Firenze, part 2

It’s an odd thing, to finally get the chance to see works of art that you’ve seen in books, that you’ve studied and analyzed and talked about in classes all your life. It almost feels surreal.

It felt a bit like that when the kids were young and we took them to Paris and went to The Louvre and saw the Mona Lisa. That one was, honestly, a bit of a let down. It’s so small in real life. The best part of that experience was how kind the guards were – seeing the children and coming and getting them, and letting them go in front of the crowds and the rope and right up in front of the painting so they could see.

So, when Tim said he’d booked tickets for Galleria Uffizi and Galleria Accademia, I was excited and also a bit nervous. Would the original David also not live up to the hype? And of all the Renaissance painters I’ve studied, most I’m just “meh” about (Rubens? Whatevs. I mean, Leonardo…sure, fine.) But. BOTTICELLI? Y’all. I love Botticelli. Those faces. The colors. The details. The faces.

We started at Accademia and our tour guide was Rosa, an adorable, tiny Italian lady who held up a red rose (she was so short it was the only way we could locate her in the crowds of people!)

Rape of the Sabine

The David. It was magnificent. It was powerful. It was beyond words. Michelangelo was a genius.

We then commenced the walking portion of our tour through the medieval part of town, learning more about the Medicis and about Dante Alighieri.

Palazzo Vecchio

And finally we went to Galleria Uffizi, where we saw many Renaissance masters…

Rubens

Caravaggio

Leonardo da Vinci

There were lots of statues, all collected by the Medicis…

But…of course, y’all want to know about the Botticellis, don’t you?

Oh. My. Gawd.

They were incredible.

Sure, Birth of Venus is there, and of course it was AMAZING to see this masterpiece in person! But, honestly, it’s not my favorite.

Oh sure, allegory, symbolism, blah blah blah. I know. But, I like art for the way it makes me feel. And…I don’t really feel much with this one. Sorry. I’m not an art expert, I’m just me.

Those are better.

But these…

Look at those faces!

But this is a favorite…

Or maybe the one above it. Oh, I just love Botticelli.

Anyway, it was a great day. The museums themselves were gorgeous. Every ceiling was painted, each itself a work of art. Amazing.

(As you can tell, clearly the art, the museums, the history were just too much for me. It was an amazing, wonderful day. And, truly…gazing upon the angelic, serene, radiant faces that Botticelli painted left me without words…)

Knights in (sort of) Shining Armour 

Thursday we woke up early and met Louise at the entrance to the catacombs…we thought we’d try again to do the ghoulish tour and hopefully beat the crowds by going early. But, no. Again, when we arrived we found a ridiculously long queue around the block. What gives with that? Is every single tourist in Paris  right now really as weird and creepy as we are?

Anyway, we aren’t doing queues. Nope. So we uber-ed (yoo-bayrd) to Le Marais where we walked, and peeked in shops (cute, but yikes! Even with July sales going on it was crazy expensive), and stopped for tea, and walked (A LOT) more. Louise’s boyfriend, Vivien, joined us for lunch and then they took us on a tour of St. Eustache and pointed out other interesting sights along the way. 




St. Eustache was beautiful. Really, really beautiful. Quite honestly, I thought it was more beautiful than Sacre Couer. And Notre Dame is lovely, true, in an old, gothic way…but so dark. It’s hard to see. Trust me, if you’re in Paris, avoid the lines and go to Le Marais/Les Halles and walk through this magnificent old church. The pipe organ is the largest in France and Mozart’s mother’s funeral was held here. (Also Molière was married here, among other notables)





Today was our last full day together before Paige checks into her dorm and I head home. We decided to spend it in Provins and it was a perfect day. 


Once we arrived in Provins, we walked through town and up, up, up the hill to the “old” town, where we wandered and admired…











And then, after fully admiring the age and quaint beauty of Provins, we settled down to watch La Légendes des Cheveliers. It was dramatic. It was well choreographed. It was fun and exciting. The feats of horsemanship were amazing. The several hundred French schoolchildren who were there on school trips seemed to enjoy the show as much as we did!