Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Italy Part Five -- Florence

After visiting Assissi, we drove to Florence and turned in our rental car. We certainly didn't need a car for our last two cities, Florence and Venice. While cars are allowed in Florence, the historic part of the city that tourists want to see is all easily walkable.

Florence is arguably the most beautiful city in the world. It's in the center of Tuscany, which many people think is the most beautiful area in the world. The light in this part of Italy is incredible, the inspiration of world-renowned artists through the centuries. Take for example the photo at the top of the page--it looks like something you would see on a post card. But it's just a snapshot I took, and I'm no great photographer.

And look at this photo. It's unretouched--a black and white sunset, captured about an hour later than the photo at the top. But it's not black and white film--the sunset actually lost all its color and resolved into shades of black, white, and gray. I've seen thousands of sunsets, but this is only the second black and white one I've ever seen--the first was in Colorado, maybe twenty years ago. I have no idea what rare meteorological condition takes all the red and orange and yellow and purple out of a sunset.

This is a far more typical Florence sky, with those glorious cloud formations in real life that we see so often in Renaissance paintings.

Lois found us a hotel right in the middle of Florence, looking out on the famous baptistry. It sounded like a good idea, being centrally located, placing us within walking distance of everything we wanted to see. What we didn't count on was all the nightlife--loud music into the wee hours of the morning. Followed by the bells of the Duomo at 6am!

Here are the famous Baptistry Doors--except that what is there today is a copy. The original gold doors are too precious to be left out in a public square. As you can see, there is still always a crowd in front of them.

Outside the famous Uffizzi Gallery are statues of great Renaissance figures. Here Eric salutes Leonardo da Vinci.

I found most of my photos from this trip, but somehow I have misplaced the ones I took inside the Accademia Gallery, of Michaelangelo's David. Well, you all certainly know what that famous work looks like!

Definitive Guidebook to Italy

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