Medusa Loses Her Head and David Is Admired: Florence… Armchair Travel

This nice kitty with his finger like paws greeted us on the Piazza della Signoria… along with several other sculptures. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson)

The two-hour trip to Florence from the Port of Livorno and the two-hour trip back seriously sucked up what little time we had to enjoy the legendary Renaissance city. Our first act upon arrival was to plot out our plan of attack, which we did over café lattes and scrumptious Italian pastries. Why suffer? I really, really hate to eliminate treasures, however. Florence is where the birth of the Renaissance took place and is chock full of art.

The latte was delicious and the pastries scrumptious.

The Uffizi Gallery alone, with its world-class art including masterpieces by Sandro Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci, would take up half out time. Beyond that we plotted out a walk that would take us to the Duomo Basilica and then back to Santo Croce Basilica, where we were to catch our bus. Sadly, I crossed off the Accademia Gallery, which includes Michelangelo’s original David.

But not to worry… there was a magnificent copy of David in front of the Uffizi Gallery in Piazza della Signoria. It was in this square, BTW, that the infamous priest Savonarola (1452-98) held his ‘Bonfire of Vanities’ and encouraged the good citizens of Florence to bring their art treasures and books to be burned.  Somewhat ironically, Savonarola, who was quite vain in his own way, was also burned in the square.

Michelangelo’s David has always been one of Peggy’s favorite sculptures. I wonder why…
These charging horses pulling Neptune’s chariot on Piazza della Signoria in Florence seemed to be pulling in different directions. The horses were carved by the Sculpture Ammannati.
This sculpture by Benvenuto Cellini shows Perseus holding up the head of Medusa, which he had just lopped off. Hopefully her eyes are closed. Otherwise you would be turned to stone.
The most dynamic sculpture on the Piazza della Signoria is the Rape of the Sabine Women by the sculpture Giambologna. The story goes that Romulus needed more women for his new city of Rome, so he went to the nearby town of Sabine and kidnapped them.
But enough on violence. They didn’t allow photos to be taken in the Uffizi Gallery, but when we came out, a short walk took us to Florence’s most famous bridge, the Ponte Vecchio.
For my final picture today, I selected this view looking down the Arno River from Pont Vecchio.

NEXT POST: A fascinating pig that people can’t keep their hands off of.

34 thoughts on “Medusa Loses Her Head and David Is Admired: Florence… Armchair Travel

  1. Hitchhiking in 1967, I didn’t have money for galleries, and when we visited in 2009, although we had more time than you, we decided not to take time for the Uffizi. I have rather regretted it ever since, but as you saw, every street had something worthwhile.

  2. It is hard not to see something beautiful in most of Italy. Here in Australia, apart from nature, it is somewhat regretful not to be visually attacked by ugliness. Driving around it is not easy to avoid man-made ugliness. Thankfully we have an abundance of beautiful nature.

  3. There is a story that Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge in the city that, allegedly due to a direct order from Adolph Hitler himself, wasn’t blown up by the retreating Nazis as they abandoned Italy in 1944 towards the end of the Second-World-War.

  4. Curt, it is great doing this armchair travel with you and Peggy.
    I have spent a week or so in Florence and recognise every monument and view you have taken. I actually stayed in a hotel along river Arno with view of Ponte Veccio on the right.
    Wonderful city, and Peggy, I laughed too.

    Miriam

    • Was even a week enough? 🙂 And Peggy does have a fun sense of humor. I brought her a light switch cover with the light switch being where David’s anatomy was. Grin. –Curt

  5. Glad you managed to squeeze as much pleasure out of your short time as you did. Don’t know Florence but it’s on the must visit list whenever it fells good to travel for pleasure again.

  6. Always loved those horses with Neptune. Sculpting humans is OK – as an artist you can sort of predict how it should go and look – being familiar with the body type/form, but moving animals – and ones like that lion – now that’s skill

  7. Love the sculptures and the Ponte Vecchio. Were there some vendors in or on the bridge? I seem to remember that, and maybe I even bought something leather there. It was almost 45 years ago, so I’m getting pretty fuzzy on the details. And that’s why I’m glad you posted this!

  8. Truly beautiful, Curt. We had to go back to Florence for the second time to really appreciate the architectural details and gracious people. And Peggy is a woman after my own heart. 🙂 ~Terri

  9. These shots bring back good memories. There’s a lot a great sculpture in Florence. I agree the Sabine Women is dynamic. For some reason I remember seeing it inside a museum but it’s been a long time; maybe I’m confusing it with something else.

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