Saturday, April 19, 2003

European Whirl - Day 10

April 19th

Rome … Seven hills Camping

To Florence – the birthplace of Michelangelo! One thing I noticed as soon as we arrived Florence, was there’re Davids in every vendors ^.^ We drove from Rome to Florence for around 4 hours, arrived there by noon.

clip_image002First we went to the Piazza Michelangelo up in the hill to take group pictures with the whole Florence as the background. Not many people there, but I saw a just marriage couple also taking pictures at the terrace underneath us. Something I couldn’t understand happened while we were squeezing ourselves in the corner. A middle age Italian guy spit at us, 3 times! First I thought it shouldn’t mean for us, nothing we have done. We just arrived here. But Gillian said that it did mean for us. Once there’s an Italian boy cursed her somewhere at Rome. What’s wrong with having tourists in your city? It does bring money! Most of the shops I saw in Italian cities only sells souvenir, which is not cheap at all; so is what his problem?

While the old and the young man seemed didn’t like us, the middle age man has pretty different point of view. They seemed love tourists … female tourists. The way they see us female; not just with their sight, but also using the muscles in their faces even making cup-cup kissing sounds. Even the liberal Dutch didn’t do that. I heard a lot about how Italian doesn’t have problem with showing their feelings in public, especially the one that has something to do with love. Even the two couples in our group were taken by the waves. It’s just me who didn’t have enough time to stay longer to be able to adapt with that ^.^

We only have 4 hours for the whole Florence … better than 2 hours Munich ^.^ That included a short tour about Florence leather and city tour. So again, I only had 1,5 hour before the city tour began. Gillian and I decided heart-breaking-ly not to take the long queue to buy ticket just to see David, although he is so great.

clip_image004clip_image006The story about David is, he is left-handed and his head turned left, waiting alertly for Goliath to come. It was carved from a 4m high marble, a very tough job to do that even Leonardo da Vinci gave up. The marble was left un-touched for 40 years until 26 years old Michelangelo, after finishing Pieta for St. Peter Church, confounded the doubters, and finished it within 3 years. David then was moved to Piazza della Signoria after breaking down the wall above the door of Opera del Duomo, where Michelangelo did his work, using 40 men, took 4 days to reach the Piazza and 3 weeks to erected it … what a massive works! The citizens love it so much that the man in charge that time afraid of the David-looking-left would give bad influence. To distract the mass’ intention, he command for another sculpture, another become 2 others, and the whole piazza turned out to be a sculpture galley. The David that now stands in the piazza was made with the same marble by the same technique. None of the sculptures in the piazza now are original actually, except the “Rape of the Sabine Women”, the big sculpture behind me, which sooner will be put at Gallery Uffizi as well. This sculpture actually intended as a study of old age, male strength and female beauty.

We went to Piazza del Duomo first, to see the famous bronze doors at Battisery. The door was a competition between Ghiberti and Brunelleschi; Ghiberti won the door, and Brunelleschi won the competition for the Duomo’s dome that was held later on. Both were very tough jobs to accomplish. Giberti spent almost 20 years for the North door, and 27 years for the East (believe me, there’re lots of detail on that, although they are the copies), and marked the birth of Italian Renaissance period.

The dome is made from double walls; the outer one is 1m thick, and the inner one is 4m thick, 13 years to finished it, and another 10 years to put the lantern on top of the dome. There’re stairs circling the dome in between the double walls that allow people to reach the top, it’s pity that that day the dome was closed for Easter celebration.


In front of gallery Uffizi, people wore white clothes acting as sculpture


Ghiberti’s door


Brunnellschi’s dome

Ponte Vecchio, is the only Roman bridge that still survives after the big flood in 1966 and two world wars. First it was fish market, the arched opening in the center of the bridge was meant for them to dispose their rubbish to the river Anor below conveniently. After the Accademia and Uffizi gallery were built, the man in charge decided to banned this smelly business, and turned it to jewelries and goldsmiths shops that last until now. It’s a very crowded market although anything they offer was beyond our wallet ^.^ What we could afford was the one that was sold in between shops, the moveable shops that were done mostly by African men.




We had to back to the coach at four thirty, and drive to the campsite for us to take shower and a rest. I was so tired and thinking of not going to town again, but it seemed stupid to stay at the camp site that has nothing to offer. We tried to find a dinner with reasonable price around Florence, and we end up in a buffet restaurant because there is quite lots customer eating inside. I ordered a bowl of pasta; the chef put it into microwave to turn it into a hot meal, which only half part of the whole thing was hot, and I taste it … sour. I wonder if it had the sour flavor or because of it’s an un-fresh food. I was satisfied anyway ^.^ So we have to wait for the rest of the group until 11. Again, there’s another Contiki group in Florence … what a firm!

One interesting thing Gillian said to me, whispered, if the naked sculptures we saw in the whole Italy were the reflection of Italian men … what a small ‘figure’ they have ^.^


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