Friday, January 18, 2013

Firenze {Florence}

It makes no sense to me that town names change from language to language. If the Italians call Florence, Firenze, then shouldn't we all? It sure would be less confusing for everyone! I know bilingual people everywhere would think this is a crazy theory... But it kind of drives me nuts that city and country names aren't universal. Maybe that's just because I am still struggling to learn Italian! :)

Enough of that...

When Jess was visiting, our big trip was a train ride to Florence during the weekend - and then the girls headed on to Rome for a few days. Cole went back to Como for work. I was a little nervous about "doing" Rome with just Eva and Jess, but it wound up going very smoothly and being a great experience! More about Rome later...

Florence was beautiful! We scheduled a tour guide to show us the Uffizi Gallery, Accademia (home to Michaelangelo's David), Pointe Vecchio (a famous bridge), the Duomo (cathedral), Baptistery and surrounding area, as well as several other popular squares. We definitely don't love art enough to fully appreciate the many sculptures and paintings we saw during our stay... but we learned a lot and are definitely gaining more of an appreciation for all of the incredible artwork. Having a tour guide was extremely helpful. She was able to point out which paintings were most famous and recognizable during our time in the Uffizi... We could have been there for days! It's enormous!

Piazza del Duomo - Cathedral Square
The Baptistre's famous golden doors. The Door of Paradise.
Another shot of the Duomo...
Interior of Duomo - interesting geometric patterns on the floors throughout.

The bronze boar in Mercato Nuovo has a shiny snout because it's lucky to rub his schnauz.
Outdoor art gallery at Piazza della Signoria. These sculptures are all originals! Amazing!
After a long day of sight-seeing, Eva was a happy girl! 
... and Cole was happy, too! He was about to eat the best steak ever at Perseus.
A view of Pointe Vecchio from the Uffizi Gallery. The terra cotta roof is a private passageway the Medici family built.
Pointe Vecchio is the oldest bridge in Florence - and the only bridge that survived WWII. It's said that Hitler's orders actually saved this bridge, which is a busy, busy place - covered with jewelry shops and lots of tourists today!

The highlight of Florence for me was getting to see Michaelangelo's David sculpture. Our guide really made that part of the experience incredible - she sort of prepared us for the sculpture by speaking about Michaelangelo's life and his belief that each piece of stone was divinely inspired and that he, as an artist, was God's tool for helping the creation to come alive. We weren't able to take photos of the statue, but it was absolutely incredible - so detailed and intricate. I'll never forget turning the corner and seeing the David sculpture under spotlights! It was definitely a "wow" moment for all of us.