Sunday, July 15, 2018

2018 Italy Vacation - Day 3: Uffizi Gallery, Galileo Museum

Day 3 - Florence

I got up early to walk the City before the hoards got out.  I was on the street at 6 am and was all alone in the sleeping city.  It was nice to be able to view the sculpture terrace next to the Palazzo Vecchio with only the street sweepers to contend with...

 Outside the Palazzo Vecchio....

 Such beautiful doors throughout Firenze...

The image below shows the Via Proconsolo,  on the way to the Bargello on the right.  I loved the juxtaposition of the new and old.  The rising sun was kissing the tower of the Badia Fiorentina Monastero.

Inside the courtyard of the monastery, the tower was blooming in the early morning light.
 Here is just a glimpse of the courtyard - too much for the camera to capture....
 I loved the craftsmanship in the wooden doors and the ancient depiction of dolphins.
Here's the doorway to the Bargello - we will see you tomorrow.

On to the Duomo... No crowds in the early morning light.

... and circling back to the Pizza Signorina.
I picked up Kathi and at 8:15 we headed approximately 50 meters to the doorsteps of the Uffizi Gallery - the oldest museum in modern Europe - built in 1581.  With our Firenze cards we got in a special line and were whisked inside within minutes of the 8:30 opening.  We made a B-line to Botticelli's Birth of Venus and took our time admiring the beauty of this painting with only one other person present.
The expression on her face is mesmerizing and exudes calm and peace.
After our nearly private viewing of Botticelli's Birth of Venus, we strolled around the rest of the Uffizi.  Traffic was light first thing in the morning.  The halls of the Medici's private art gallery were lined with busts and sculptures and each ceiling panel was painted with exquisite detail.  It's hard to imagine the wealth, at that time, that produced this former private collection.

 This is a view of the south wing of the second floor where ancient roman sculptures line the hall and "grotesque" style frescos adorn the ceiling.  Mind boggling....

One of the many busts that line the hall...

Hunting of the wild boar - Cinghiale!

Amazing detail in the stone carvings...

More views of the corridors and their splendid ceiling frescos.

The Tribuna of the Uffizi...

 The lantern (dome ceiling above) of the Tribuna room of the Uffizi.
 The second corridor, facing the Arno River...

 Always look up...
 "Grotesque" ceiling decoration, taking their name from the grotto decorations in Rome and in fashion in the 1500s, also showing the coats of arms of the Medici family in the corners.
 The elliptical Cabinet of Miniatures room - originally designed to hold gemstones, cameos, exotic items, and other semi-precious stones. 
 The Niobe Room, designed in Neoclassic style by Gaspare Paoletti - designed to display a famous group of Roman statues acquired in 1583 by Ferdinando de' Medici after they were discovered in a vineyard in Lateran.
After touring the second floor, it was time for a break for our eyes, our brains, and our stomachs!  Thankfully, the Uffizi has a lovely outdoor cafe on the second floor so we got a table and had a cappuccino and croissant before tackling the first floor galleries.

 The first floor galleries are dedicated to the collection of artwork from the 15th Century and on.  Here are some of my favorite pieces...

Madonna of the Goldfinch by Raphael (1505)

 Madonna of the Magnificat by Sandro Botticelli (1483)
 The Annunciation by Simone Martini and Lippo Memmi (1333)

 The Gaddi Torso - from the 2nd Century B.C.

The Pontassieve Madonna by Beato Angelico (1435)
Medusa by Caravaggio (1596)

Cesare Dandini ?
Musician Angel by Rosso Florentino (1521)
By the time we got to the first floor, the crowds were massive with the pushy tour groups in full effect.  We were so grateful for having the Firenze card and getting in early to view the collections without too much traffic.

After exiting the Uffizi, we made a short loop around the back and entered the Medici Galileo Museum (no entrance fee with the Firenze card).  Patrons of the arts and protectors of science, the collection was begun by Cosimo I de' Medici in 1519.  Math was recognized as a new instrument of war and mathematical instruments were symbols of his power.  

The museum was chock full of globes, chronographs, navigation charts, telescopes, and mapping instruments, but the museum cases did not allow for too much close inspection which I would have liked.     

The Uffizi Gallery and the Galileo Museum represented a chock full morning.  Exiting into the sunlight once again, we stocked up with some sparkling mineral water and hit the bricks on our way to the Duomo - all covered in the next blog post.