Monday, November 23, 2009


After two and a half day in Venice, our next stop was Florence. As a major city in Italy, I expected Florence to be a big city. Instead, it is a small, very walkable city of uniform beauty. From one end of Florence to the other, it only takes 45 minutes on foot. You don't even need to take buses to get around. Throughout this walk, nearly all of the buildings have the same red roof. I have never been to a city quite like it. London, on the other hand, is a city of jumbled architectural styles.

The highlight of Florence was the Uffizi. A few month ago, I had featured Madonna with the Long Neck by Parmigianino. The painting is a bit smaller than I expected but it is just as exquisite as I imagined it. While I stood in front of for like three minutes viewing at various angles, it was sadly ignored by most museum goers. The most incredible two paintings, however, are Botticelli's Primavera and The Birth of Venus. There was an amazing sense of lightness to the paintings and the wind that is depicted is surreal.

From Venice to Florence

The Ponte Vecchio or the Old Bridge--it's a lot like the old London Bridge that no longer exists. Today, the Bridge is occupied by jewelers which makes it overwhelmingly touristy. The view from the Bridge, nonetheless, is still photo perfect.

The Rape of the Sabine Women

The Palazzo Vecchio or the Old Palace is the town hall of Florence. At the entrance of it, you can make out a replica of Michelanglo's David. The real David is house at the Academia which I also visited. Without a doubt, David is overwhelmingly majestic. When you enter the Accademia, you will see David at the end of a long, dimmed hall with a soft spotlight lit on David. All attention is focused on this 17 feet sculpture.

Duomo of Florence

Gates of Paradise

Mike Zhang, this one is for you.

Porcellino--this is Florence's version of "if you touch this, you will return." Sadly, I didn't touch it but hopefully I will return one day. =)

The food in Florence was absolutely delightful! I had some rabbit and boar meat. (The boar was fantastic!) The best dish though was a pasta dish with walnut sauce. No pasta will ever beat it!

The last thing I must comment negatively on is the condition of the museums and palaces in Italy. The Uffizi was intolerably warm and humid like many other Italian museums and palaces. It was strange to me that a country with such priceless artworks allows its works of art to be kept in such adverse conditions that can cause irreversably damages.

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