and veins, the curls in his hair. How delicate must the work have been for such a hard medium. I teared up at one point from the sheer magnificence of it. Here are pictures from every angle. 






After the Accademia Gallery, we had lunch at Trattoria Mario again. I ordered the Ravioli with Zucchini. Kate ordered the steak with potatoes (Fries). Both were incredible. If you ever come to Florence, go to Trattoria Mario. Get anything. It's all very good.

After lunch we went for a great long walk. The first thing we did was drop off some extraneous things at the hotel (sweaters, etc) and took off from there. So, we go to the end of our street in a direction we hadn't walked before, it was only two blocks and at the same time were stunned by what we found. The Florence Cathedral, aka The Florence Duomo.

Then we head to the Arno River and walked across Ponte Vecchio

The river
Ponte Vecchio
Our goal was to reach Piazzale Michelangelo. Up until this point, all of Florence was much smaller than expected. The Duomo was one block away, the river was like three more blocks, the bridge was close and then, once we crossed the bridge, the terrain changed. The streets became cobbled (hard on the calves, ankles, etc). Then there was a hill. When we made it to the top of the hill, we were rewarded with stairs. Long in length, short in height. Awkward to ascend. Then these stairs turned into regular stairs. To give you an idea, Kate's fitbit said she walked something like 22 flights of stairs today (and 5 miles). We worked and walked and swore and sweat and at the summit reaped our reward - a gorgeous view.

Panoramic view of Florence (photo by Kate)
And then we took a taxi back to the hotel. 

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