Today I visited two of the most famous attractions in Florence: the Academia, home to Michaelangelo’s “David,” and the Campenile, the picturesque bell tower that sits only feet from Florence’s “Duomo.”
The Campanile (“Bell Tower”) was begun by master architect Giotto di Bondone and is a perfect example of Florentine Gothic architecture. My roommate Dona and I visited the Campenile early in the morning so as to avoid the crowds of tourists that clog the square during the middle of the day. We only passed one or two other people coming down as we were climbing up; I can’t imagine how crowded and uncomfortable that staircase must be with two endless lines of people moving in opposite directions. The view was definitely worth the 488 steps to the very top; the morning mist was still dissipating and the city surrounded by the Florentine mountains was so vast and beautiful.
In the Accademia di Belle Arti (“Academy of Fine Arts”), the security is very tight, and camera aren’t allowed anywhere inside… The first floor of the museum uses “salon” style, in which paintings and sculpture are placed very close together without labeling them, I style I’m not the most fond of. This is where “David” is housed; quite a site to behold! The massive weight of this piece along with its painful intricacy is so much more moving in person; I can only imagine the effect it must have had on people when Michelangelo first unveiled it (I got yelled at for sneaking pictures, but they were without flash of course!). Also on the first floor is a small modern art wing—that houses the likes of Duchamp, Bacon, and Warhol—along with the museum of ancient instruments. The second floor however is in regular museum style and, I’m ecstatic to say, focuses completely on Gothic altarpieces with the except of an enormous, one-of-a-kind Gothic tapestry. I took so many pictures of each piece here but consolidated my collection for this post considering that not everyone is as crazy about the gothic style as I am.