When we couldn’t stand the heat anymore, we turned to Florence’s art scene and palaces. Lucky for me, I’m obsessed with statues. They’re not really Chandler’s thing, but even he couldn’t help but be impressed by some of the opulence we saw. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say he left Florence with a bit of an obsession with the Medici family.
A difficult aspect of Florence, however, is how pricey the sites are. There was a lot to see and do in San Marino, Bologna, and Cinque Terre that was free or relatively inexpensive – not so in Florence. Before we even arrived we started dropping some serious cash setting up all our reservations. We had booked our Airbnb months ago, but still needed to spend:
-18 euros/person for access to all the monuments of the Grande Museo del Duomo
-38 euros/person for joint access to the Uffizi Gallery, Palazzo Pitti, & the Boboli Gardens
-8 euros/person for access to the Galleria dell’Accademia
In addition, most online bookings charge an extra 4 euros, sometimes per person, sometimes per booking. Needless to say, we were surprised at how much money we were suddenly spending.
Which isn’t to say the sites aren’t amazing and totally worth it – they are. But it’s tougher to swallow the high entry prices when you’re on week 8 of your European summer tour.
My last blog already sang the praises (or lack thereof) of the various Duomo monuments. I still believe that the most impressive sights can be seen standing on the outside & looking up or taking a climb & looking down.
After an unsurprisingly long (this is Italy, after all) wait to get into the Uffizi Gallery – even with our 1:45 pm reservation, we ended up spending a longer than expected time inside.
The building’s interior is a work of art in and of itself. We constantly found ourselves looking up at the ceilings:
Known for housing some impressive works by artists such as Correggio, Leonardo, Raffaello, Michelangelo and Caravaggio, I was really there to see Botticelli.
It’s impossible to spend time in Italy and not hear about the Birth of Venus. During my art history course in Rome in 2010, so many things were said to have been influenced by that single painting.
And not only that, but the Uffizi is also home to his painting The Spring, another favorite of mine. Look them up if you want to see them in their entirety, but I captured my favorite movements in the paintings:
This was one of those visits when Chandler had to drag me out of the room, I must have started at those paintings for a solid 15 minutes apiece.
As we were leaving, we passed through a rather marvellous exhibit featuring videos of people in the Botticelli hall and also outside of the Duomo. The number of people who rushed past the church and the great works of art, pausing only to take a quick Instagram snapshot was hilarious, yet heartbreaking. Never has this artwork been so easily seen and shared, and yet, perhaps, never has it been so under-appreciated. It was definitely a thought-provoking piece.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t spend forever looking at the works of Botticelli, because that same day we had a reservation for the Galleria dell’Accademia – home of Michelangelo’s David sculpture.