Saturday, July 06, 2013

Art and Walking

Best quote of the day: After walking around Florence for five hours straight and four of those in museums and three of those with a tour guide explaining the intricacies and history of hundreds of paintings, we asked our kids how they liked the day. All of them responded with enthusiastic, "Greats!" Then Nick added, "Except when he talked about the paintings. That was boring!"

I feel like we've been on a marathon art history tour and have loved every minute of it. Yes, I was exhausted at the end of our sightseeing day today, but I feel like I've learned so much. I only wish I could have done this in high school and college when studying European History. It would have brought everything into context.

I was so proud of myself when we entered a gallery and I thought, "the dark backgrounds of these paintings with only faces illuminated make me think of Carravaggios" (learned about him at the Borghese Gallery in Rome). Then the guide came in the room and said they were painted by students of or in the style of (couldn't hear exactly) Carravaggio!

Unfortunately I know me too well and when this fairy tale trip ends I will have forgotten all. I'll have to say, "The names sound familiar. I learned about that once, but now I can't remember."

We promised our kids a chance to sleep in today. They were asleep by 11:30 last night and we didn't wake them until 10:30. We've all earned it!

We had a quick breakfast at the hotel and then came back to get showered and dressed. So we weren't out the door until 1:00.

We started at the Sant Croce church where inside were the graves of MichelAngelo, Galileo, Dante, an honorary marker to DaVinci and also Enrico Fermi "the father of the atom bomb" while at university of Chicago. Kudos to Dan who saw his name and immediately recognized him!!

Arms and knees needed to be covered so Courtney got to wear a paper kimono!

Next stop was the Bargello--a neat castle-style building turned museum which houses four MichelAngelos that you can get up close to.

Coincidentally, we saw our tour guide, Joan, from the day before giving her class a tour and field trip. We were so happy to see her again--feel like we are old friends. She was also happy to see us and had a gift for the kids she'd forgotten to give them yesterday. As a added bonus she let us tag along as she talked about the MichelAngelos to her class!!

After the Bargello we shopped at the San Lorenzo market, full of leather goods. Courtney and I both bought purses. Marty, a wallet. (So excited to get to take a smaller bag to church with my new calling!! No toting all the folders and binders for relief society!!)

We raced back to the square and began our tour for the Vasari Corridor and Uffizi. We signed up for the tour so we could get to go in the private Vasari corridor passage from the Uffizi, across the Ponte Vecchio, above the streets and into the Pitti Palace gardens.

What we billed to the children as "getting to see a secret passage" was actually a two-hour and 30 minute art history lesson. As I said earlier, they were great sports. Listening, engaged, and patient. Seriously. They actually are probably learning something. But I think we'll call it quits on museum tours for a while!! The portrait collection in the Corridor is amazing and I actually took notes in the Uffizi, hoping to keep the Renaissance art distinguishing characteristics fresh. Ask me anything.

The grotto at the end of the corridor in the Boboli Gardens is cool too. We skipped the main gardens though. Decided to leave something for next time.

We were all dying to sit after our marathon five touring hours but we powered home with Marty's encouragement. Only stopping for water.

After a rest we went to dinner and then snuck in a stroll up more stairs to Piazzale MichelAngelo. It really was a beautiful view of the city and we hit it right at sundown. Fabulous!

Tomorrow, Venice!

A few more things I've learned, besides art. My new Merrells flip flops are just as trusty--supportive and comfortable for miles of walking--as my old ones. Thank you Merrell Co! A mid-day reapplication of deodorant is much needed and very beneficial. You actually can get burnt out of gelato. Nicholas has never heard the story of David and Goliath. Yikes! Fourth child. We've got to work on that!

Church doctrine of the day: after seeing so many Catholic Churches and paintings and discussion of Adam and original sin, the Third Article of Faith keeps running through my head: We believe that man will be punished for his own sins and not for Adam's transgression.


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