two more and then i’m caught up on daily blog posts. pics will hopefully happen in mass tomorrow night or mid day depending on how much wi-fi on the train is.
we started the day somewhat early and headed over to the central market to check out what was for sale there. it was a huge mess of stalls and people selling tourist souvenirs, leather coats, gloves, purses, and scarves. it was really interesting. people were shouting, more than half the people there had dogs with them and we got two purses! amelias is a clutch-esque beige bag and mine is a red leather shoulder bag.
we then had to gather our bags and head over to the train station to catch a train to milan. I messed up something in my elbow hauling mom’s suitcase down the stairs and on and off the train. a vast majority of this train ride was spent in tunnels compared to the one from rome to florence. the land between florence and milan has some hilly areas apparently.
once we got to milan and found the hotel we ended up wandering down to the “canal area” at the recommendation of the woman at the desk. milan, while landlocked, has several cannals from centuries ago. they were used to transport goods from out in the countryside into the city, however only a few of them remain intact. we wandered around for a bit after that, people watching and looking at the stores that were in the area. it was an interesting experience and an indication of how different milan is from florence and rome. florence is a very small city with a very large obviously tourist population. rome is a midrange city with a large tourist population and an equally large local population. milan seems to have far more locals than tourist. while the tourist are obvious, those who are clearly local are a more frequent sight. people are also far better dressed here than other places. it is the fashion capital of the world and that is quite obvious from the state of the clothing we saw.
We started the day early at the Galleria della’Academia. Michelangelo’s David is housed there along with his unfinished prisoners sculptures. the galleria also houses many copies of statues ranging in origin date from the roman period through the early twentieth century as well as a collection of medieval art. (i’m so over mid-byzantine era religious iconography after florence)
we split up after lunch. Mom and Amelia went to chill out for a while and I went off to explore the smaller market by the river and wander away from the tourist area. I found a bunch of places where you can stop in and get food to go to eat on the street that I would loved to try for our meals during the rest of our time in florence but Amelia doesnt like to eat standing up so that didnt happen.
We met back up three hours later at the Palazzo Vecchio. we toured the main rooms of the palazzo and saw some impressive art from the mid to late fifteen hundreds (several pieces of sculpture were Michelangelo’s work). the most amazing thing about the palazzo was that it was that after its completion the owner had the builder go back and raise all of the ceilings because he felt that they were too low.
We wrapped up the days events with a trip to the Gucci Museum at Amelia’s request. it basically covers all the elements of gucci’s lines, from its beginnings to current styles with explanations of reoccurring themes and why things are the way they are. she thought it was really cool.
after dinner we ended up hanging out in the Uffizi’s outdoor statue gallery on the piazza (two doors down from the hotel) as there was an orchestra performing in front of the palazzo vecchio (three doors down from the hotel). it was an interesting experience and just about the only music we recognized was the abba medley.
We started the day early at the Uffizi art museum. Mom and Amelia werent all that excited about it but it was an awesome experience. the Uffizi museum has been around for centuries and they have art that was deposited there three and four hundred years ago by private collectors. This lead to a wide variety of art from all manner of styles stretching from Greek era up through the late eighteen hundreds. thankfully, the Uffizi doesnt have a modern art collection (I really dont like modern art).
After Uffizi, we headed over to the Duomo (Cathedral of Florence). I’ve discovered that its really difficult to extrapolate exactly how large a cathedral is just from looking at the exterior. Yeah, its a big church but it really didnt look as large as it seemed from the inside. Compared to the other large cathedrals that we have visited, the interior of the Duomo is plain. there were some statues, a lot of stained glass and a very large painting in the interior of the dome, but it wasnt as ostentatious as the other churches had been with gold and paintings covering every square inch.
Amelia wanted a time out from all of the history and art so we went over to the Pitti Palace so that she could visit the Costume Museum. she was highly interested in the development and mirroring of styles and trends through the ages and I was interested in the eighteenth century paintings on every ceiling. Period wear is interesting but personally I dont care about clothing.
to get back to the hotel we needed to cross the Ponte Vecchio. the bridge is lined in jewelry shops and sparkles with gold. the bridge had basically been around in some form or another since 996 when it was first mentioned in a document.