After the bookfair I had a day free and took the chance to visit Florence with Evi. Our intention was to visit Uffizi Gallery but we had to skip it as the queue was quite long. We didn’t booked the ticket online because we did not plan the visiting date. I guess this will give reason to visit Florence next time.
This was only part of the queue.
Nonetheless, I took interesting pictures around the gallery:
Both were real men disguising as statues.
Evi and I later wandered to the nearby Piazza Della Signoria and saw Neptune Fountain. Neptune seems to be everywhere in Italy.
The Fountain of was commissioned in 1565 and the work-of-art of sculptor Bartolomeo Ammannati. The Neptune figure, whose face resembles that of Cosimo I de’ Medici, was meant to be an allusion to the dominion of the Florentines over the sea. The figure stands on a high pedestal in the middle of an octagonal fountain. The pedestal in the middle is decorated with the mythical chained figures of Scylla and Charybdis. The statue of Neptune is a copy made in the nineteenth century, while the original is in the National Museum.
However, when the work was finished, it was not appreciated in particular by the Florentines, who called it Il Biancone (the white giant).
Work continued on this fountain during the next ten years. Ammannati, with the assistance of the best Florentine sculptors and casters, added around the perimeter of the basin, in a mannerist style, suave, reclining, bronze river gods, laughing satyrs and marble sea-horses emerging from the water. The monumental marble and the dynamic bronzes give nevertheless a coherent impression. The fountain served as an example for future fountain-makers.
And then, we walked to the great Il Duomo!
Il Duomo or Florence Cathedral or The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (English: Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower) is the main church of Florence, Italy. Il Duomo construction was begun in 1296 in the Gothic style to the design of Arnolfo di Cambio and completed structurally in 1436 with the dome engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi. The exterior of the basilica is faced with polychrome marble panels in various shades of green and pink bordered by white and has an elaborate 19th-century Gothic Revival façade by Emilio De Fabris.
The cathedral is one of Italy’s largest churches and the the 150-foot-wide (46-meter-wide) dome remains the largest brick dome ever constructed, built without flying buttresses or freestanding scaffolding, using experimental methods that many contemporaries believed would surely fail. But it didn’t, it stood there for nearly 6 centuries now. And do you believe that the creator of the dome, Filippo, was just a homely, hot-tempered goldsmith with no serious architectural training? I admire his brilliant masterpiece.
Geared with a cup of hot coffee, a Moleskine sketchbook and watercolor, I sat at Smalzi Café with Evi and tried to draw the building:
Massimo Ricci, an architect from an ancient Florentine family, dedicated his life trying to work out the construction techniques that Brunelleschi used to build the dome. After 40 years, he concluded that the geometry of the dome resembles the petals of a flower. Massimo, in his interview with Tom Mueller from National Geographic, laid out some of the evidence for his theory of the dome’s flower, which he considers to be the breakthrough in his conception of Brunelleschi’s method. He told Mueller, “In fact, Santa Maria del Fiore means Saint Mary of the Flower and the symbol of Florence is a flower, the lily.”
Getting to Florence: KLM operated 2 time(s) daily from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Florence – Peretola (FLR).