Monday, September 8, 2014

The last of the Florentine experience.

After saying bye to Bruno Gambone, we headed off to the Accademia as the hotel had managed to book our entrance tickets for the afternoon. Even with the tickets, we waited for over 20 minutes to be let in (and that's because the guard who was letting people in suddenly vanished).

I am not complaining because I was standing here (ahem! ahem!...) notice anything special?

If the street name is this...

then the rest has to be artful, right?

And we had David keeping us company- you don't believe me? Here's evidence...

David (artist unknown) on the outside wall of the galleria Accademia...

 And David (Michelangelo's) inside the Accademia...

The most impressive fact about the above is that I managed to get this shot without any people or their heads as the whole world was gathered around him and I am only 5 feet and 1 and a  half inch tall.

The facts about how he came to be are impressive, too. You can find out more about David here:

There was a lot of other art by artists I had heard of and some by artists I hadn't. For me though, the gallery itself was a much more enjoyable experience- the high domes and the spacious galleries. I think after a while I started people watching because there is only so much art one can take in one go.

Time to rest...

The Jain tummies had started rumbling. So we headed out and this time the trio (teenagers and the father) forbade me to even mention 'trip advisor' before we decided where to eat. So they lead, and I followed (muttering -mostly to myself- that there is a 'recommeded' place not far away). But, as we had had such a lovely day so far, I didn't object too much to their choice of a pizzeria.

A gelato each and we were ready to explore again.

The art on the streets of Florence...

Mona Lisa seems happier here (out in the open) than she does in the confines of the Louvre. And her creator looks equally pleased.

The artful streets of Florence:-

 just because I like this street so much:)

 This sign caught my eye...

 And I was invited in by the most cheerful cheese seller I've ever seen. I asked if I could click and he obliged. We even managed a short English/Italian conversation peppered with Italian hand gestures and Indian head nodding (cliche it may be- but when language fails- we go back to our roots). I didn't buy anything as we had just had lunch, but left his shop happy and content.

Our next stop was Galleria degli Uffizi or the Uffizi Gallery. This was just by chance. We had seen serpentine queues to get into the gallery in the morning and had decided to give it a miss. But at 4.30 pm, we happened to be in the area and there weren't many people waiting, so we went in.

The pictures that follow have no labels. Here's why- when I was a primary school teacher in London, I had accompanied a class of boisterous boys to the National Portrait Gallery on a school trip. The Gallery guide started our tour by showing the children how adults behave in galleries- stare at art, look at the labels, make notes-trying to remember the artist, the year and  all those details that clutter the experience of actually enjoying the art. They never sit down and enjoy being with great art. He urged my class to be a child (not an adult) when viewing art and gave them some tips.

I recognised myself in that caricature and promised myself that I would (from that day on) visit galleries like a child and use his tips- stare at pieces that caught my eye- find a place to sit and watch it for as long as I felt like it- without the nagging agenda of the 'must-see' list and without knowing who had painted it, unless I felt like finding out. I wasn't studying for an Art History exam, was I?

The next room is an octagonal room called the Uffizi Tribuna.
"The structure, decoration and objects were meant to allude to the four basic elements of the universe: air, water, earth and fire. This room amazes visitors with its coverings in precious materials: from the approximately six thousand shells embedded in the cupola, to walls covered in crimson velvet with abundant decorations of plants and waterfowl along the lower parts." source: 

Notice the crowd?

You can not step inside but all is visible from the doors. The trick is to be patient enough to move up to the front and manage a clear view- then please be kind enough to move along, as others would like to do the same. It's when couples (young ones, usually) hog the space to pose in various angles that gets my goat. And the worst kind are the ones who take turns, fist the lady, then the man!

Can you detect the frustration or irritation in my tone? I could, too. So before I succumbed to Stendhal Syndrome also known as Florence Syndrome or simply put ' being arted out', I followed my family who were all on their phones by now out of the Uffizi and into the fresh air outside.

More about the Florence Syndrome can be found here:

For those of you who would like to visit the  Uffizi Gllaery, here's a lovely guide

I had a great time soaking it all in without getting distracted by labels.

That's all folks. Next time it will be a walk down the streets of Tuscany- a beautiful adventure. Hope to see you soon. xx


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