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Art, Italy, Museums, Travel

There is More to Florence Museums than the David

August 17, 2016

There is More to Florence Museums than the DavidDon’t get me wrong, seeing the David in person is a wonderful experience and you should definitely see it. But there are over 72 museums (including churches and libraries) in Florence to explore! If you saw two a day, it would take you over a month to see them all. Since I only spent four days in Florence, I saw as many as I could. It was hard because around every corner it seemed like there was another one. Here are the ones I hit and the ones I want to see when I return (planning is in the works!).

Museums Visited

Palazzo Vecchio – This museum isn’t just a museum. The mayor of Florence’s office is located here, and it is the seat of the City Council. Sign me up to run for local office if this is my office! The museum starts before you even enter the building in the with a replica statue of the David out front. The beautiful decorations begin in the first courtyard with its beautiful frescos. Unfortunately, I didn’t know you could tour the secret passages. I did get to see someone go through a hidden door in the Map Room.

There is More to Florence Museums than the David

Museo Galileo – Walking down the Arno Riverbank towards the Ponte Vecchio, you can’t help but see the Museo Galileo due to the large sundial out front. I will say I was disappointed by this museum. This was mainly because I was expecting more on Galileo himself, but it is mostly a collection of scientific instruments. Many of them were very intriguing, but the labels only gave a title of the item and not what it was used for. Not the ideal for a non-science person. But if you are a science person, then this is the place for you! There must have been thousands of pieces on exhibit.

There is More to Florence Museums than the David

Museo Gucci – This was the only museum I went to that you couldn’t get into with the Firenze Card, which is a 72-hour pass for most of the museums in Florence. The Gucci Museum takes you on a tour of the brand from the beginning of the label through its current designs for the red carpet. The only unfortunate thing is that you cannot take photos inside, but their website has great photos of the exhibition rooms.

There is More to Florence Museums than the David

Uffizi Gallery – Beautiful architecture abounds in Florence and Uffizi Gallery is no exception. I would have gone in just to see the inside! However, everywhere you look there is art. Look up because much of it is on the ceiling. Also, look out the windows to see great views of Florence, including the Ponte Vecchio. Allow yourself a few hours as there is a lot to see and lots of people also trying to see it.

Palazzo Pitti – Looking more like a formidable fort than a palace, Palazzo Pitti is a huge museum now. The original building was started in 1458 by Luca Pitti, a banker. There are several museums inside the Pitti, and you can also get a ticket for the Boboli Gardens there. Bring your walking shoes as the Pitti is huge!

There is More to Florence Museums than the David

Museo dell’Opera del Duomo – This magnificent museum has been renovated. Did you love the outside of the Duomo and the Baptistry? Then you will love this place because it features the original decoration and the gold doors of the Baptistry. Didn’t know you were looking at replicas? Sorry to burst your bubble. However, you can get much closer to the carvings and figures in this museum. The attached coffee shop is a great place to rest after seeing the Duomo and the museum.

There is More to Florence Museums than the David

Museo Salvatore Ferragamo – The ultimate shoe lover’s museum. While the museum is small, it is dark and moody just like fashion. There are several decades of Ferragamo shoes on exhibit and foot molds of famous people. The museum was running a temporary exhibition at the time that featured some famous clothing designers as well. They do let you take photos, and there is free wifi, which is good because it’s in the basement with no signal.

There is More to Florence Museums than the David

Accademia Gallery – As I stated early, you still need to see the David while in Florence. Get the pass or buy your tickets in advance. Even with an advanced ticket, I had to wait in line for a bit. Be prepared for crowds inside. Do not go on the first Sunday of the month, as admission is free and the line will be even longer.

There is More to Florence Museums than the David

Medici Chapel – The chapel screams opulence that the Medicis family is known for. The Cappella dei Principi is an array of marble and stones of every known color. However, you wouldn’t know it from the outside as it looks like an abandoned building from the outside.

There is More to Florence Museums than the David

Museum Wish List

With 72 museums and counting, it will take me years of visits to Florence to see them all. However, I am already stalking the ones I didn’t get to visit.

Museo Nazionale del Bargello – The building called to me every time I walked past it, but I was already on a set path for the day. I didn’t even know what was in it until I looked up when I returned home. The main collection consists mostly of sculptures. Sculpture doesn’t attract me much, but it was once a prison, and that is worth seeing.

Basilica of Santa Croce -My white whale! Every time I tried to visit, it was closed. That is the bad planner in me and the fact that a historic football game was being played both weekends. Having read about the Basilica in the book “Dark Water,” which explores the floods of Florence, I knew I needed to visit it. Better planning will allow me to capture her next time!

There is More to Florence Museums than the David

Vasari Corridor – The mysterious walkway from the Uffizi to the Palazzo Pitti. It tempted me from the Uffizi and heckled me from above on the Ponte Vecchio. Now, I know I can actually walk it. You have to book a private tour to see it, though.

There is More to Florence Museums than the David

Museo del Bigallo – Located in the same Piazza as the Palazzo Vecchio, this was another building that intrigued me. Not only that but the sign said free. Learning more about it, there are some stunning frescos inside that I will inspect next time.

I have intentionally kept the wish list small as I love the art of discovery while traveling. This leaves me room to stumble upon a place and truly enjoy it without expectations.

What museums in Florence are your favorites? Share with us in the comments.

Art, Europe, Italy, Museums, Travel

Museo Fortuny in Venice

September 14, 2015

Museo Fortuny

If you haven’t noticed by now, I am a museum nut! I will go to every museum possible on a trip. Now, I am not a spend hours in them kind of person. I am a big believer in art fatigue and information overload. If I spend too long in a museum, I begin not to appreciate what I see. That being said, I still love them. Museo Fortuny in Venice was no exception. So in an effort to see one more museum, I took off to Museo Fortuny the morning of my flight back to Qatar. I knew I had just enough time to get to the museum when it opened and spend an hour there before I needed to return to my hotel to collect my luggage and haul myself to the airport.

Once again, I hadn’t done tons of research on this museum. I had just read about it in the guidebook and saw a banner for it on one of my strolls through the narrow streets of Venice. I did not know that Museo Fortuny was only open when they have a temporary exhibit installed, which the guidebook did not mention. It was a good thing that the museum was running the exhibit “Proportio” to run concurrently with the Venice Biennale. The exhibit was designed to explore the sense of proportion in art.  The pieces ranged from small building size to miniature models. Other pieces felt like they were giving you a sense of the rooms proportions. The exhibition was amazing, and every floor brought a new sense of proportion and feeling to the rooms that they inhabited. My favorite was the all white room that had very minimal art in it. That being said, I must have been too mesmerized by this floor as I only took two photos in this room. One photo is the one below of that is of the windows with the white curtains. The room with the mirrors and the writing on the walls is the “Selfie Studio” and you can see me taking the photo in the mirror.

Museo Fortuny

Museo Fortuny

Museo Fortuny

Museo Fortuny

Museo Fortuny

 

Museo Fortuny

I really wish the museum was open during non-temporary exhibit times with it’s own collection. The description on the website and the pictures I have seen online look amazing. Apparently, Fortuny had a great collection of fashion, textiles, photos and paintings. I particularly love historic fashions and would have enjoyed seeing those. The website does not explain why the permanent collection is never exhibited though. I will have to watch and see if they ever plan to do so.

The museum also had some amazing views from the windows and the ground floor garden.

Museo Fortuny

Museo Fortuny

 

Museo Fortuny

 

So if you are planning a visit to Venice before the end of November, then run to the Museo Fortuny so you don’t miss the current exhibition. Then make your way of over to the Venice Biennale. You can see some of my favorite pieces from that exhibition in this post.

Have you been to the Museo Fortuny? What was showing when you went?

 

Art, Europe, Italy

Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition

August 17, 2015

Venice BiennaleOne of the main reasons for going to Venice this summer was the Venice Biennale . The Biennale takes place every year and odd years are art and even years are architecture. Much of the art is exhibited by country in specific pavilions that have been built over the years. There are two main locations in Venice, one is the Gardini and the other is Arsenale. There are other locations throughout Venice. It currently runs through November 22, 2015. It is open every day, except Mondays, from 10-6. I would highly recommend you buy your tickets online and print them so you do not have to stand in line, as the ticket office does not open until 10. Since I am not an expert on art, I will just give you a photo essay of my favorite pieces in the exhibition. I will say that many of the exhibits were a full sensory experience with sound and smells, which is hard to convey here.

Venice Biennale

Venice Biennale

Venice Biennale

Venice Biennale

Venice BiennaleVenice Biennale

Venice Biennale

Venice BiennaleVenice Biennale

Venice Biennale

Art, Europe, Italy

A Visit to Monster Park!

August 4, 2015

Monster ParkThis is probably the best-kept secret in all of Italy! In the Lazio region of Italy near my friend’s house, is something called the Sacred Wood of Bomarzo or the Parco dei Mostri. The park contains a collection of strange and some frightening pieces of sculpture. The sculptures have been carved out of rock found in the wood. An Italian nobleman named Pier Francesco Orsini in memory of his wife, Giulia Farnese, built the garden in the 16th century. The brochure that was given to us states that the architect was Pirro Ligorio, who completed parts of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. However, some online research says that Michelangelo was the architect, and his student’s completed the work. Either way, this is a unique experience and is not to be missed.

Monster ParkMonster ParkMonster ParkMonster ParkMonsterMonster Park

As you can see, the wooded area is also a beautiful place to visit. During the heat wave that happened that week, the park was a welcome relief being a few degrees cooler than everywhere else. They give you map to the sculptures, but it isn’t very good but does provide great information on the sculptures and the history of the park. Just follow the trails you and you shouldn’t have a problem finding all the sculptures. It took us about an hour to walk through all of it.

Monster Park is located just outside Bomarzo, Italy. You can get there from the A1 highway following the signs for Bomarzo. If you have an Italian GPS, it should get you there with no problems. Google maps directions seem also to be accurate. From April to October the park is open every day from 8:30 am to 7:00 pm and from November through March from 8:30 am to sunset. Adult tickets are €10, and kid tickets are €8. There is also a snack bar on site if you need a break before or after.

What is the strangest attraction you have seen on your travels?

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