Sunday, 6 January 2013

Renaissance Florence

Florence is both a beautiful and amazing city. Our aim for today was to acqaint ourselves with Renaissance Florence. But first, we visited the nearby Museo Galileo. Initially started as a collection of scientific instruments by the Medici family, it has expanded into a museum which housed instruments for everything imaginable. From optics, medicine, pressure, time, navigation, temperature and much much more. It was absolutely fascinating. I could have easily spent the whole day there. It really reminded us of how much we take for granted. In particular, it was amazing how Galileo's improvements in the simple telescope would change so much in the scientific world.

Jonah on a still empty Piazza della Signoria. We had to make a reservation for a special rooms tour at the Palazzo Vecchio

The Uffizi Gallery turtle hunting

There's one! Michelangelo's inspiration

Someone who would change many things in the world

Awesome museum

Rooms upon rooms of devices and instruments

For the medics, 21 obstetric wax models from the late 1700s

Early examples of optical illusions

A BIG armillary sphere, a representation of what they thought the universe was like at that time

The intricate details within the sphere

Map of the globe when they thought the world was flat

World map from the mid 1400s. I'm almost positive that looks like the west coast of Australia (what's out of shot is that of Indonesia above). I never studies Australian history and geography as I was schooled elsewhere but weren't we discovered much later than this?!?!

Beautiful penmanship of mathematical instruments form the 1500s

Galileo's finger 

His original instruments

The hands-on section
The rest of the day was spent following Rick Steve's Renaissance Walking Tour to orientate ourselves in Florence. I'm gobsmacked that great works of art were just everywhere in the city. Donatello's sculptures is on the streets of the city for anyone to admire...I loved it! We started at the Ponte Vecchio, walked along the Arno River, visited the Uffizi Courtyard, admired the Piazza Signoria and the Palazzo Vecchio, went by the Orsonmichele, shopped as we strolled along Via dei Calzaiuoli, went to the Baptistery and finally gazed upon the magnificent Duomo. We covered a lot of ground!

By the time the late afternoon hit, we had all hit information overload. We took the opportunity to rest, which for me, meant laundry...Dinner was once again simple at a nearby ristorante.

Malcolm and I ended the evening watching "The Good Shepherd", one of the many DVDs available at the apartment. Unfortunately, by the this time, my brain had turned into mush and I may as well have watched nothing...

Ponte Vecchio, parts of which hail back to Roman days. The germans were ordered to destroy everything as they retreat, but they left this one alone. The only left impassable...but intact!

On the actual Ponte Vecchio, once for butchers and the like, now upmarket with goldsmiths

The awesome lunch place!

Best pasta ever

Doesn't look that crash hot but tastes out of this world

The dishes come out as they're cooked and you just pick what you want

Hot chocolate Italian style

Thick....not runny

The outside of the eatery

The sight of Savanarola's execution at a now busy Piazza della Signoria

The Palazzo Vecchio. We will return here on Monday

Via dei time!

Donatello's St Mark (a copy, the original inside) at the Orsonmichele, the first statue to show the natural assymetry of stance in contrast to the symmetry and unnatural nature of art in the previous era and not used since the times of ancient rome and greece. It would serve as an inspiration to Michelangelo

Guilds would commission works and here is a relief of one of the guilds

A closer view...

Gelato time!

What's that?!?!

The baptistery, one of the oldest buildings in Florence

Put all these panels together...

....and you get a very big door

Heads in the door

Another door

He's had time to refine his technique and with the relief only a couple of inches think, he was able to achieve a bigger sense of depth

The artist immortalised himself in the door....

The Duomo, impossibly difficult to capture. We will return here on Monday. Note to self to remember to bring the wide angle lens!

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