When you have seen the REAL Michelangelo David statue, you’re able to quickly discern the fakes. Seriously. This week, I have seen 3 of these statues and I am glad I saw the real one first. I saw my first replica at the Piazza Michelangelo yesterday and today, I saw another copy. More on that later . . .
Today went quite smoothly, as I was able to complete my 5 ticket Duomo (Florence Cathedral) package deal. I had 4 days to do this per the ticket purchase prerequisite. Unfortunately, the ticket does not include the “the big enchilada” (Main Cathedral) – so I will return to the Duomo later this week to see the crown jewel of this Cathedral complex. What I have seen thus far at the Duomo has been magnificent. The Cupola (Dome), Giotto’s Campanile Bell Tower, Battistero (Baptistery), and Cripta (Crypt) all are amazing sights to behold. The latter two I saw today and I was allowed to photograph both without restriction.
Additionally, I also visited the Palazzo della Signoria, where another replica of Michelangelo’s David stands. Actually, the one and only original (which I saw at the Accademia Gallery) use to stand at the very spot where the copy is now. I was curious about how many of these “fake” statues are out there in the world, so I googled that very question and found out that there are plenty of copies in the world. My friends Mark and Ana, live in Montivideo, Uruguay, and are probably familiar with the David statue that stands on the esplanade of Palacio Municipal. A 7 meter tall David can be viewed at Emerald Lakes, Queensland, Australia. In 1995, Florence tried to present a copy of David to the municipality of Jerusalem, but the city was offended and refused the gift because they thought the statue was pornographic. LOL. India has a copy at one of their universities. The United States has many copies, including Buffalo, Philadelphia, Sarasota, and 3 in California.
The David statue wasn’t the only statue of interest at the Palazzo della Signoria. I also saw a couple of statues of Hercules, one where he slays Caccus the monster and another where he slays a centaur; there is also a water fountain with Poseidon presiding; another with Perseus holding the head of Medusa after he’d just slayed the gorgon; and, the famous “Rape of the Sabine Women,” done by the Flemmish artist Jean De Boulogne (perhaps better known by his Italian name, Giambologna).
However, my main reason for visiting this area, was the fortress like building that I saw briefly the day before. I had no idea what it was, nor what it was used for. My friend, “Zumiee” provided the first part of the answer in a comment to my blog post yesterday – by properly identifying it as the Palazzo Del Vecchio. Today, I found out what it’s used for and at least in my mind, it’s quite funny – the fortress is the town hall of Florence. Folks, this is one impressive city hall, not only for Tuscany and Italy, but I would say the entire world. I can imagine this scene playing out every day . . . “Hello? Can you lower the draw bridge and open the gate? I’m here to pay a parking ticket.” Seriously, most of the building is used for a museum, but the city mayor has an office here and the city council has meetings inside the building as well.
The last place I visited today was Museo Galileo, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The museum has very interesting scientific instruments and other gadgets, including some that belonged to the great astronomer and scientist, Galileo. Frankly, you could spend an hour here or an entire afternoon. I wish the museum had provided more information on the collection. Each gadget or instrument had English names, but the viewing experience would have been enhanced by having an explanation of what you were looking at or what purpose it had. In the museum’s favor was the excellent video monitors that provided explanations on the more prominent collection pieces. All in all, this is a place I would highly recommend anyone visiting. Afterwards, I had pizza and a salad at a restaurant near by (photos included) and then called it a day. Enjoy the photos (many do not have captions – if you have any questions, give me a shout) . . . Also, before I sign off, a big hello to Carmen and Angie from Calgary. I met both of them yesterday at the top of the Campanile Bell Tower and they were both delightful. We exchanged emails and it sounds like we may meet in Paris, as well as dinner tomorrow. I am really looking forward to seeing them again. OK, now Ciao!