Sunday, July 31, 2011

Florence: Where Calvin Learns Why Everyone Raves About Gelato

I was sad to leave Venice. I loved Venice. But they say that the best way to get over a broken heart is to find someone new. Florence proved that saying right.

Florence is beautiful.
Florence has art like no other place I've ever been.
Florence made me want to play Assassin's Creed II again.

I spent most of my time looking at art in Florence. When I wasn't looking at art, I was writing ekphrastic poetry in front of art. When I wasn't writing ekphrastic poetry or looking at art, I was eating amazingly-expensive-but-more-than-worth-it gelato on my way to look at and write about art.

There were a few pieces I knew I was going to see: Michelangelo's David and Botticelli's The Birth of Venus being numbers one and two on the list. I did not know, however, how many other pieces I would find, let alone how magnificent David is.

Magnificent is the only word that really comes close. That sculpture is so beautiful it literally brought tears to my eyes. I just gawked. For, like, 25 minutes I seriously just stood there in amazement. When I got as close to it as is allowed (decently close for a work so famous) I was waiting for him to start breathing. His eyes look real, his hands look real, there are veins in his feet. I was absolutely floored. Absolutely floored.

Pictures aren't allowed, but I don't think I would have taken pictures even if I could. There's just no way to capture that kind of thing. Given, that's something that could be said for any number of art pieces (there's nothing like the real thing), but in this case it's just impossible. My goodness.

I'm rambling. I also saw this one:
Good, if not a bit faded, but Venus is breathtaking.

This one:
I remember seeing a picture of this in my Art History 202 class and thinking "I need to see that."

And this one, by my boy Gentileschi:
I'm really glad I saw this one: A) Because it's awesome; B) Because the camera doesn't capture the drops of blood all over the two women, nor the fact that Holofernes seems very much not quite dead; and C) Because it is awesome. If I was a painter, this is the kind of stuff I would make.


How about some pics.

The Arno River and Ponte Vecchio during the day.

The Arno River and Ponte Vecchio at night.
I took this from a little overhang over the edge of the Ponte de San Trinità,
which is where I did a lot of my writing before heading home.

Piazza Vecchia.

Outside the Galleria degli Uffizi there are some sculptures.
Needless to say, this one is dear to my heart.

Perseus kicking some Gorgon butt. (In sweet kicks, might I add.)
Have I mentioned I love all things Medusa?
Including but not limited to the recent Clash of the Titans remake.
I am also in love with Gemma Atterton, who plays Io.

Not a bad pic, if I say so myself.

Mint Chocolate Chip and Tiramisu. Cannot get enough.

The Duomo.

The front of the Duomo. 
It's been called 'The Cathedral in Pajamas.'

Love the bell tower. I was here at noon.
I wonder if it rings at midnight. Guess I'll have to go back.


Not much to say about the inside.
Although it does have the third longest nave in Christendom.

This makes me want to go back to Greece.

Another arch and the statue marking where the two main Roman roads intersected.

Can't get enough of the Ponte Vecchio.
It helps that it's two minutes from my house.

View from the Piazza Michelangelo.


Greatest picture ever?

Hiked up a little further to the quiet Basilica de San Miniato.

Legend has it that San Miniato (the city's first martyr) was beheaded near the river.
He then picked up his head, made his way to this spot overlooking the Arno, and then died.
I guess it makes sense.

It had a cool stained glass window.

Christmas card.

Random tower.

Santa Croce.
Worth a tour if you're ever in the neighborhood.

There is a statue of Dante outside.

And he's always happy to see you.

Galileo is buried inside.

And so is Michelangelo.
Tomb done by Vasari, with (L to R) Sculpture, Painting, and Architecture.

A few feet away the muse of poetry mourns Dante's absence (he was banished).

Gioachino Rossini is buried here, too.
(He's the dude that composed the William Tell Overture.)

Got some fabulous frescoes.

Part of the robe worn by Saint Francis.
How they identify this stuff is beyond me.

I want this on my tomb stone.

Stained glass.

Gaddi's huge "Last Supper" fresco in the Refectory.

And a few more recent, not to mention colorful, paintings.

There is also a leather school in the back.
I've never wanted to buy a wallet so bad in my life.





The National Library.
One-person visits not allowed.
There went my hopes for seeing original copies of Dante's Inferno.

Dante in the left tower.

Galileo in the right.

I will miss you, Florence.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I love Venice. The end.

Ok, not the end. A few (44) pictures first.

The streets are made of water. In case you didn't know.
That boat is actually a bus.

The aptly-named Three Arch Bridge near where I stayed.

The view from my room.
How about that for a place from which to watch the world and write?

Kinda foreboding, isn't it?

Gondola. A bit too expensive for a travelling scholar.

Pink church.
Santa Maria of something.
I do remember it was built in thanks for one of the plagues getting over.

Basilica di San Marcos.
This whole square made me want to watch The Italian Job.

Wannabe Big Ben. But not bad.

Part of the palace.

I waited like half an hour but the lion just wouldn't eat him.

Winged lion is Venice's mascot. Pretty sweet.

This pic would be so good if it was sunny.

Inside the San Marcos Basilica.

Wrote me a poem in a little chapel.

Gold, lots of gold, lots of gold, lots of gold.

On top of this clock tower there is a giant bell.
On both sides of that bell are life-sized metal statues holding hammers.
When the hour hits, said statues move and hit the bell with said hammers.


Calvin at San Marcos Square on a cloudy day.

"Are you crazy, don't go between them!"
"Go between them, are you crazy?!"


Santa Lucia church.

Don't know why I'm so fascinated by floors.


Coolest lamp ever.

Ate pizza, watched the sun go down and wrote some poems at the end of the island.
It was a happy evening.

My roommates: Emily (foreground), Louise (dress), Steve (not dress).


SWEET Medusa mask.

I call this one "Mandusa."

Found a wood bridge or two. This one's the biggest.

Needed another day to get to that side of the river. Blast.

View from a fancy restaurant we didn't have enough money to eat at.

Naked boy with frog statue at the house that supposedly looks like a boat but really doesn't.

Who loves Venice? This guy.

Random window art I saw. It's all made of numbers.

I don't think I could even stand inside of this house.

Really tall church with a cover charge. Let's enjoy the outside.

Tintoretto's "Caino e Abele" was the most powerful painting in the Accademia.

I also enjoyed "Burrasca di Mare" by Jacopo Palma and Paris Bordon.

My favorite: the dude in the bottom corner beating the crap out of a sea monster.

I also saw Carpaccio's nine piece cycle of St. Ursula. They killed the Pope! Who does that?

"Summon your eagle powers."
"What do you think I am doing?"

This is a what the ceiling in a "No Photos" church looks like.

One last pic of Venice on my way to the train station.
I love Venice.