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Day Trenta (30) – August 13 – Firenze to Roma September 10, 2008

Filed under: Chronological,Italy — The Travel Guy @ 5:30 am

Before we left Firenze we had one more stop to make.  Thanks to the museums being closed on Monday and our trip to the Cinque Terra on Tuesday we lined up to see the David, Michelangelo’s interpretation of the boy who slew Goliath, in the Galeria dell’Academia on Wednesday morning.  There have been many interpretations of this stunning masterpiece over the years, but this was an opportunity to look at the intricate details and appreciate it for yourself.  It’s interesting to note that originally this statue was to be placed high above the Piazza Duomo which would have given it a very different perspective than viewing it literally at eye level.  Once again, pictures are not allowed inside the museum. 

Michelangelo's David

Michelangelo's David

The Academia’s claim to fame is the David.  But another very effective exhibit is several of Michelangelo’s “unfinished” works.  Here you see a block of marble with an image just starting to emerge.  It’s reported that Michelangelo believed the figure was already in the block of stone and he was simply releasing the image.  The block Michelangelo selected for the David had already been rejected by other artists as being flawed. Clearly he saw something the others . . . who have remained nameless . . . didn’t see.  As you look at the smooth finish and delicate details in these marble statues it’s easy to forget that they were carved with a hammer and chisel and not cast.  Unlike Paris, where all the major works are contained in the Louvre, Firenze has a different approach.  The David is in the Academia but “The Birth of Venus” by Botticelli is in the Uffizi gallery. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had one last walk through the markets on our way back to the hotel and then headed off on our last drive, to Roma.

 

Our accommodation was not in Roma itself, but just southwest in the town of Albano.  This town was created around a crater lake adjacent to the papal residence.  At one time is was used as the garrison for the Roman army. We quickly found B&B Albero Gemello ( http://www.bb-alberogemello.com/index.html ) and our wonderful hosts Mary (MacIsaac) and Mario Munari.  After more than 4 weeks on the road we couldn’t have asked for a nicer place to stay prior to our return home.  They had been recommended to us by a friend and we immediately felt welcome and we became fast friends.  After a quick description of the local area and the sights to be seen, Mary gave us directions to Cantina’s for dinner that were close by.

We then headed into Roma for a look around and to get our bearings.  Although we had been driving in Italia for a week, this was our first exposure to Roma drivers. 

Unlined streets of Roma

Unlined streets of Roma

Many of the streets don’t have lines painted on the road and if they are, it’s mostly symbolic.  Motorcyclists use cars like pylons on a slalom course and Stop signs appear to be more of an idea than even a suggestion.  But once we got used to the driving style we realized that these people were intent on getting somewhere and that was their sole focus.  We didn’t see anyone talking on a cell phone, shaving or doing their make-up. Having said that, finding a car without some sort of scratch or dent is fairly rare, but these appear to be merely misunderstandings between two vehicles.

Castel

Castel Sant' Angelo

We parked along the Tiber River and then walked from Castel Sant’ Angelo.  This was built as a tomb for the emperor and through the Middle Ages as a place of final refuge for popes who were under attack.  There is an elevated corridor that runs from Vatican City to Castel Sant’ Angelo to allow the pope to travel back and forth without being detected.

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

St. Peter's Square and Basilica

St. Peter's Square and Basilica

When we reached St. Peter’s Square it was early evening, so we couldn’t get into any of the major sites but just wandered into the square and marvelled at the sheer size of St. Peter’s.

 

 

  We found our way back to the car and drove back to Albano and sought out the Cantina’s that Mary had described to us.  Her directions were excellent and we quickly located an area that was full of what appeared to be locals enjoying a lovely summer evening.  The 15 of August is a holiday in Italy and it was obvious that people were starting to celebrate a couple of days early.  In all our travels we had always found someone who spoke some English or could provide us with an English version of a menu.  But in Albano, we were a little off the usual tourist track and the Cantina we selected did not speak any English.  So we had some fun with a very patient proprietor as he used hand gestures to walk us through the menu.  In the end he chose a “sampler” plater that tested our adventurous side.  It was an excellent meal with many new tastes and a great spot to experience the local culture.

 

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