Florence – the city of lilies

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:

firenze_cupid firenze_realman
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).


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Blogging from Italy: Day 04 – Firenze

Monday – 22nd March 2010

Linda went out early as she had to attend SCBWI Conference at the Bologna’s Children Book Fair, Bologna Fair Centre – Piazza Costituzione, Bologna and I took the time to find my own way to Firenze (Florence). Took the morning train and it took about two hours to reach Firenze Rifredi. When I reached there, I just walked out of the train station and headed to the town.

Firenze Rifredi Train Station

There wasn’t much to see and it was so not what people told me…and how do I get to Toscana? I was so helpless, I wanted to do my research before I left KL but I was too busy to finish my illustrations. I wanted to do the research also from Boscolo Hotel but internet connection was not available (still not available until today…as I wrote this…)

Signboards everywhere but I did not know where to go!

But of course I found few interesting objects to snap…

A bicycle

Oh Dandelions! Really made my day that day!

Firenze ducks are pretty!

So I bought a map and headed back to the train station. On the way back to the train station, I found an internet cafe and decided to go in and updated my facebook status, “Sesat di Firenze!” and got to talk to few friends online. After sending a message to my husband and son, I walked to the train station and sat there staring at the map. I later gave up and bought a ticket back to Bologna. I waited there but missed it as I thought it was a train to Napoli!! Lol! I was really a dumb! I took it as a sign and sat back and relaxed for a while until later I saw a board with available trains to all parts of Italy and saw Firenze Santa Maria Novella (SMN)! That was it!! That was the place I was supposed to go! I concluded to myself Firenze Rifredi is a transit station. So I bought a ticket to Firenze SMN!

That was more like it! But as the time has passed 3pm, I calculated my journey back to Firenze Rifredi and then back to Bologna, I decided not to wander far from the Firenze SMN’s train station. I went to the Information Center and ask for a map. The maps was so much better; it got interesting places to visit! I only managed to buy little gifts from the city and headed back to Bologna.

When I reached Bologna, it was about 6pm and I just walked around the town and took few photos.

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