Port Day 3 of our Disney, Mediterranean Adventure ported in Livorno, Italy. As like the other mornings we met early in a designated location and checked in for our group. Today’s tour was Florence and Michael Angelo. In planning this adventure we let our boys choose what they wanted the most as the natural attraction was to take a half day and run to Pisa. My boys choose to see David! And boy was I thrilled! As fun as it would be to see the leaning tower, I’ve heard that there just isn’t much there other than the tower, and it’s a long bus ride for not much. I felt like getting the opportunity to see Michael Angelo’s impressive sculpture David would be something more meaningful in the long run.
Our morning began with gathering with our group and headed out to the busses. Disney has this tour thing figured out and it’s a slick easy process where no on stands in line. LOOOVE IT! We were quickly taken to our bus and to meet our guide Julia. Julia is a funny character. The best way to describe her is she looks like the character from Knotting Hill, the sister to William Thacker, Honey. Sort of an odd character really with big googley eyes and is forever falling in love with the wrong men. She has a high pitched voice, that although funny, is not something you can handle listening to full time. And just like Honey from Knotthing Hill, our guide Julia was the same. A sort of strange character, with straw like reddish hair, googley eyes, and had a serious crush on a man she could never have. The entire bus trip into Florence we heard all about “her boyfriend”, which happened to be David. She even told us ALLLLLLLL about her Father in Law, Michael Angelo’s Father. It was not funny, it was just wrong. I quickly grew tired of her pitchy voice and removed my ear piece so I wouldn’t have to hear her any more. Disney hires local companies and although this was an “English” speaking tour, Julia’s english accent was thick with Italian and difficult to understand especially as quickly as she was speaking. But, it’s all good, no hard feelings. Julia can be in love with a stone man if she wants. Who am I to judge?
Our morning in Florence started in a town square where we learned all sorts of information. I can’t tell you any of it because, well… I wasn’t listening and was very much enjoying just sitting on a bench watching people while the tour group stood in the blazing hot sun to hear about yet another sculpture. Essentially we were wasting time until our entrance at the museum where David was. The streets in Florence are fascinating. They are super narrow with buildings and very little if any sidewalks. Small cars, bicycles, and people filled them. It’s next to impossible for cars to get around, but I would have been even more irritated if I was on a bike, because you are almost forced to walk your bike to get through the most crowded areas. We arrive at the museum and go in.
The museum from the front is super ghetto, like even the sign is like an old wooden sign. Maybe there was a more formal entrance but I wouldn’t know. As the story goes, one of the Pope’s contract for a sculpture of a prophet. The work was started, sort of, and then stopped. Years and years later the project was offered to Michael Angelo. No other artist wanted to touch the project. This being the medium of choice, Michael Angelo took the contract and began work. He sculpted David as we have all grown to awe over. It’s fascinating to me that he choose to sculpt David as a youth, representing his mighty efforts of slaying Goliath. The sculpture shows David with a rock in one hand and a sling in the other. Although when looking at this mighty sculpture which stands 17 feet tall, it’s really hard to envision the meek boy talked about in the Bible. This rendition of him shows him more advanced in years and strong. Not like the childhood stories seem to represent. Other than the stone and sling, there is no other reference that this is the David in the Bible story with Goliath. Even my son didn’t put the connection together and it took convincing him with other proof that there was any connection between “David” and “David and Goliath”.
David is gorgeous. Wow. He is standing in a room with a gorgeous rotunda and natural light enhanced by direct light giving full effect to the natural curves of his body. I found myself drawn in and skipping many other works by Michael Angelo carved in stone showing his technique of carving from one solid piece. David was calling for some true peaceful respect of absolutely stunning art. There he stood, in all his glory.
Our guide Julia did have some great things to add to the tour. She explained how detailed the sculpture was, even noting that the veins in his arm and hand that was lowered are typical with a hand by your side, whereas the hand up by David’s face, which above the heart does not show the same detail in his veins. This is because Michael Angelo thought of these differences when sculpting. The detail is unbelievable. David now stands behind bullet proof glass because someone decided they wanted to attack a harmless sculpture and took a hammer to his toe. However, it’s still very possible to capture an image or two of this famous piece of work.
Our tour continued of this small museum and I found that I really wanted to see what I had missed by visiting David so quickly. I as amazed at the work on carving out of a single piece of stone and the stages that went into a sculpture. I was fascinated by a room filled with sculptures from many artists, almost stacked and piled on each other. How could these historic pieces just be stacked on shelves almost forgotten. I’m pretty sure I missed the rest of the museum as I went back to David. The room was now much less crowded and I was able to just be one with my camera. Something I truly enjoy.
As part of our adventures we also enjoyed other popular tourist spots, one in particular was the open air exhibit built between 1376 and 1382. Our favorite sculpture was a magnificent bronze statue by Benvenuto Cellini and was placed in 1554. Perseus, a mythical Greek hero is standing tall and strong holding a sword in one hand and the head of medusa raised high in the other. The Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna was installed here in 1583. This sculpture is the largest block ever transported to Florence made of white marble. It is easily admired from all sides as there is no dominant viewpoint. Hercules beating the Centaur Nessus A lesser-known sculpture of Giambologna, made in 1599 but placed here only in the nineteenth century. A nice compliment to this open air exhibit. The Rape of Polyxena It’s a nineteenth-century group executed by the sculptor Pio Fedi. I’m not sure why sculpting rapes was so popular. It’s truly tragic even though the art and work behind the sculpture is magnificent.
In all, our day in Florence, Italy was wonderful! Not only did we see truly amazing works of art, but we enjoyed the culture of the city, and finding a needle in a haystack too! I can’t wait to go back!