A long day full of art.
We head out and minutes after hitting the Piazza San Croce I spot the prefect things for my last two granddaughters. An adorable pink backpack/bag just the right size for 5-year-old McKenna. And a bigger, bag that converts to a backpack and will hold an iPad in purple for 11-year-old Kayla. Jason and Kat also find some Christmas gifts, so Jason trots everything back to the hotel. Literally a couple minutes away, and why carry all that stuff all day?
Grandchildren gifts for I went to Italy and you didn’t, checked off!
We walk to the Uffizi, and since we have plenty of time, pick a trattoria for lunch in the busy Piazza della Signoria. Kat orders a side of Florentine peas, which I discover are basically done with butter, pepper and herbs–like I make at home. Who knew?
We relax and eat, and toward the end of our meal I see the accordion player I gave a Euro to by the fruit stalls yesterday has wandered in to play for the lunch crowd.
We still have time to kill so opt to walk around a bit more. Score more Christmas stuff. At this rate I’ll be left with only my immediate family, and what I don’t do before, I’ll likely finish up when we go to NY in Oct. Nice!
Around to the Uffizi, and door number one as directed. A short wait, then we shuffle on in. We climb, climb, climb to the top floor, so Kat’s fitbit should register several flights of stairs today. It’s sculpture for the most part here. Incredible marble. I wonder, always, how the artist makes the folds on the togas so fluid, so perfect.
The ceilings here are an art show in themselves. Jason wondered they don’t do some sort of reclining wheel chair run so you could just marvel at the gloriously painted ceilings without craning your neck. In marble, there are Roman warriors, important (I assume) political figures, gods, goddesses. I love Cupid and Psyche as they always look happy and playful.
The paintings in the first stretch are the bright colors and gold leaf religious works. So bold and bright–lots of lots of BVMs and Baby Jesus. And the first I’ve seen of Mary nursing her baby. Sweet.
Some of the ceiling art is whimsical–a satyr and his companion on four panels of a section, and in the last the companion is bent over, toga flipped up while the satyr prepares to shoot an arrow at his butt. All on the painted section seem to be having a rollicking good time.
We move on to another room with paintings, and the focal point is unmistakable a Michelangelo. God, God, magnificent color, light, movement. A round, religious study, our Madonna again–and you see instantly even if you know nothing much of art, why he was the master. I can’t possibly describe it and do it justice, but I could have stood for hours just looking at it.
Unfortunately so could everyone else in the Uffizi.
Other paintings in the room are truly beautiful, but nothing comes close to this.
Another room–and you can only go to the doorway–was added on in (I think) the 1500s. I’ve lost the name of the architect now, but he went all out for the Medici who commissioned it. Shells sunk into the plaster walls so they glimmer and gleam, gilt ceilings, crystals, lots of red. The room is a small masterpiece of art and opulence.
I come across a HUGE painting, one BW tells me is pretty gruesome. I guess so as it depicts the slaughter of the innocents–all those male babies killed by Herod’s decree in his attempt to off the infant Christ. I don’t know why anyone would want to paint this or have it. I simply can’t look at it, though I imagine it was brilliantly done.
But I also find a personal favorite. Poor, baffled San Sebastian with the arrows that martyred him poking out of his thin body. I don’t know why I feel such amusement and pity for this particular saint, but he always strikes me the same way. More martyrs–San Lorenzo, Saint Margaret, lots of a hippie/hoboish John the Baptist. And one of a sly Salome holding his head on a platter.
Much death and destruction in the art, and I prefer the happier ones of The Annunciation, or Madonna and Child, the BVM’s Corronation–or the canny sculptures of centaurs and goddesses.
We wander down to an exhibit of the Medicis–portraits or art purchased by them. The portraits are just lovely–one of a happy baby Medici just makes me smile. I have no idea what kind of life he led, but as a baby, he had the happiest face.
Then that era of art that’s so dark with some portion of it illuminated. And somewhere along the line a big painting–an allegory, I suppose–of a king (we speculate King Louis) in the bottom corner with a lion, and many men in dark clothes apparently fascinated or appalled by a small dog.
I find a still life of flowers I think is lovely–until I spot the rifle and the dead rabbit.
Fascinating, gorgeous, educational. About three hours well spent.
We finally make our way out, and my next goal is gelato. Kat and Jason stop at a market for some lemoncello for her dad, and other fun food. BW and I wander until we find gelato–pistachio for him, chocolate for me. I can attest the chocolate was rich and wonderful with little bits of chocolate mixed through.
Jason and Kat catch up, get theirs, and it’s back to the hotel. An adult beverage, well earned. And plans to walk toward San Croce and a trattoria for dinner about eight.
Tomorrow is the Acadamie and the master’s David.
A fine day. Shopping, culture, food and drink. Really, what more could you ask for?