November 14, 2015 – Florence

Firenze (Florence)…how to describe it?

In a word…indescribable.

In a few…extraordinarily beautiful.  Ancient and modern at the same time.  Cultured.  Birthplace of the Renaissance.  Full of art…seriously, go open a book containing pieces of art…99% chance you’ll see something from Florence.  More than anyone could possibly hope to see in a lifetime (however, Brittany and I tried to get as much in as possible in a day).

Where to begin?  We had a list of things we want to see while here, and Florence was definitely on the list, but other places seemed a bit more pressing…Venice, Rome, and the Vatican City just to name a few…but what we are finding is that every city is uniquely beautiful.  Bologna is a medieval city…everything you see is ancient.  Venice is the city of water…it has a magical, unearthly feel to it.  Florence…well, Florence is everything you hope Italy will be.

Really, the only thing I know to do here is add photos, and then try and detail them as much as possibly…so here goes.  Our first stop, Galleria dell’Accademia.

(Just a reminder…clicking on an image will open a larger version of the image in a new webpage.)

Galleria dell’Accademia:

If you didn’t know, Galleria dell’Accademia houses a pretty famous statue, but we’ll get to him in a minute.

Title:  Ratto delle Sabine (Rape of the Sabines)

Artist:  Giambologna (Jean de Boulogne)

Date:  1582

Info:  This is a plaster model of the piece created by Giambologna.  The original is in the Loggia die Lanzi, which is also in Florence.

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Title:  Saint Mary Magdalene; Saint John the Baptist

Artist:  Lippi

Date:  1496


Then you walk into the second room…and lo and behold, don’t you know this guy’s name…Michelangelo…


Title: St. Matthew

Artist:  Michelangelo

Date: 1506


Title:  Bearded Slave

Artist: Michelangelo

Date: around 1525-1530

Info:  Marble.  “The Hall of the Prisoners takes its name from the four large sculptures showing male nudes known as the Slaves or Prisoners or Captives. They were begun by Michelangelo for a grandiose project for the tomb of Pope Julius II della Rovere. The first commission dates back to 1505, before the assignment of the Sistine Chapel (1508), and it was meant to be the most magnificent tomb of Christian times, composed by more than 40 figures. The four Prisoners were carved for the pillars on the lower level of the tomb, intended for the grand Basilica of St. Peter’s in Rome. Michelangelo spent months in the Carrara quarries to personally select the brightest marble he likes necessary, marking each selected block with three circles. Due to a mounting shortage of money, the pope ordered him to put aside the tomb project in 1506.  The original design was later scaled down to less grandiose proportions after the pope’s death in 1513, then in 1521 and eventually again in 1534, when the Prisoners were no longer part of the project and thus remained in Florence.” (


Two other pieces from the Slave or Prisoners or Captives series can be found on our trip to the Louvre in Paris.

Artist:  Michelangelo

Title: Pietà di Palestrina

Date: circa 1555

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And of course…this guy…

Title:  David

Artist:  Michelangelo

Date:  1502-1504

Info:  From the placard at the museum: “In 1873, Michelangelo’s statue was brought here to the Tribune of the Galleria, built expressly for it and, only in 1908, was it substituted in Piazza Signoria by the marble copy still there today.  The bronze copy found in Piazzale Michelangelo overlooking Florence was done in 1866.”  We went to see both copies as well.


It’s stunning to turn a corner and see this iconic work for the first time.  I was excited to see David, but I had no idea how utterly remarkable it would be up close.  The detail is exquisite.  We really could have stood looking at this piece all day.


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These are not, by any means, all the pictures we took.  I dedicated a whole post to display every angle we could possibly get.  To view it, click Michelangelo’s David.


Title:  Santa Barbara

Artist:  Giorgio Vasari

Date:  ~1550-1560



Title:  Allegory of Fortitude

Artist:  Tommaso Manzuoli detto Maso de San Friano

Date:  ~1560-1562


Title:  Annunciation 

Artist:  Alessandro Allori

Date:  1578-1579


And then you walk into this room.  The only thought that kept running through my mind was this…an art class could spend several semesters in this room and still never break the surface on everything they were seeing.

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it was like the museum thought, “We’ve got David on display, what should we do with all these other statues?  Ah, just put them in the back.”

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It was kind of overwhelming…



And it was difficult to capture the placard of everything being seen.  Luckily, I did manage to snap a few.

Title:  Monument to Sofia Zamoyska

Artist:  Lorenzo Bartolini

Date:  1837-1844



Title:  Maddalena penitente (Penitent Magalene)

Artist:  Luigi Pampaloni

Date:  After 1847


Title:  Monument to Leon Battista Alberti

Artist:  Lorenzo Bartolini

Date:  After 1838-1848


Title:  Fanciullo che scherza con cane (Boy with a Dog)

Artist:  Luigi Pampaloni

Date: 1827


Title:  Baccante (Dirce)

Artist:  Lorenzo Bartolini

Date:  ~ 1823


Then we entered a room of mostly Byzantine art.

Title:  Repentant Magdalene and Eight Stories of Her Life

Artist:  Maestro della Maddalena

Date:  1280-1285


Title:  Tree of Life

Artist:  Pacino di Bonaguida

Date:  ~1310-1315


Title:  Busto reliquiario della beata Umiliana de’ Cerchi (Reliquary Bust of the Blessed Umiliana de’ Cerchi)

Artist:  Florentine Goldsmith

Date:  1380


Title:  Saint Anges; Saint Bomitilla

Artist:  Andrea Bonaiuti

Date:  1365-1370


Title:  Massacre of the Innocents, Adoration of the Magi, Flight into Egypt

Artist:  Bottega di Jacopo di Cione

Date:  1375-1385

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Title:  Virgin of Humility between Two Angels and Saints Peter, John the Baptist, a Female Saint and St. Stephen

Artist:  Piero di Giovanni detto Lorenzo Monaco

Date:  1385-1390


We left the Galleria dell’Accademia and headed toward our next destination…

Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore and Baptistery of St. John:

The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flowers is truly remarkable.  Its facade of green, pink, and white can be viewed from every angle as you walk around the church.


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And it seems like every few feet there is another ornate statue.


Building of the church began in 1296 and wasn’t fully completed until 1436.



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It was so nice we had to see it in the dark.

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Just a bit away from the church is the Piazza della Signoria, which is the original home of Michelangelo’s David.  Now it houses a copy, as well as several other monuments and attractions.

Palazzo Vecchio:


Fountain of Neptune:




Judith and Holofernes:  (copy of a Donatello statue that resides inside of the Palazzo Vecchio.)


Pluto and Proserpina:


Hercules and Cacus:


David:  (a copy of the original by Michelangelo.  On this day it was decorated to honor those who had perished during the attacks on Paris the night before.)

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The Loggia dei Lanzi is also in the piazza:

Loggia dei Lanzi:



Contained under the portico are:

Title:  Lion 

Artist:  Flaminio Vacca

Date:  1594-1598

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Title:  Perseus 

Artist:  Benvenuto Cellini

Date:  1545-1554


Title:  Rape of the Sabine Women 

Artist:  Giambologna

Date:  1581-1583

Info: The model for this was what we saw at the Galleria dell’Accadamia.


Title:  The Rape of Polyxena

Artist:  Pio Fedi

Date:  1860-1865


Title:  Hercules and the Centaur

Artist:  Giambologna

Date:  1549-1599

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Title:  Sabine

Date:  Early 2nd Century


Title:  Menelaus Holding the Body of Patroclus

Date:  Flavian Era


Between the Palazzo Vecchio and Loggia die Lanzi was the Piazzale degli Uffizi.

Construction was being done to the outside of the building, so this photo only contains half of the view, but the Galleria degli Uffizi (a museum) literally runs through each floor of this building.  We eventually got tickets into the museum, but there are way too many rooms for this post so it has its own.  To view the post with pictures from the museum, click Galleria degli Uffizi.


Before going into the museum, we got a spectacular view of Florence.

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We didn’t realize the Uffizi had over 100 rooms of artwork, so a good portion of our day was spent there…and we didn’t even come close to seeing everything the museum had to offer.  There’s literally no way of seeing it all in a day…probably not even in a week, or a month, or a year, or even a lifetime.  So much wonderful art…


But after leaving the museum, we were greeted with another fantastic view of the city.

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We slowly made our way across the bridge and up to Piazzale Michelangelo, which is home to the bronze copy of David.  It sets on a hill overlooking the city.



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Overall, Brittany and I agreed that this has been our favorite visit…so far.  And we will be back…oh yes…we will be back.



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