Jeff's Blog - Wednesday, September 24, 2014 - Florence Day 2

The Uffizi was OK, but nowhere near as great as the Capitoline in Rome or the Borghese Gallery. Much was closed for renovation, including about 10 or 20 rooms of the paintings they're most known for -- Caravaggio, Botticelli, those other bright-color Renaissance guys. The Bargallo was excellent, with a LOT of great sculptures. I should have taken my ipad picture here, but I forgot. I had my own private "Stefano" here. In "The Great Beauty", Stefano is the guy with the keys to all the great museums in Rome, who takes Jep and Ramona on a private tour of them one night. Anyhow, the 3rd floor of the Bargello was closed, and that's where their one sculpture by Bernini is, so when I complained I was told to go to the main office and talk to someone about it. He wanted me to return to the museum later, once the 3rd floor was open. I told him I had plans for the afternoon and I was here right now. He didn't really like that, but told some elderly gentleman who spoke no English to let me see the Bernini. He probably told him more, too, but I couldn't understand the Italian. This old man and I couldn't say a word to each other that the other would understand, but he unlocked the 3 doors to get us to the Bernini. Yes, I liked it. And he wouldn't let me take his picture, maybe it's bad luck or something. Next stop was the Galileo Museum where I saw Galileo's telescopes, among many other things. His telescopes were like toys -- less than 2 inches in diameter. From there I saw the Ponte Vecchio, a bridge over the river with shops built into it. They used to be butcher shops, with easy drainage of blood and gristle into the river, but now they're jewelry shops. My last stop was Palazzo Vecchio, a palace of the Medici family. It was there that I took this ipad photo of Michelangelo's Genius of Victory, which he intended for the Tomb of Pope Julius II in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, but which ran out of funding and was therefore cut back to a wall monument, including his central Moses sculpture, placed instead in the church of St. Peter in Chains, right near the hotel I stay at in Rome. This sculpture shows a young man with strength and polished skin who has been victorious over an old man with a rougher stone face and a submissive look. On to Pisa tomorrow morning, then to Siena for supper and sleep.

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