DAY 1: FLORENCE! --Florence is the home of the Renaissance. We have talked the Renaissance when learning about artists. The word Renaissance means rebirth. Before the Renaissance the arts were not important. Science and music were not valued either. In fact, the time before the Renaissance was often called the Dark Ages. Not because it was dark, but because there was no learning going on. That all changed in Florence.
The best Renaissance art in Europe is found in Florence. The Uffizi Art Gallery is rated as one of the very best in the world. Florentine art goes beyond paintings and statues — the food, fashion, and street markets are all a delight.
It is here you can stroll the same pedestrian streets walked by Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, while enjoying what is the world's best gelato. This week we will visit the most important sites in Florence.
FACE OF CREATIVITY: AROUND THE WORLD 4K is an international unique project which covers all the continents. The main objective of the project is to create video materials from over 70 countries and broadcast them on Youtube. AROUND THE WORLD 4K focuses on the most famous tourist spots on all the continents. The video uses 4K and 6K --which is considered ULTRA high definition technology -- to bring viewers an incredible look at the world.
The Link to look at more remarkable places is HERE
DAY 2: The Duomo
The Piazza del Duomo is the heart of Florence, and it's not just some dusty old cathedral – it is a shocking vision in pink, white and green marble, with stripes and rectangles, rosette windows, licorice-rope arches, geometric patterns, shining sculptures, every inch is covered! It looks much like giant stone gingerbread houses, brilliant in the sunlight.
The Duomo, which is the Italian word for cathedral, is a Florence landmark and architectural tour de force. A tour de force means something is a first time triumphant success. In the 15th century no one had even thought of putting such a big dome onto a cathedral. When work began, most thought it would fall down – hundreds of years later, the dome is still the largest masonry (stone and bricks) dome in the world.
Surprisingly, the inside of the duomo is somewhat of a disappointment. The interior isn't nearly as spectacular as the pink and mint green exterior. However, it is fun to stand under the dome and look up --imaginging what it must have been like working up that high!
The Baptistery sits just in front of the entrance to the Duomo. It is the oldest building in Florence, and the spot where kids were baptized each year on March 25.
Before going in, everyone stops to look at the each of the three doors, showing Old Testament stories from the Bible. They are very valuable --in fact they are so valuable that the doors you see are replicas. The real ones are in a museum in Florence so they can be protected.
When you step inside the Baptistery prepare to be overwhelmed! Bring binoculars to see the amazing detail in the mosaics high above with intricate details such as snakes coming out of the ears of a devil with blue horns. WOW!
FACE OF CREATIVITY - Filippo Brunelleschi (1377 - 1446) would become known as one of the leading engineers and architects of the Italian Renaissance period. He achieved what many thought was impossible when he constructed the huge dome above the Duomo. Today it is still a mystery how he managed to achieve that feat.
DAY 3: Palazzo Vecchio is a fortress palace. It was designed and built in 1298 for the signoria (city government). It remains the seat of the city's power, home to the mayor's office and the municipal council.
During their time in office the members of thesignoria lived in the palace. In 1540 Cosimo I made the palace his residence and centre of government. Cosimo was a member of the Medici --a ruling family that controlled Florence for hundreds of years.
A huge salon inside the palace is filled with gigantic swirling battle scenes. These glorify Florentine victories by Cosimo I over arch-rivals Pisa and Siena. Cosimo, himself, is portrayed as a god in the centre of the exquisite paneled ceiling.
On rain-free days, a climb up 418-steps inside the tower, provides most the brilliant panorama view of the city.
FACE OF CREATIVITY: The Medici family were wool merchants and bankers. The family was extremely wealthy. Giovanni de Medici started the Medici bank. His son, Cosimo became the leader of the Florence in 1434. The Medici family ruled Florence for the next 200 years.
The Medici are most famous for their patronage of the arts. Patronage is where a wealthy person or family sponsors artists. They would pay artists commissions for major works of art. The Medici patronage had a huge impact on the Renaissance, allowing artists to focus on their work without having to worry about money.
The Medici supported Michelangelo, Raphael, Donatello, and Leonardo da Vinci. The Medici didn't just support the arts and architecture. They also supported science. They supported the famous scientist Galileo.
The Medici became Popes in the Roman Catholic Church: Pope Leo X (1513–1521),Pope Clement VII (1523–1534), Pius IV, and Pope Leo XI (1605); two regent queens of France were also Medicis--Catherine de' Medici (1547–1559) and Marie de' Medici (1600–1610).The Medici influence was everywhere.
The Medici coat of arms features red balls (palle) on a golden background. It’s spheres, not circles, because the Medici supporters, in times of political instability, used to show their appreciation for the family screaming “Palle! Palle! Palle!” (“Balls! Balls! Balls!”). No one knows for sure what they represent, or why they are all red with one blue one, but the Medici coat of arms is found all over Florence of buildings. the Medici's are Florence. The Medici's are the Renaissance!
Leonardo da Vinci
DAY 4: The Art Museums - the Ufizzi, the Accademia, the Bargello
The Uffizi The Uffizi contains some of the most famous works of art in the world, including works by Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci. The museum was originally designed and built as administrative offices for Cosimo de' Medici in 1560. It was designed by Cosimo's favourite artist, Vasari, in the U-shape that still exists to this day. The Uffizi is believed to have served as a recreation and work space for famous artists, including Michelangelo --Medici money gave the artists a place to live and create. In 1769 the Uffizi was opened to the public, making it one of the first modern museums in history. Most of the portraits of the Medici's are found at the Uffizi. The coat of arms is found throughout the Uffizi --even on the elaborate ceilings.
The Accademia: Accademia Gallery (Galleria dell'Accademia di Firenze) is a museum in Florence, Italy, also known as the Museum of Michelangelo. The building itself isn't very special, but what is inside is!
The most famous work of art in Accademia Gallery is Michelangelo's David. The statue was created in 1501 - 1504 from one single marble block is 17 feet tall. Accademia Gallery also houses other work by Michelangelo including the Prisoners(four unfinished sculptures) that were meant for Pope Julius II's tomb that are in the gallery leading to David. Visiting the Accademia to see the statue of David is so popular that tourists have to book reservations ahead of their visit to Florence in order to go inside.
The Bargello: The Bargello is the National sculpture museum, located in Florence. The building, begun in 1250, was the city’s first seat of government (before Palazzo Vecchio); in a later time it became a jail, and in the 19th century it was restored and turned into the museum you can now visit.
Two of the most famous sculptures here are Donatello's, "David" which looks very different from the David by Michelangelo in the Accademia and Michelangelo's, "Bacchus." It is hard to believe both these sculptures were carved from marble!
The San Marco Museum: The Florentine Museum of San Marco occupies the oldest part of an ancient Dominican monastery, and houses the largest collection in the world of the works of Fra Angelico (Beato Angelico), who lived here for several years.
The visit to San Marco includes the beautiful cells, the Cloister of St. Anthony, the Last Supper Hall, the Refectory and the Chapter Hall. True jewels of the Museum of San Marco are the art works by Fra Angelico, including the world famous Annunciation, a masterpiece of Renaissance painting.
The second floor houses the old monks’ cells, decorated with frescoes of great beauty. Made between 1438 and 1446, they bear witness to the art of Fra Angelico never made in a monastery before.
FACE OF CREATIVITY: Fra Angelico and Fra Savonarola
Fra Angelico's painting of Mary being told by Gabriel that she would have a son --found in Savonarola's cell.
Fra Angelico in old age
Fra Angelico and Fra Savonarola were both monks in San Marco, but their views were very different. Fra Angelico was a major part of the Renaissance. His paintings and frescoes were full of beauty and emotion. His art is treasured today in Florence, with tourists marveling at his creations in San Marco and other places in Florence.
Fra Savonarola despised the Renaissance. He saw the Renaissance as evil, condemning the attention given to the objects and ideas of this time. He believed they took away from how he viewed Christianity. Savonarola was a powerful man in Florence. He even had homeless boys help him locate Renaissance objects to burn --this became known as bonfire of the vanities. Vanity is self-love. Eventually the people turned on Savonarola, and he was executed.
Both men displayed their creativity in different ways --one within the context of sharing his art in a way to inspire, and the other actively seeking to destroy ideas he felt would be the downfall of man. Both men very different, but both committed to what they believed.
DAY 5: Other Sites! The Ponte Vecchio is a medieval stone closed-arch bridge over the Arno River, in Florence, noted for still having shops built along it, as was once common. Most of the shops sell the precious Florence gold. By the way, the windows across the top are actually a passageway from one side of the river to the next that was used during the Renaissance by the Medici.
The Tomb of Michelangelo can be visited at Santa Croce, another historic church in Florence.
The Medici Chapels: The church of San Lorenzo was the official church of the Medici. A section of it became their mausoleum --the place that held their tombs and remained so up to the time the Medici lost power. the chapels contain famous sculptures by Michelangelo and intricate marble and tile work.