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A Day at the Museums

ITALY | Tuesday, 17 April 2007 | Views [568] | Comments [1]

It's a known fact that Florence houses one of the best museums in the world, the Uffizi. My guidebook said that Uffizi has the largest collection of Renaissance art in the world. Well, obviously. I would be disappointed if it had at least one artwork less than any museum in the world to clinch that bragging right. I already bought my ticket online prior to coming to Florence and I'd be demanding a major refund if I'd come out feeling shortchanged. One thing with buying your museum pass online is that you skip the long line and you go through another entrance where you feel like you're a VIP. And seeing the long line at the Uffizi on my first day, I was thankful that I did, no kidding. I started my day early making my way through the quiet winding streets of Florence. Though I know how to get there the quickest way possible, I decided to take the longer, more scenic route and just take time to absorb the beauty of the city in its tranquility, minus the buzz of tourist activity. It was nice seeing the locals go about their daily chores. Street sweepers cleaning the streets, men on Vespas going to work. Cafe owners setting up the tables and chairs outside. People hurriedly walking towards the train station off to somewhere. One could get lost in this dreamy vision of unadulterated and pure Florentine life, which was magical for me. I could have walked on and on but I still had to get my museum pass in an office that's situated right beside Uffizi. Finding it wasn't actually that hard. So was redeeming my pass. And so was getting inside the museum. I actually felt pity for the rest of the people in the line. It was my horrible Vatican museum lining experience flashing before my eyes. But here inside the Uffizi, I was walking up the grand staircase that greeted you as you enter the big doors of the museum. Uffizi actually means 'offices' which were literally offices commissioned by the Medici family for the magistrate. In other words, before Uffizi became a museum, it was Florence's administrative offices, tribunal etc rolled into one majestic building. Then, the Medici family started to gradually put their massive art collection in it and that's how it became the museum it is right now. And what an art collection! I am such a sucker for medieval art that on my second room alone, I already officially declared to myself that this was way better than Prado. Sorry, Prado, you just didn't have Renaissance creds to beat Uffizi. The highlight for me was seeing the famous Birth of Venus by Boticelli. This Boticelli guy is something else. He did the enclave of St. Peter's Basilica and what little I saw of the fountain at Piazza Navona under repair at that time. And then this! Boticelli is one guy with unquestionable taste for beauty. The Birth of Venus was indeed captivatingly beautiful. Larger than life depiction of Venus coming out of a shell with her soft wavy curls gloriously rippling from the blow of breath of angels and covering the most sensitive part of her body in a very sensual, delicate manner. It was a deliriously and deliriously beautiful piece of art. There were lots more to look and gawk at, but these didn't hold the same magic. There were lots of portraits of artists, famous Florentines, members of the Medici family, bishops, Virgin Marys , angels, etc. And I have not even crossed the other side of the museum yet! Uffizi was laid out as a U shaped building. The first half alone could make you reach your Renaissance quota for the decade. You still had the other half for spare just in case you needed extra points for the next decade. Literally seeing artwork after artwork was beginning to feel like an assault to my senses. I decided to speed my tour up and go to the ever delectable museum shop where you find yourself buying cute memorabilia which later one you realized you actually don't have any use for. My loot was a mouse pad with the serene face of Venus by Boticelli gracing the mouse surface. The second half of my day was meant for the Museo de Accademia. This was hands down easy for me because I only needed to see one thing. And that is the original statue of David. Believe me, my expectations were not that high after seeing the copy at the piazza. I was already thinking how much more beautiful it could get if the copy was not as impressive as I imagined it to be. Well, I was proven wrong. The line outside was not as long. Though having a museum pass made it easy for me to get in again. I no longer paid attention to all the usual medieval art that i walked past. After all the museums I have been in Europe, the artworks now looked the same, unless it's really a famous work of art. I walked straight to find where the statue stands. You walk through a long corridor of artwork. You turn left and the statue of David just catches you off-guard by majestically standing at the end of the corridor, under a dome where sunlight seeps through, ably aided by spotlights that give it an illusion of both grandeur and beauty. Ok, here I go again with my superlatives. But this one, for the statue of David, would be my last and my sincerest compliment ever! If the phrase, 'a work of art' was inspired by something, David definitely did inspire it. The statue was perfection. It was way larger than the copy. The proportions were much better. The details were much finer. It was that beautiful that I didn't notice that I was sitting and just staring at it for a good 2 hours. A good 2 hours of my mind wandering, thinking of all the beauty I have seen so far in my trip, thanking God for just the concept of beauty itself, feeling wistful that I didn't have anyone to share this vision of beauty with, just wishing for the possibility of living in Florence. Then, I snapped out of it because I got hungry. I left the Accademia with all the thoughts still with me, that have seemed to accumulate in that one encounter with the statue of David. And I suddenly felt lonesome as I looked for a place to eat because right then I knew I was deeply in love with Florence. The thought of being in Florence forever has never left me.

Tags: arts, birth of venus, boticelli, culture, david, florence, italy, museo de accademia, museum, uffizi



Great article. Brought back memories of my experience at the magnificent uffizi. The birth of Venus took my breath away! Thanks for sharing!

  Lindsey Aug 21, 2013 10:05 PM

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