Destination: Firenze Day: V

Today was focused on visiting Fiesole, a town just outside Florence and on the hill overlooking it.  We went with our friends/ co-teachers Scarlett and Jesse who are also visiting Florence:

Fiesole Florence

Kellie above Florence, Italy.


Typical scene in Fiesole, Italy. Hilly streets, charming buildings.

San Romolo di FIesole

Chiesa di San Romolo di Fiesole (1028). From underneath the altar, looking out.

Etruscan archaelogical zone

Etruscan archaeological zone.

Olives, Tuscan Hills

Hills of Tuscany. Our scenic walks from Fiesole into the hills had many views like this. A beautiful estate surrounded by olive trees.

Fiesole, Italy Tuscany

On the trail outside Fiesole.

After returning, we headed back to our hotel for the evening.  At 8pm, I learned (well, remembered) that all state museums were opening late tonight (no queueing, no fees) because this is one of Italy’s “Tuesday in Art” days.  Between 8:30 and 11pm, I was able to visit the Medici Chapels, Bargello Palace, and Accademia (which routinely has hours-long lines).  No lines, just some airport-style x-rays of my camera bag.  It was a bit rushed, but for the price, I felt honored to see this things. And the museums were as close to empty as I can imagine them being.  A few pics (rushed, with a point-and-shoot camera):

Pietro Francavilla (1548-1615) - Statue of Giasone (Jason and the Golden Fleece) 1589 Bargello

Pietro Francavilla – Statue of Giasone (Jason and the Golden Fleece) 1589, Bargello Palace.

Bargello Palace, Florence

I really can’t remember the information for this/these piece(s). It was in the inner courtyard, opposite the entrance.

The Medici Chapel was fairly dark, fairly compact (narrow, but tall) and had some scaffolding up.  That equals no pictures.  In the Accademia, there were “no foto” signs everywhere and I really didn’t want to get tackled by security.  And it’s not necessary for me to take a picture of Michelangelo’s David.  There are plenty of pictures online by professionals who had the time and permission to take a careful shot.  My absolute favorite site in this quick jaunt through museums was in the long hall with David at the end. This hall featured four unfinished Michelangelo “prisoners” who were commissioned for the tomb of Pope Julius II. Before I show you, here is my context:

My favorite quotation (as it relates to several things in life) is Michelangelo’s reflection on sculpting: “I saw the angel in the marble, and I carved until I set it free.” It is believed he spoke these words, though it isn’t confirmed.  However, he did once write that, “In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.”  These pieces are positioned so that the viewer can walk around it, see the untouched part of the block and even see the quarry marks from when it must have been cut. The first photo, in particular, blew my mind…to see how he had to start creating the bicep just by seeing where it would need to be. I can’t actually put what I am trying to say into a coherent sentence.        After the photos (courtesy of, I present some words for thought, courtesy of Frommer’s travel guides:

Michelangelo:  Bearded Slave, 1520-23,  Accademia, Florence

Michelangelo: Bearded Slave, 1520-23, Accademia, Florence.

Michelangelo:  Awakening Giant,  1520-23,  Accademia, Florence

Michelangelo: Awakening Giant, 1520-23, Accademia, Florence.

Michelangelo:  Bearded Slave, for  tomb of Julius II, 1520-23,  Accademia, Florence

Michelangelo: Bearded Slave, 1520-23, Accademia, Florence.

Michelangelo:  Prisoner (Atlas), for  tomb of Julius II, 1520-23,  Accademia, Florence

Michelangelo: Prisoner (Atlas), 1520-23, Accademia, Florence.


The hall leading up to David is lined with perhaps Michelangelo’s most fascinating works, the four famous nonfiniti (“unfinished”) Slaves, or Prisoners. Like no others, these statues symbolize Michelangelo’s theory that sculpture is an “art that takes away superfluous material.” The great master saw a true sculpture as something that was already inherent in the stone, and all it needed was a skilled chisel to free it from the extraneous rock. That certainly seems to be the case here, as we get a private glimpse into Michelangelo’s working technique: how he began by carving the abdomen and torso, going for the gut of the sculpture and bringing that to life first so it could tell him how the rest should start to take form. Whether he intended the statues to look the way they do now or in fact left them only half done has been debated by art historians to exhaustion. The result, no matter what the sculptor’s intentions, is remarkable, a symbol of the master’s great art and personal views on craft as his Slaves struggle to break free of their chipped stone prisons. (emphasis added)

Florence Christmas lights

Florence Christmas lights.

Chianti Chino

Chianti: I’m giving it another shot. The first one I had, years ago, was disgusting. But we are in the home of Chianti, so I had to try again.          San Pellegrino Chino: I can only find this in Italy. Please see for a  full description.


3 thoughts on “Destination: Firenze Day: V

  1. Your post is full of true beauty, both in words and in pictures (and Kellie is one of the prettiest subjects I’ve seen!).
    Can’t say that I’ve ever tried a Chianti. I hope you liked it better than what you had years ago.

  2. Pingback: Florence Day 4: Fiesole | hungary for adventure

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