Friday, January 4, 2008

Florence Day 3 - The Lesser Known Museums

Donatello's Mary Magdelene (probably one of our most favorite statues).
Me enjoying some yummy Gelato!

Jon and I were kind of wishing when we woke up that we had spent two days in Florence and used this day to have an extra day in Rome, which we just loved sooo much! Not that Florence isn't a beautiful city, but it's definitely small, and it's really all about the museums. We went to see about changing our ticket but unfortunately it would have cost a lot of money to change it so we set up our day seeing a lot of lessser seen museums and places since we had the time. And truth be told, it was probably one of our favorite days in Florence!

We started out by visiting the Bargello Museum, according to Rick Steve's a very underrated museum. It is housed in this old police station that then became a prison prior to becoming a museum. It's focus is sculpture and there are some beautiful piece including Donatello's David. We spent almost 2 hours here wandering the halls and exploring the art, it was a very nice museum, not overwhelming at all.

After the Bargello we walked over to the Medici Chapels, which was one of the things I was most excited about seeing after reading so much about the Medici's before going to Italy. I have to say it was one of the most disappointing things we visited there. It's just not worth the price of the ticket at all in my opinion. But nonetheless we made we sure we saw the whole thing. Then we wandered the market and picked up some olive oil to bring home.

After lunch we went to the Museo del' Duomo right behind the Duomo. This was by far our favorite museum in Florence! It was such a gem, small and easy to navigate, and easy to see in 2 hours. It houses Michelangelo's last Pieta as well as Donatello's Mary Magdelene (see pic above), which was definitely one of the most powerful sculptures we saw while in Italy.
After the museum we went to Santa Croce church and saw where many of Italy's famous are buried, such as Michelangelo. It's a large church with many paintings, altars, and tombs. It also holds a piece of St. Francis of Assisi's frock. If you go into the book store you can see the pictures of the big flood in Florence that show how high the water came up around the church. It's pretty unbelievable that so much survived that flood.
After the church we went to this paper store where Napoleon used to have his note cards made! We also saw the spot where Savanrola had the big book burning in Florence. After having read so much about it it was neat to see. We saw one more church, Santa Maria Novella and then called it a day.
All in all we saw a lot of great art in Florence, which is what it is known for. If you've never been to Italy and Florence I wouldn't miss the visit - but having now been there twice I can safely say that I feel no desire to return again. Hopefully next time I'm in that region I'll be renting a house in Tuscany for a week and exploring Chianti, Siena, etc!!!!

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