WHEN YOU VISIT the Gallaria dell'Academia in Florence, you're not supposed to take photos. But I took one anyway as you can see on the left.
We had three goals for yesterday's visit to Florence: 1) see Micelangelo's David, 2) visit the Florence Cathedral, called the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, and 3) hit up the great market in the center of town and buy souvenirs and stuff for the kids. Mission accomplished; key chains, sweatshirts, tea spoons, leather wrist bands, dresses, a street performer's CD, and -- most importantly -- several knock-off soccer jerseys.
But the highlight was seeing the David -- even the kids might agree. The sheer size and grandeur of the piece is nothing if not staggering. The house where we are staying has loads of books and I have just finished reading Anton Gil's Il Gigante: Michelangelo, Florence, and the David -- 1492-1504-- a fascinating book about the how, when, where, and why of the 'David' (or 'the giant' as it was called). Reading about the history of the work really made seeing it all the more impressive. The one thing that nothing can really prepare you for is the sheer size of the sculpture. The photo I've put up sort of gives you a feel -- just look at David compared to that security guard who wasn't paying attention to me taking the photo behind him. Of course, the way the Galley Academie has it set up doesn't hurt either -- in a rotunda at the end of a long corridor with 35-40 ft. ceilings. Spectacular -- almost takes your breath away when you first enter the opposite end of the corridor and see Il Gigante at the far end of the hall.
Today the kids spent about an hour watching a great BBC documentary on Michelanglo on Youtube. Now they can't wait to see the Pieta and the Sistine Chapel. That's coming up in a few weeks.