Monday, December 6, 2010

BCers In Italy, Switzerland & France; Pt 10: Artistic Flourishes In Florence & Bologna

MY WORLD TODAY is interrupted with thoughts of David. It was exciting to see him up close and personal during our recent trip to Italy. He is gorgeous but aloof and somewhat cold since his concentration is entirely on slaying Goliath. I learned that the original David was created by Michelangelo at the start of the 1500s. He stood at the public square outside the government buildings in Florence to symbolize independence from nearby powerful Rome.

Subject to centuries of damage from natural and manmade causes, the original David was moved in 1873 to the Academy Of Fine Arts where we visited him. Since picture taking is not permitted at the gallery, we were content to photograph David's double (pictured above), including from the perspective of a lion's paw resting on the city's emblem. The replica of David replaced the original at the square in 1910.

There are two identical lion statues near David at the square. Pictured above (upper left of the lion) is a gigantic wall poster commonly used to cover ongoing repairs to the surrounding buildings.

It wasn't always easy to tell the difference between fake and real walls.

We saw a lot of activity behind the scenes at the public square known as Piazza della Signoria.

People and statues alike were focused on distant scenes rather than one another. Although there appeared to be little eye-to-eye contact ...

there were likely hidden cameras observing us all. I wondered if the ornate petals hosted a teeny camera (lower half in the picture above).

Umbrellas were for sale. They tend to go up swiftly at the slightest rainfall.

The best ice cream I have ever tasted was in Florence, possibly because it looked like a delicious work of art.

We discovered Pinocchio nestled in a shop amid the world’s greatest art. I should not have been surprised since the character was created by the fictional Geppetto in a village in Italy.

Amid fairytales and masterpieces there were less high profile reproductions scattered about the square. Our local guides discouraged buying work from street sellers who probably avoid paying the taxes shop owner do. However, I could not resist this print (above) signed B. Cerutti Felugo. The seller asked for 20 Euro but bargaining was expected. Getting it for 10 Euro seemed like a good price until I discovered another tourist got a similar copy for 5 Euro.

Although beautiful, the painting did not capture the true brown mossy-green hues of the original scene that I found so appealing. There are several picturesque bridges crossing the Arno River. Their archs made pretty multiple reflections that rarely came through in my photographs.

The Old Bridge (pictured above) was built in the mid 1300s. It is the only bridge in Florence not destroyed by German military during WW2. Shops were built along both sides of the bridge as was common in olden times.

The charming landscape is subtly mirrored in the windows of buildings as well as the river.

Florence is the capital city in the Tuscany region of Italy. Synonymous with the word “flourishing”, the city is aptly named because it has one of the largest gatherings of Renaissance art and architecture in the world.

The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore went through several transformations from the 1200s to 1400s and then again in the 1800s when it's facade was augmented.

It is difficult not to encounter artistic details throughout Florence.

It is a city where Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli and Brunelleschi are grand names commonly dropped for people to ponder while on various tours and forms of transportation.

This realistic equestrian statue seemed about to prance from its pedestal.

The Doors of Paradise by Ghiberti show amazing detail with a 3-D perspective oddly current. After a flood in 1966, the ancient panels were replaced by copies to preserve the originals.

Too soon we had to leave David and his hometown of Florence. Our next stop was Bologna (almost 200 miles away) where we were greeted by an impressive bronze figure of a Bolognese pope pictured above.

As this fountain and statue of Neptune show, Bologna has its share of old world charm and architecture. I also learned that North American baloney did, indeed, get its name from Bologna's historic sausage-making fame.

Even chipped paint looks lovely in Bologna. Having the oldest university in the Western world, there is an element of youth in the city that is heavily populated by students and motor bikes.

I could easily get lost amid the mysterious alleys and series of archways around ancient street corners in Bologna. I was glad my husband wore bright orange and was plain to see when I lagged behind taking pictures. Running to catch up, I was already thinking about our next destination, magical Venice.

Explorers can find more sites from around the globe at My World.


  1. Thank you so much for taking me on a trip to Florence. I have wanted to visit that city forever, I think. It is so very beautiful; your photos tell a wonderful story of your visit there. One of these days I will visit, as well...

  2. Beautiful pictures in their natural colors. You motivated me to take a trip faster (it was on my list). Someday I will. Thank you for sharing.

  3. That must have been a wonderful trip. Great pictures.

  4. I can only repeat what Marion has written!! What a great visit to Florence through your marvelous photos! I, too, have always wanted to visit there -- been to Italy, didn't get to Florence and that was disappointing. The David has long been one of my favorites! Thanks for sharing the journey, Penelope! Have a wonderful week!


  5. Thanks for this wonderful tour. You took some fantastic photographs and such an interesting post.

  6. Beautiful shots of the place. The architecture and sculptures are amazing.

  7. looking at your pictures make me miss Florence so much. i'd love to make a return visit in near future.

  8. Nice memories of Florence!
    Looks so good through your eyes. :)

  9. wow, overwhelming beauty! such marvelous photos and i love reading your story. amazing city. i hope to see Florence someday.

  10. I love Florence and I am glad you invited me for a tour. Your shots are beautiful!

  11. Thank you for this wonderful tour of Florence. Another city for by bucket list. :)


YOUR THOUGHTS add colour to the content and are always much appreciated.