Florence Bliss :)

Florence was beautiful. Wonderful. So lovely. Going from Rome to Florence was like night and day. Rome was just too much. Too much to see in too little time, too little space for too many girls, too many tourists, too crazy. But Florence was slightly less touristy. A little less of a craze to see everything in just 2 days. Relaxed strolling down the streets, looking at leather bags and sandals, gelato eating, and walking along the river. I feel like an artist belongs in Florence. So much art and beauty.  I guess that makes sense since Florence was the art center of the Renaissance.The atmosphere just feels right for an artist :) It really was so lovely. 

Here we are at the Rome train station... so eager and ready to get away from the craziness of that place. It will be quite some time before I'll be ready to return to Rome I think ;)

Our lovely Florence apartment! It was so European.. so much character, so much loveliness. I want to live there. :) 
This kitchen was so lovely. Ah it was beautiful. So simple and practical. Oh how I love it!

We found the longest pasta noodles at the market in Florence! It was an interesting feat fitting them into the small pan... but we figured it out and made a delicious pasta meal :)

Probably a meter long once they were cooked and unfolded. Pretty fancy :)

The afternoon of our arrival in Florence, we visited the Academia Gallery. A beautiful gallery with so many beautiful works. Most famous being Michelangelo's David. However, there were several other pieces as well that were really striking to me :)

This piece was beautiful. So dynamic and full of energy. I think the original was actually out in the piazza vecchio, but do to damages a copy was on display in the museum. It was cool to see both copies though. 

This painting was so beautiful. I loved the emotion felt in it. It's from several centuries ago, but the style and coloring almost reminded me of more modern representations of Christ. It was beautiful and interesting to me :)

Leading up to the view of Michelangelo's David was an entire hall full of Michelangelo's unfinished sculptures. It was fascinating especially to see the process of his amazing sculptures. These really were so beautiful in this raw form... just different and impactful in a different way from the typically polished figure.

It was amazing and beautiful to me to see the emerging of the figure out of the stone. Still fairly crude and rough, but impactful in its own way.

From the end of the hall we could see the David. Over 4 meters tall, towering above everyone in the room. It was pretty majestic to be there standing below it. It's especially cool knowing what a symbol it was for Florence. After reading The Agony and the Ecstasy, I appreciate Michelangelo's work so much more.

The David really is a beautiful piece. It's amazing seeing all of these pieces as an artist and after having taken art history. I feel that I appreciate everything so much more as an artist and after studied about these things. 
It was awesome seeing how many artists were gathered to sketch in this gallery. Every museum previous was so packed, bustling with people. There hasn't been much room to sit or sketch. But here artists were gathered on every bench and even sitting on the ground. The David was surrounded by young artists. It was pretty cool seeing so many gathered from so many places, all with a common appreciation for the same piece, and all seeking to increase their artistic knowledge from it. Pretty cool :)

I love love loved this piece so much! It's by Francesco Salviati, Madonna and Child with an angel and the infant St. John the Baptist. There's so much about this painting that I love... the colors, the softness of the figures, the qualities of the outline of the figures. After seeing it, it really is one of my favorite pieces.

I love all of the cars in Italy! This truck was shorter than me... so precious ;)

Loving the charming streets of Florence!

The following day we started off bright and early at the Uffizi Gallery, home to a number of other notable pieces of art :)

Giotto's Madonna Enthroned

I've never heard of this piece, but it was so moving! The figures showed so much more emotion and naturalism than typical representations of the time. It was definitely a fascinating piece. 

Filippo Lippi's Madonna with the Child and Two Angels

Botticelli's Birth of Venus. So cool to see after studying it this year! :)

Botticelli's Primavera (I still remember researching this in AP Euro sophomore year... never thought I'd see it) :)

And then Michelangelo's Holy Family. I LOVE this piece! Michelangelo's paintings style can be spotted from a mile away. It's so unique to other Renaissance paintings. I also love the circular composition of this piece... oh how lovely! 

And of course my sweet mother's tears upon entering the room with this piece... There have definitely been a few tears shed on this trip...

A beautiful Roman copy of a Greek original, Sleeping Ariadne

Franciabigio's Madonna and Child with young Saint John- another piece I loved!

And.... a copy of the Laocoon group sculpture... one of my very favorites! I was sad I missed the real thing in the Vatican Museums... but this was still good to see :)

The Palazza Vecchio and the Piazza della signora... the original home to the David sculpture :)

Our own little apartment... with our own usable window shudders and our own laundry hung out on the line! Oh how I love the European style :)

 The Florence Duomo... such an intricately beautiful building! It was really fascinating, with many Gothic elements, but such a unique decorative patterning on the entire exterior. It was cute a piece of art :)

Dancing to the music of the lovely street musicians :)

 GELATO!!!!!!! :)

 View from the Piazza della Vecchio

Palazzo Vecchio... home to a number of members of the Medici family way back during the Renaissance :)

I love all of the awestruck looks on mom's face with every new thing she sees :)


 Beautiful view from the river in Florence :)

Just offering my piggy-back ride services :) I probably owed it to her anyway... because I led my family on a lovely walk along the river for about an hour... only to find that we'd been going in the wrong direction that entire time. BUT... we did get a lovely walk along the river that we wouldn't have gotten otherwise. AND we got to ride the bus that Nakita wanted to ride originally. So... WIN-WIN! We got a beautiful river walk AND a bus ride to our ultimate destination ;) So yay for misleading the entire family ;)

After an hour walk and a 30 minute bus ride, we finally made it to the Piazzale Michelangelo... with a BEAUTIFUL view of the Florence cityscape :) Worth the walk in the wrong direction!

 View of the Florence Duomo :)

 Mom and I stayed a little later to watch the sun set over Florence. We sat there on the steps, sketching the view. An Italian men stood behind us strumming his guitar while singing The Beatles and other songs. It was quite the moment. Here's what I wrote while we sat up there:
"Sitting on stone steps, looking over all of Florence. The Duomo, Palazzo Vecchio, bell tower, the Arno river, Ponte Vecchio... you can see it all from the spot up in piazzale Michelangelo. I love Florence. Mom and I ended up staying at the Palazzo til sunset, while Heidi and Nakita headed home to the apartment. We found a spot on the crowded steps, pulled out our books, and began to sketch the beautiful scene of Florence in front of us. It really was the perfect moment and atmosphere. It was so fantastic it's hard to believe it was real. As we sat sketching, a man was set up just behind us with his acoustic guitar. He sang such lovely songs, namely a few Beatles songs. It was hard to take it all in. Firenze. The Duomo. Sunset. Sketching. Guitar music. What a feeling and what an atmosphere. I wish I could place that single moment in a jar and return to it regularly. It was honestly bliss.

 Oh how I love and already miss Florence! Definitely in the list of my favorite cities visited :)


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