On my last day in Italy I visited Florence. This was the number one on my 'to see list', thought most of my travel mates liked Siena more (I certainly disagree). Florence is truly a beautiful city. Huge but full of life, and so totally different than Rome. Ones in the centre there are almost no cars anymore. The streets here are small and covered with a small kind of cobble stones. Every single one of them roads eventually leads to a square. And each square has its own church, chapel or statue to reveal. Here the monuments stand freely, not surrounded by five stroke wide streets.
The whole centre is made Unesco inheritance, thank God it is!
The city is build in big yellow stones, and those were warmed up by the sun as we walked amongst them. First of all we visited the dome and it's golden gate. It was hard to get to it as it was hidden behind a huge crowd of Japanese people taking pictures... but finally we managed. Just like the dome in Siena the one in Florence is build in coloured marble. Here you don't see black and white, but green and pink details on the walls. The floor of the dome is open, without chairs and stuff, and the walls are also sober.
Then we watched la piazza del Pitti, its palace and the famous Florence bridge Ponte Vecchio. We took our time to hang around and to enjoy the mime spectacle on the squares.
At the end of the day we scheduled the Opa Santa Croce, truly one of the most breathtaking churches I have ever seen. The ceiling is made of wood, and the icons one can admire are extremely beautiful. Most impressive were the tombs of many famous people, like Galilei Galilei, Dante, Rossini and Michelangelo himself! After visiting Rome I became a true fan (which I already was, yet the passion grew wilder).
Seeing his grave made us feel sorry for not have seen the David. To be honest, we didn't know in which city it stood, and so we assumed that (as most of Michelangelo's work), it should have been in Rome. As we couldn't find it there, we thought we just missed it. But standing at Michelangelo's grave, an American woman came to chat with us. We told her we were a little sad not to have seen the David, and she told us.
.. David is in Florence!
I can't describe what I felt when I heard the news. I had given up all hope to see this statue, and I had been feeling really sorry for missing out on it. Now I suddenly had the chance to visit it, but we were running out of time. In les then two hours I had to catch a bus to Pisa's airport, to go back home.
We almost ran out of the Santa Croce in quest of the Galleria del Arte. You can't imagine how hard this is to find when you don't speak that much Italian and are more or less stressed. From the outside, the building looks like any ordinary one. Hard to believe that one of the most mighty statues in the world stands in it... We cued for a long time, counting the seconds and hoping that there would be enough time left to enter. Luckily, we succeeded.
David is made out of one huge piece of marble and is about six metres high. This work simply is impressive. It's force is in the details, really. The eyes gazing out in front of him, the perfect anatomy, but mainly the hands. You can see the muscles and veins running trough them. The pose emits peace and power, and shows a magical harmony and fluidity. I am so glad I saw it!
There are more statues in this museum, including some unfinished works of Michelangelo. Seeing the human, almost soft looking forms appear out of the rough marble is absolutely fascinating. It is hard to imagine how someone can posses the skills to make artworks as massive like this.
We stayed in the Galleria del Arte for as long as we could, and then went back to Florence bus station. The David was the last thing I saw in Italy, before I went fighting for a window seat in Ryanairs plane home...