Sunday, August 13, 2017

Trip to Florence, Tuscany, Italy (July 2017)

We have been to Florence before. But this artistic bustling city is never boring. It is full of things to do and stuffs to see.

Florence was a regional power of the medieval times, thanks mainly to the Medici family. The Medici family started by Cosimo de Medici, a banker and a politician, ruled Florence during almost all the Italian renaissance. The family sponsored a lot of art projects that could not have materialized without their support.

Florence's arch rival in the region was Siena, but Florence thrived and many times overpowered other surrounding towns and villages as the Medici family provided wealth and power for the city state of Florence.

There are several iconic landmarks of Florence.

The first is the Statue of David. Its facial expression of confidence against Goliath was the source of price for the people of Florence as sculptured by Michelangelo. His statue is at several places, We saw one standing in front of Palazzo Vecchino. Another statue next to David's is of Hercules. David stands for faith and Hercules stands for power.

Another landmark is Ponte Vecchio. It is an interesting bridge with shops on the bridge. In fact the upper part of the bridge was an elevated corridor for the royal family to move from one palace to another cross the river without being noticed by anyone. This style of bridge is unique and the Rialto Bridge in Venice is the same kind. Now, the shops on the bridge are selling primarily jewelry. This place is notorious for pick-pocketing due mainly to the crowd. Kristin got her purse almost picked but her sensitivity detected something suspicious and a woman was trying to open Kristin's purse. Thank goodness.

Florence Cathedral is another landmark, along with the bell tower and the baptistery. The cathedral's original name is Cathedral de Santa Maria Fiore. The cathedral has two domes. The scale is so gigantic that no one can take the photos of the cathedral with a complete angle. The entire area was packed with tourists and it was nonsense to be around such a crowd.  The bell tower was built with white marbles, shining under the sun.

Venchi is one of the famous gelato shops. We tasted its gelato.

AT a small shopping district, there is a bronze statue of boar. People put their coin on top of the boar's tongue or touch the nose of the boar, all wishing their luck. The boar's shiny nose indicates people's futile desire for luck.

There are several interesting museums but the line to get into any of them was virtually impossible. The crowd in the following picture was all who have no-line pass to enter one of the museums. Next time.

So we explored Basilica of St. Lorenzo and its museum. The church interior was quite interesting with a lot of huge paintings. The most interesting painting was child Jesus practicing carpentry under his faith Joseph's coaching. In the background, a cross appears with a board and its shade.

The museum was small but contained quite a number of relics and paintings. Another painting exhibition was taking place inside the museum but the painting style was somewhat creepy.

We checked out the central market and ended up buying one leather bag pack for myself. There ware a lot of leather products claiming to be Made in Italy. The fruits and vegetables were fresh and colorful.

You can never master the City of Florence. The city is a gold mine that has unlimited amount of gold to be excavated. If we decide to come again, we will definitely come during the shoulder season. The crowd was unbearable. But, we still enjoyed our visit to this birthplace of Italian Renaissance. - Jeffrey

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