1 EAGLETON NOTES: Florence

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Thursday, 13 September 2012

Florence

We drove to Florence on Tuesday.  It was a long day.  For those of you expecting a catalogue of the glorious sights of Florence or its buildings or history then you'll be disappointed.  I suspect, however, many of you will just give a sigh of relief.  What you are going to get is some impressions from a person who last visited the city in the days when you could walk into the Accademia and see Michelangelo's David and photograph it and take a picture of your companions with it and no one else.  You could just stand and gaze and wonder at the 4 years it took to create compared with some other works (of art).  I took a picture of a statue in one of the rooms which still hangs with others in my kitchen from a stay in Italy in the late 1990s.  It may be worth a post when I get home.  In those days we wandered round the inside of the The Duomo (Cathedral) (impressive but not really my taste) and climbed up the tower to the top without so much as a wait.

As with all things touristy things have changed.  In this case quite dramatically.  The sheer quantity of people took me by surprise.  

If you are going to Florence by car from Tuscany here is a tip.  Park outside in one of the huge (free) carparks and travel in by public transport.  We parked at Ponte a Greve near the Firenze Scandicci Exit on the A1 Highway and close to the Firenze-Pisa-Livorno Highway. There is a big Coop supermarket right in front.   From here you can easily get to Florence's main central train station, SMN, with the relatively new tram service and you'll be in downtown Florence in 10-15 minutes for €1.20.  Unfortunately it cost us €2.40 because two of us were under the impression (under orders) to buy tickets.  It was interesting giving 6 tickets away.  Explanations were a little beyond my Italian language ability.

Outside the Duomo and the Baptistry: just hordes not queues

Going from the Duomos to the River Arno
Along the Arno to the Ponte Vecchio
The outside of the Duomo is beyond description in its detailed magnificence and workmanship
A whole building of such detail
The Piazza Della Signora with the traditional horse drawn 'taxis'

The 'outside' David and the Palazzo Vecchio.  Every tour guide carries an identifier but this was definitely the most noticeable.
And from one of the most respected and highbrow museums of art in Italy comes possibly the tackiest piece of 'art' ever seen:


I'm not sure whether one is allowed to photograph the Municipal Police in Italy but Florence has quite a lot of them.  Most seem to be female and all seemed friendly and smiled a lot and some wore marvellous earrings.  However I wouldn't argue with anyone packing a 9mm pistol like they do.  Of course this will not look unusual to my North American or even my Australian readers but to anyone in the UK or New Zealand it's a bit scary - especially as discharging  a gun of that (or any) calibre in a crowded city centre is likely to result in collateral injury.



 To be continued......

14 comments:

  1. Let's see. I have several comments on your post.
    Firstly, great photos, as always GB.
    Secondly, I'm sure I would not do well in the midst of allll those people.
    Thirdly, Tacky David, whatever dude, put some clothes on.
    And, lastly, GB, I hope that car in the last photo was not yours!
    And as a side note, looking at how their guns hang at their sides, how quickly (or not) could they pull those? I'm thinking...not.

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    1. Thanks Lisa. I found the crowds very unpleasant. Why on earth the Accademnia has seen fit to do something so tacky is beyond me although there are so may naked statues in Florence (and Italy) that you just don't notice it after a while. I'd be surprised if they ever used their guns but I wouldn't want to test them!

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  2. I would not have stayed for five minutes....Thank you for your sacrifice.

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    1. We escaped to the parks and quieter areas leaving the youngsters to go hunting in their own pack.

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  3. Sadly seeing armed police is common nowadays in Liverpool. I'm not sure what excuse they use for packing enormous rifles and sidearms but no doubt they could find one since the police seem to find excuses for everything!

    The crowds in your first pictures would have me running back to the car and heading away to the countryside no matter what attractions the city had.

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    1. I have to say that I'm so used to armed police in almost every country I visit except the two in which I live that I accept it as the norm. Certainly in airports it's sort of re-assuring. The number of police fatalities in New Zealand recently will see a much greater access to arms there as well.

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  4. I love the picture of the statue. Although I am used to crowds, I do find the first picture alarming!

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    1. I'd certainly have difficulty in your cities Ruby. I'm a country person.

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  5. I've been known to just turn around and walk away if there's too much of a crowd or a queue... Looking at your photos here I'm not sure if there would be anywere to walk away TO, though?!

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    1. There wasn't really Monica. We just went to a huge park for a while.

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  6. Good Gods!! I would have turned on my heels and headed straight into the opposite direction upon seeing so many people!!!

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    1. There was no opposite direction Meike!

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  7. Very interesting. Thank goodness Nat and I went in last autumn, when there were no where near the people.

    Wasn't David painting in the first place? Or am I getting confused?

    I don't do crowds very well, but I'm glad you did, so we could enjoy these images! Thank you!

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    1. The change since I last went in early September was huge Katherine. I don't think that the original was ever painted although there was some peripheral gilding at some time. I did the crowds although perhaps not very well!

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