Florence, my brief return to the Italian Renaissance birthplace

Florence, my brief return to the Italian Renaissance birthplace

Ah, Florence! It’s hot as hell and crowded too, but I don’t care because I love Florence! It’s great to be back in Italy, but even better…now that I’m coming to the end of my journey…to do so in the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance.

We didn’t get into Florence until late this afternoon, but Bonnie and I made the best of our time…and that began with a boat ride along the Arno River that Bonnie had arranged in advance. I’m always skeptical when it comes to boat rides, but this one was just wonderful. Here I am with Paolo, who uses a giant wood stick to push the boat…the same kind of boat that was used in the past. That’s the famous Florence landmark behind me, the Ponte Vecchio…which we very wonderfully sailed under. June 12, 2017
Our boat for the ride along the Arno River in Florence. I have to admit, I was expect something much bigger, but as it turned out, this was a slow and comfortable way to see Florence from its waters. June 12, 2017
It’s called the “Old Bridge” in Italian but this highly photographed medieval bridge is better known as Florence’s Ponte Vecchio. Butchers once occupied the shops of the bridge but its present tenants are jewelers, art dealers and souvenir sellers. June 12, 2017
Something I never anticipated seeing, what the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy, actually looks like from underneath. June 12, 2017
A close-up of one of the ornamental statues on the Ponte Santa Trinita in Florence, Italy. June 12, 2017
A close-up of the other ornamental statue on the Ponte Santa Trinita in Florence, Italy. June 12, 2017
The David, at least this outdoor bronze copy version of him, reigns over the panoramic hillside of Florence, Italy, at the Piazzale Michelangelo. The Piazzale is dedicated to the Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect and Florentine…Michelangelo Buonarroti…more commonly known by his first name of Michelangelo. The original David, which I plan to see, is safely housed in the Accademia Gallery in Florence. June 12, 2017
A close-up of The David, at least this outdoor bronze copy version of him, reigning over the panoramic hillside of Florence, Italy, at the Piazzale Michelangelo. June 12, 2017
Me at the Piazzale Michelangelo, catching a panoramic view of Florence, Italy, and waiting on the sun to set. June 12, 2017
The crowds of people at the Piazzale Michelangelo to see the sunset over Florence. This is my third trip to Florence and my first time at the Piazzale. June 12, 2017
Watching the sun setting over the Arno River and the beautiful Renaissance city of Florence in Italy. June 12, 2017
Watching the sun setting over the Arno River and the beautiful Renaissance city of Florence in Italy. June 12, 2017
After enjoying the sunset at the Piazzale Michelangelo, Bonnie and I found out that the Hotel Torre Guelfa Palazzo Aciaiuoli, our hotel, located in the heart of Florence, has a tower. So, here’s Bonnie, pretending to be asleep…even though we were both extremely tired…as we climbed those old wooden stairs to the top of the hotel tower. June 12, 2017
Me at the top of Hotel Torre Guelfa Palazzo Aciaiuoli, our hotel’s tower with the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, more commonly called the Duomo of Florence, all lit up in the background. A wonderful way to cap off our one and only night in Florence. Tomorrow we take a day tour to Florence to see and do as much as we can before we head to Rome. Night. Night. June 12, 2017

After a full day in Florence, Italy, at the Accademia and the Uffizi Galleries, and walking the streets of this vibrant city, I am happily exhausted. Back in Rome to leave for home tomorrow, I am still reeling in my whirlwind time in Florence.

The Renaissance city pulses with art, history and a creative zeal that absolutely captivates me and for just a moment in time, I got to mingle with the likes of Michelangelo, Botticelli, Giotto and Raphael…the masters of their crafts. I am humbled in the presence of their artistry which has grown to symbolize the essence of Florence.

My friend and travel mate, Bonnie, said it best, “the whole city of Florence is an open-air museum” because everywhere you turn, there’s art in the squares, art in the statues, art in the architecture, art in the streets.

For now, because exhaustion claims me and I am weak to its powers, I leave you with Michelangelo’s “The David.” The artist saw this Goliath slayer in the Carrera marble and carved away the inconsequential pieces to reveal this gorgeous hunk of man. Good-bye Italy…hello my beloved Texas, my home.

Michelangelo’s “The David” at the Accademia Gallery in Florence, Italy. June 13, 2014

Although Michelangelo’s “The David” and the Ponte Vecchio bridge always personify Florence, Italy, to me, there is obviously a plethora of art, history and architecture along with more Michelangelo and da Vinci to make Florence blossom.

So now that I’m back home in Dallas, Texas, rested and comfortably ensconced on my sofa, I just want to complete the tales of my Sicily, Italy and Malta-two months of travel with a nod to the end of my trip in Florence. Those last couple of days, just earlier this past week, in Florence were busy and tiring. But Florence deserves to be acknowledged and let me repeat this again, I love the look and feel of Florence. So, here’s Florence and the culmination of two months in Italy!

The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, the Duomo, is the city’s most iconic landmark dedicated to the Mother of Christ. Capped by Filippo Brunelleschi’s red-tiled cupola (dome), it’s pink, white and green marble facade and Giotto di Bondone’s graceful campanile (bell tower) dominate the medieval cityscape. The trio of buildings – Duomo, Campanile and Baptistery – makes this view, from the tower of the Hotel Torre Guelfa Palazzo Acciatiuoli, our hotel in Florence, a stunning architectural ensemble. June 12, 2017
The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is the main church of Florence, Italy. The Duomo was begun in 1296 in the Gothic style with the design of Arnolfo di Cambio and completed structurally in 1436. The facade of the cathedral, completed between 1880-1888, is faced with marble panels in shades of green and pink. The Campanile, or bell tower, begun in 1334, was completed in 1359. June 13, 2017
The south side of the pink, white and green marbled facade of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy, is capped by Filippo Brunelleschi’s red-tiled cupola (dome). June 13, 2017
The famous painter, Giotto, was the architect of the free-standing campanile or bell tower in Florence, Italy. The campanile, part of the complex of buildings that make up the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, was begun in 1334. When Giotto died in 1337, only the lower part of the campanile had been completed, then it was taken over by Andrea Pisano and after him, Francesco Talenti who completed the tower in 1359. June 13, 2017
Various sculptures in the niches of the facade of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy, includes Leonardo DaVinci…to the left. June 13, 2017
The statue of Mary and Jesus on the façade of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy, which is dedicated to the Mother of Christ. June 13, 2017
The vast and relatively bare Gothic interior of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy. June 13, 2017
Another view of the interior of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy. June 13, 2017
Since we could not get close to the dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy, I could photograph is this very small portion of the internal walls of the dome. This Giorgio Vasari’s fresco from the internal walls of the dome is of the Last Judgment frescoed between 1572 and 1579. June 13, 2017
The interior floor of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy, was relaid in marble tiles in the 16th century. June 13, 2017
The Baptistery of St. John next to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy, was constructed between 1059 and 1128 and was also recently restored and cleaned. June 13, 2017
The Gates of Paradise on the east entrance of the Baptistery of St. John is next to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy. The pair of gilded bronze doors were (1425–52) designed by the sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti and took 21 years from 1425 to 1452 to complete depicts the life of Christ from the New Testament. These are copies and the originals are in Florence’s Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. June 13, 2017
A close-up of one of the bronze panels on the Gates of Paradise on the east entrance of the Baptistery of St. John which is located next to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy. June 13, 2017
The busy and crowded Piazza della Repubblica, a city square in Florence, Italy. June 12, 2017
A merry-go-round at the busy and crowded Piazza della Repubblica, a city square in Florence, Italy. June 12, 2017
A view of the Uffizi Gallery as seen from the Arno River in Florence, Italy, is one of the most important Italian museums that holds a collection of priceless works, particularly from the period of the Italian Renaissance. June 12, 2017
The courtyard between the Uffizi Gallery’s two wings with a view towards the Arno River in Florence, Italy, displays the prime art works of the Medici collections. The niches on the wings alternate with columns of 28 statues of famous people from the worlds of politics, art, literature and science of the 19th century. June 13, 2017
The niches beneath the porticos of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, were originally designed purely as architectural features but by the first half of the 19th century were occupied by 28 statues of famous people from the worlds of politics, art, literature and science. This statue of Leonardo da Vinci was sculpted by Luigi Pampaloni. June 13, 2017
The niches beneath the porticos of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, were originally designed purely as architectural features but by the first half of the 19th century were occupied by 28 statues of famous people from the worlds of politics, art, literature and science. This statue of Michelangelo Buonarroti was sculpted by Emilio Santarelli. June 13, 2017
She’s the 18th century sculpture called the “Sleeping Ariadne” at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, and is considered the best of three replicas dating back to imperial times of a late 3rd century BC. The statue came to Florence in 1787 from the garden of the Villa Medici. It returned to the Uffizi in 2012, after having initially been displayed there from 1790 to 1794. June 13, 2017
The Holy Family (also known as the Doni Tondo or Doni Madonna), is considered to be the only finished painting by the mature Michelangelo Buonarroti to survive and hangs in its original frame at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. It features the Christian Holy family (the child Jesus, Mary, and Saint Joseph) along with John the Baptist in the foreground. June 13, 2017
The Annunciation, by the Italian Renaissance artists Leonardo da Vinci and Andrea del Verrocchio, dates from circa 1472–1475 and housed at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. June 13, 2017
The Birth of Venus painted by Sandro Botticelli between 1482 and 1485 has become a landmark 15th century Italian painting and portrays the naked Venus on a seashore shell and can be seen at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. June 13, 2017
The view of the Ponte Vecchio bridge and the Arno River in Florence, Italy, as seen from a window in the Uffizi Gallery. The Ponte Vecchio or “Old Bridge” is a medieval stone arch bridge noted for still having shops built along it, as was once common. Butchers initially occupied the shops; the present tenants are jewelers, art dealers and souvenir sellers. June 13, 2017
The Accademia Gallery, an art museum in Florence, Italy, is home to one of the most famous sculptures by the great Renaissance artist, Michelangelo….the David. This famous section of the museum is called the Hall of Prisoners, which not only displays the David under a circular skylight, but also displays Michelangelo’s unfinished statues called “Slaves” to the sides of the hall. June 13, 2017
Michelangelo’s the Bearded Slave (1530 to 1534) is an unfinished statue at the Accademia Gallery in Florence, Italy, reveals Michelangelo’s approach and concept of carving. Michelangelo believed the sculptor was a tool of God, not creating but simply revealing the powerful figures already contained in the marble and it was his task to chip away the excess, to reveal. June 13, 2017
Michelangelo’s the young slave (1530 to 1534) is an unfinished statue at the Accademia Gallery in Florence, Italy, reveals Michelangelo’s approach and concept of carving. June 13, 2017
This gorgeous hunk of man Carrera marble statue, the David, was created between 1501 and 1504 by Michelangelo is under a circular skylight at the end of the “Hall of Prisoners” in the Accademia Gallery in Florence, Italy. June 13, 2017
The beautiful head of the David by Michelangelo at the Accademia Gallery in Florence, Italy. June 13, 2017
In 1991, the foot of the David statue, housed in the Accademia Gallery in Florence, Italy, was damaged by a man with a hammer. Now, there is a plexiglass case surrounding the David to keep people from getting too close. June 13, 2017
The Fountain of Neptune behind scaffolds situated on the Piazza della Signoria and by the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy. The fountain, which was commissioned in 1565 is under restoration for the next two years with plans to unveil the newly restored and cleaned fountain on Dec. 10, 2018, the same day it was originally revealed in 1574. June 12, 2017
The open-air Renaissance sculpture gallery called the Loggia della Signoria is a building with wide arches on the corner of the Piazza della Signoria adjoining the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. June 12, 2017
The Palazzo Vecchio is the town hall of Florence, Italy, and it overlooks the Piazza della Signoria with its copy of Michelangelo’s David flanked by Baccio Bandinelli’s statue of Hercules and Cacus while adjacent to the gallery of statues at the Loggia dei Lanzi. Michelangelo’s David stood at the entrance from its completion in 1504 to 1873, when it was moved to the Accademia Gallery in Florence. A replica was erected in 1910 and stands in its place. June 12, 2017
The Palazzo Vecchio is the town hall of Florence, Italy, and it overlooks the Piazza della Signoria with its copy of Michelangelo’s David flanked by Baccio Bandinelli’s statue of Hercules and Cacus while adjacent to the gallery of statues at the Loggia dei Lanzi. June 12, 2017
One of Florence, Italy’s old and narrow streets. June 12, 2017
More archways in Florence, Italy. June 13, 2017
My last day in Italy included spending the day seeing Florence then taking the train to Rome where I spent my last night in Italy. And, for that last night, Bonnie and I enjoyed dinner at L’Antica Frashetta for its delicious Roman cuisine, lovely outdoor atmosphere and location…literally just across the street from the hotel we stayed in, Hotel Italia on Via Venezia in Rome. June 13, 2017
Me, enjoying my farewell dinner in Italy of grilled lamb and roasted potatoes at L’Antica Frashetta in Rome before leaving the next morning to come back home to Dallas. June 13, 2017

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