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The rarely updated blog of Joel Dixon

Viewing blogs tagged Florence

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Florence and Pisa, Italy - 2012

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 22/08/2012 02:19:32

Florence was a bit of a whirlwind with only two nights planned to fit in a bunch of museums and a day trip to Pisa. This was further complicated when I realised all of the museums would be closed on my second day in Florence giving me only one afternoon to fit in the Accademia Gallery (housing Michalangelo's David), the Uffizi, Museo Galileo and whatever else I wanted to visit. This is where the "Florence Card" came in very handy.

Most cities offer a "[insert city name] Card" which gives you access to a bunch of museums, galleries and public interest spots as well as providing free public transportation. Florence was the first city that I gave it a go - the density of museums combined with my lack of time making it more than worth my while. I have felt like a king among peasants, heading straight to the "Florence Card" line and skipping any form of wait. It was especially useful at the Accademia Gallery as I arrived at the worst time of the day, skipped the queues, got my fill of David and had left while the same people had moved up making two or three places.

Speaking of David, the man cuts a pretty imposing figure. Originally designed to be displayed atop the Florence Cathedral, David boasts a proportionally larger head and hands than Michelangelo's other sculptures - so as to better see these features from below. Although I was again warned against taking "foto e video" like in most galleries, I couldn't help taking a few ninja shots (with no flash, of course) to capture his presence. The security was pretty tight around the biblical hero, presumably more so than in 1991 when a crazy man took to David with a hammer and damaged his left foot. I'm guessing he was on Team Goliath.

From this angle he looks very sultry (and would even if he wasn't all twig n' berries)

After David I walked down to one of the more famous galleries in Florence, the Uffizi, to see some works by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael among others. It was good to see some of the pieces that I already knew by sight (The Birth of Venus, The Annunciation and The Adoration of the Magi) - but once exiting it was clear I'm not a fine arts guy.

After the Uffizi I made quick stops at Museo Galileo (with a heap of really cool optical illusion (anamorphosis) pieces and old-timey scientific devices) and Plazzo Vecchio (a gallery and tower affording a nice view of Florence). Already a full day, I had a quick lunch of lasagne before enjoying a long siesta. I managed to wake myself up long enough to have a dinner of minestrone soup and lamb shanks (delicious) and went back to sleep shortly after.

A less famous depiction of The Last Supper in the Museo Vecchio - I will be seeing the original tomorrow which I'm pretty psyched about

For day two in Florence I organised a day trip to Pisa to visit the Leaning Tower. Walking the short distance from the central station was fun, as you could see the rakish angle of the tower above some of the buildings which really accentuated the lean. When I made it to the park surrounding the tower, the slant is pretty unmistakable.

It's ok tower of Pisa, I lean a little to the left as well

As expected, the lawn surrounding the tower is full of people creating physic-defying photography. I even saw one guy posing by doing a handstand - not sure exactly what he was trying to convey with that one

After buying my ticket to climb the tower I spent my two hour wait purchasing (and eating) a hamburger - my first in three weeks. It wasn't the best burger I've had - but it wasn't as bad as I had expected (I'll have to try another not so close to a famous monument). When my time finally came, I ascended using the marble stairs that wind around the circumference of the tower. The climb was the best part of the day, the lean causing half of the stairs more difficult which the other half were eerily easy. The top of the tower afforded an excellent view of the surroundings, which would have been better had there been anything to look at in Pisa. With the tower completed I made my way back to Florence, skipped dinner (so much food, so little time) and went to bed.

This time the blurry photo is a result of climbing stairs and not excited expectation for the next piece of food I was to devour

The view from the top of the tower - Pisa Stadium if I were to hazard a guess

To think, I too used to be one of those poor souls, sentenced to await a chance to climb the tower while cowering under it's shadow

I had a few further hours spare before my train left for Milan, which I used in a museum / house of the Medici family. Another subject that I will need to research once I return home - the money-lending Medici family seemed to control the city from behind the democracy that was in place and even today much of the art I admired was "graciously donated by the Medici family". The grandiose of the Medici house has left me pondering business ideas that can help propel Joel Drinks into even more of an international powerhouse.

This is the 8th in the EuroJoel - 2012 series
City 1 - Lisbon, Portugal - 2012City 2 - Porto, Portugal - 2012City 3 - Madrid and Toledo, Spain - 2012City 4 - Valencia, Spain - 2012City 5 - Barcelona, Spain - 2012City 6 - Naples, Italy - 2012City 7 - Rome and Vatican City, Italy - 2012City 8 - Florence and Pisa, Italy - 2012City 9 - Milan and Bologna, Italy - 2012City 10 - Venice, Italy - 2012City 11 - Prague, Czech Republic - 2012City 12 - Dresden, Germany - 2012City 13 - Berlin, Germany - 2012City 14 - Legoland, Denmark, 2012City 15 - Edinburgh, Scotland - 2012City 16 - Nice and Monte Carlo, France - 2012City 17 - Lyon, France - 2012City 18 - Dijon, France - 2012City 19 - Provins, France - 2012City 20 - Paris, France - 2012City 21 - Ireland - 2012City 22 - London, England - 2012City 23 - Killarney - Ireland, 2012City 24 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - 2012City 25 - Brussels and Bruges, Belgium - 2012City 26 - Warsaw, Poland - 2012City 27 - Krakow, Poland - 2012City 28 - Vienna, Austria - 2012City 29 - Budapest, Hungary - 2012City 30 - Bucharest, Romania - 2012City 31 - Nile Cruise, Egypt - 2012City 32 - Cairo, Egypt - 2012

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