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Money, Power, Art — Florence

The Stradivarius Red Violin in the Accademia in Florence

The Stradivarius Red Violin in the Accademia in Florence

The de Medici family ruled Florence for three centuries before and after the 14th and 15th centuries. Bankers, rulers and lovers of art, they exerted an enormous influence on the world, not only at that time but today as well. They were the wealthiest of the wealthy. The last remaining family member willed everything–the world’s greatest collection of amazing palaces, properties, musical instruments, paintings, gardens and other things worldly–to the people of Italy. Thus, we can enjoy it today as complete collections.

And enjoy it we did! Dan Berg and I spent the afternoon at Santa Croce, a beautiful church that is the burial ground of Italy’s heroes and heroines over the centuries. We saw the graves (don’t think of an American cemetery, think huge sarcophagus of marble and marble floor markers) of such famous people as Galileo, Dante, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Florence Nightingale, Marconi and the list goes on and on. We also saw the Donatello Christ and the Cimabue crucifix.

Our whole group took a tour to the Academia where the main attraction is Michelangelo’s 17 foot high sculpture of David envisioned as being just before David kills the giant Goliath. Chiseled from one piece of white marble, the artist’s realism is eye-catching. Bone structure and blood vessels are clearly visible. Michelangelo personally believed that sculpture was the highest art form, and David is his greatest achievement. Along the way, we saw a Stradivarius viola and the famed instrument maker’s “red” violin–both the most valuable instruments of their kind.

In the late afternoon, we attended a guided tour of the great Uffizzi Gallery. Here were many of the works of art that most people have seen in one way or another. Allen and Rhonda saw Boticelli’s “Venus” and immediately recognized that a copy of that famous piece hung in their bedroom at home. The great artists’ works hang throughout the 45 room museum. The halls are filled with ancient Greek and Roman statuary. It is simply mind-boggling.

The evening ended at an “Italy as Italy can be” trattoria (local family owned eateries where food is high quality, but priced reasonably–found across Italy) where the food and wine were excellent. Veal stew, roasted rabbit, ravioli with white truffle sauce, chef’s specialty meatballs and fried chicken were main courses. We strolled to our hotel near the cathedral in the cool relaxing evening air. And the day was done. WEG
Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Stradivarius Red Violin in the Accademia in Florence

The Stradivarius Red Violin in the Accademia in Florence

Rhonda & Allen Krahn in front of Botticelli's famous "Birth of Venus" painting in Florence's Uffizi Gallery

Rhonda & Allen Krahn in front of Botticelli’s famous “Birth of Venus” painting in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery

Ponte Vecchio Bridge as seen from a window in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy

Ponte Vecchio Bridge as seen from a window in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy

Michelangelo's Sarcophagus in the Sante Croche, Florence, Italy

Michelangelo’s Sarcophagus in the Sante Croche, Florence, Italy

Studying the menu before selecting the trattoria in which we would eat our evening meal in Florence

Studying the menu before selecting the trattoria in which we would eat our evening meal in Florence