While it was crowded yesterday in the streets, today we were hoping for something not so hectic, despite our schedule. Breakfast early, then stroll over the Uffizi Gallery, which certainly has a gallery of art, for the first 8:15 reserved entry.
And oh my, do I like the stuff inside there, unexpectedly so. The religious stuff, sure, I'm remembering the fables and narratives better now from hours of Sunday school, isn't that a primary purpose of this art anyways? It doesn't quite feel as... richly ostentatious as the Jesus-and-Marys of Venice, for whatever reason, the stuff here feels more faith-driven and personal and not-quite-as-forced. Just something I can't quite put my finger on, but the stuff today here was serving something slightly different, even though this city was a financial superpower back in the day, just as Venice was.
What I really enjoyed were the Botticelli paintings, Springtime in particular. Not religious at all, just a story of the fragility and bounty of life, the ripe young woman starting to peel away to the sexy young man on the left, the dancing in the middle, the orange trees blooming, and with fruit for the summer (heh, Valencia oranges, along with 138 different plant species), and the young woman on the right being cruelly plucked away before her time by the north wind. It was rich and intentional and I felt it, what Botticelli was trying provoking in the viewer, some 500+ years ago. I stared a long while, and was the only one in the gallery.
In the next room was the Venus-on-the-Half-Shell painting. I enjoyed it, sure, but it didn't hit me like Springtime. Other paintings were hung, but I was still glowing from Springtime. It was wonderful and wistful.
The other parts of the gallery just kept on unspooling in front of us, room after room, and I stopped often to read the descriptions and learn a bit more. That top floor was very interesting (I liked the Roman wild boar!), then after an odd descent through the cafeteria into the first floor... not so much interesting into the 16th and 17th centuries, nothing lasts forever you know. Round the U and back out, past a well-known Medusa, and then through a temporary Leonardo exhibit on his description of water, including some of his engineering works (a crane to build canals? How did I not know this?). I wonder if Leonardo played in the streams and creeks like I did when I was a kid.
Exit through the gift shop, where Chris found a curious little statue of a fat bearded dwarf on a turtle. Uh what? Oh it's a statue over in the Boboli Gardens. We must go, so we strolled across the bridge to the Palazzo Pitti, cold and big and austere, and into the gardens behind. A nice cool day, climbing around, and finally Googled where it wa—at the exit of the gardens, ah well, still very amusing. Then up into the Palace (and up and up, the galleries are on what feels like the 12th floor), through curious massive spaces starting to throng with tourists gawking at Napoleon’s bathtub. Not really enjoyable, the building left us cold in more ways than temperature.
Natural History Museum a block away, why not? Extensive collection of stuffed animals, enjoyable for a brief visit, and a wonderful collection of minerals which I've always enjoyed since I was little. I know now what that blue-green mineral is in the backyard that I collected when I was maybe 7 or 8 in Bisbee, Arizona.
It was getting to be 1, I wasn't hungry, but Chris got a slice of pizza (no way!) and then we walked through the central market looking for treats before a siesta.
Afterwards, we did have 4pm reservations for the Accademie to see David, who was... large... and in a kinda lame museum with bad lighting, we gave it 25 generous minutes. Gelato, and just missing the church closure (Croci), so back to the room for showers before the fab dinner... yum.