Date: Thursday, June 26, 2014
Time: 8:25 pm local time/2:25 pm EST
Place: Florence, Italy
Here’s my second blog post du jour, so hopefully I won’t bore you too badly. I even have high hopes of being able to post this one the same day that it was written.
This morning we had to be out by about 8 o’clock because we were due over at the Bargello museum, which, like the other two museums today, is an art museum. The building was a community center of some sort during the Renaissance, and then was turned into a prison during the eighteenth century.
The first thing I saw was a statue of three musicians, two of whom were playing sakbutts, which are early trombones. When composers of the Renaissance and early Baroque eras wanted to portray Hell in their music, they would use the sounds of sakbutts and oboes. I think that may be one of my favorite pieces of musical trivia.
The Bargello has an exhibit of historical statues of David. The famous statue of David came later in the day, but we got to enjoy these wonderful statues from several hundred years of history. These were wonderful ways to see how the styles had changed. Two of the Davids were at least partially clothed, but the third stands naked as a jaybird, except for what looks like a straw hat. They are all standing on Goliath’s severed head.
In the same hall as the David statues are the two contest scenes by Ghiberti and [someone else, who I can’t remember]. They made these squares to see who would get the contract to decorate the doors of the baptistery in front of Il Duomo. Personally, I preferred the square made by the loser.
There was a set of statues called Gli Ucceli (Lee ooh-chelly--the Birds). Included amongst the bird is a peacock, a rooster, an owl, and several other “normal” birds. They are absolutely beautiful statues, however, and very lifelike.
From the Bargello we made our way to the Uffizi Gallery, where we got to enjoy more art, this was mostly paintings (with a few statues thrown in for good measure). Included in the collection is a painting called the Birth of Venus, which is one of the first, if not the first, secular painting ever painted. It shows the goddess Venus coming out of a shell. I don’t quite understand the point of it, but it is very historically significant. It was after that point that artists began to feel free to make secular art.
Out on the roof of the Gallery (which, by the way is right across a small street from where we watch the fireworks a few nights ago) we had a wonderful view of the Dome of Il Duomo and also the Campanella (or bell tower). We also had a view of Dr. and Mrs. Wohlers enjoying the café, not the museum.
We were given a lunch break after the Uffizi gallery, and the four of us (along with John and Kim) decided to go over to the restaurant where the three adults (Laughlin, Goddard, and Diller) went to eat on Tuesday night. I got spaghetti with tomato sauce, and it was yummy. Not a very big portion, but it was enough, and so good!
It started to rain again (and yes, my umbrella was in my bag, but it was back the room again). I didn’t buy a new umbrella again, though, because it wasn’t bad rain. Just nice enough to cool things down. It didn’t leave us muggy at all.
Our final museum was the Accademia, which houses the famous statue of David. I had been disappointed the day before at the Sistine chapel, so as I rounded the corner I was purposely letting myself down. But I wasn’t disappointed. It was an incredible statue. It looms probably at least fifteen feet tall, and it is just incredibly amazing and awe inspiring.
The Accademia also holds a musical instrument museum, which I enjoyed. Included in their collection were several Amati or Stradivari instruments, a lute with a built in keyboard, a three- and five-stringed double bass and five harpsichords. Unfortunately they were all unstrung, though, which meant that I couldn’t give an impromptu recital like I did in Vienna last year.
After I went through the musical instrument museum, I led Dr. Diller on a tour of it, since she doesn’t know much about music or music history. I tried to help it make more sense to her, which I think I did.
We decided to come back to the hotel after our visit to the Accademia was done for the day. The four of us quickly grabbed our laundry and walked a few blocks to the Laundromat, where we were all able to wash our clothes. Next time I must remember to double the number of shirts and pairs of underwear I bring on a trip.
I’ve just been enjoying the afternoon in the hotel room ever since. I’ve written a couple of blog posts now, I finished watching Follow Me, Boys, and I’ve listened to most of the Inventions by J. S. Bach. Maybe most important of all, I finally got to cut my fingernails! All-in-all a wonderful day in Florence!
Now, I want to hear from you! I miss you all! Write me and let me know what’s going on. Either send me an email, comment on this post, or visit my contact page.
Love to all!
I'm a Classical musician, a growing Christian, and a world traveler. I'm learning, exploring, and trying to understand this wonderful world I live in.