On our last day in Italy, we went to the Peggy Guggenheim exhibit. She was a patron of the arts. Peggy Guggenheim’s parents died in the Titanic. Her daughter added to her exhibit and starred in an art show at the age of 12. She later committed suicide of a drug overdose in the 1960s. Peggy was buried at her house with her “beloved babies” (dogs) in 1979. Her house was made into the exhibit and housed many pieces of Modern Art. This was great to see in comparison to all the classical art we had been seeing up to this point.
Later we went shopping and I bought a leather Venetian mask and a metal Venetian mask. I loved walking around the shops in Venice just to see all the different types of masks and jewelry made with Murano glass.
We later went to dinner at the fanciest restaurant I had ever been to.
First thing in the morning, we took a boat out to Murano and we saw all the little shops which had Murano glass and then saw them actually blowing glass.
Then we went to Lido, which is a beach island near Venice and had lunch there. I really liked this Island, more than Siena even. It was quiet and I wish we could’ve spent more time there.
After that, we went to the Manet exhibit. We saw all of Manet work. There we also saw Venus of Urbino, which was supposed to be in the Uffizi Gallery. They used the Venus of Urbino in comparison to Manet’s Olympia. Venus of Urbino was based on the god while Olympia is clearly human, a prostitute to be exact. In each painting, the woman has a companion: Venus had a dog, a sign of loyalty, and Olympia had a black cat, which identified her as a prostitute. The servants in the Venus are getting her clothes ready for the day, showing us that she does not stay nude all day, but the Olympia servant brings her flowers, maybe from a client, instead of clothes, showing us that she might spend her day nude.
After taking another train to Venice, we went to our hotel: the Hotel Villa Rosa. The best part of this hotel was that there was a hotel dog ready to greet all of us.
We walked around Venice and went to Piazza San Marco. There were no motorized vehicles and all you could hear was the sound of other people and, of course, pigeons. Napoleon considered it “the drawing room of Europe.” It is surrounded by churches, museums, restaurants, and the library the was in Indian Jones. Also, there was the bridge of Sighs which was the last view for the convicts before they were imprisoned. My favorite part of the Piazza was the zodiac clock.
After seeing the Piazza, we were free to shop until dinner. This was a pretty easy day.
We took a day trip to Siena today. Siena was one of the prettiest cities in Italy in my opinion. It was so small and charming.
While there we saw the Duomo di Siena. It combined French Gothic ,Tuscan Romanesque architecture, and Classical architecture. The inside had mosaic floors and a beautiful dome. Michelangelo and Bernini had many statues inside including Michelangelo’s statue of Saint Paul. One thing that really stood out to me in the cathedral was the use of distance and a vanishing point to make it look larger.
After spending the rest of our time in Siena eating and shopping, we returned to Florence to shop one last time and eat at Pino’s one last time. Pino’s was our eating spot in Florence because we ate almost every meal there. I ended up spending almost all of my money in the markets buying purses, jewelry, scarfs, and souvenirs for family and friends.
First we had an early morning appointment to see the statue of David in the Academia. On the way there we lost about half the group due to the marathon going on in Florence that day, “Run like a Deejay.” Eventually they caught up and we saw Michelangelo’s work. When you first walk in you see all of his work in progress making a walkway and then right at the end of that walkway was the statue of David. The work in progress was cool because you saw how he sort of dug to find a person, or art, in each block of marble. The statue of David was one of the coolest pieces of art I’ve seen this whole trip. The detail, specifically on his hand, was something you couldn’t see from a picture or online. So it was really nice to see it in person.
Then we went inside the Gates of Paradise, also known as the Florence Baptistery. Everything was so gold inside and the ceiling was super elaborate.
Then we saw the Ponte Vecchio, also known as the Old Bridge. It was lined with shops and had the statue of Benvenuto Cellini which was surround by a fence with locks of it. The idea behind the locks was of love and lovers: by locking the lock around the fence and throwing the key into the river, the lovers became eternally bonded.
We went to the Uffizi Gallery Museum where no pictures were allowed. There we saw a lot of Botticelli’s art work including The Birth of Venus and La Primavera. The museum consisted of countless Madonna with child paintings all portrayed differently but had the same message behind them. I think my personal favorite was La Primavera by Botticelli.
After that we went to the Monastery, The Convent of San Marco. Inside were elaborate paintings on the wall, most of which were the Crucifix of Christ and his followers. We also saw what type of paint they use to paint the wall and saw old song books.
Lastly that night we went to a Wine Tasting with Pino. I learned more about wine then I ever could imagine. We learned that white wine should always be transparent and it contains flowers and white fruits. I learned that red wine contains spices and fruit and shouldn’t be transparent.
We left the Hotel in Rome by Train to get to the Hotel Byron in Florence. The hotel was much nicer here. We have our own beds and a bigger bathroom. Score!
We first walked for lunch at Pino’s. Then we walked to see the Duomo cathedral.
We also learned about the Gates of Paradise leading into the Florence Baptistery. These were bronze doors built by Lorenzo Ghiberti and were named by Michelangelo. Twenty panels on the doors were depicting the life of Christ in the New Testament.
First thing in the morning, we visited the inside of the great Saint Peter’s Church.
I personally was very disappointed with St. Peter’s because I thought I was going to feel something there that I didn’t really get. Maybe because how touristy it was or how many things were closed off. To me, I felt that the church wasn’t as much of a church as it was a tourist attraction, which I felt at most churches, but I really enjoyed how extravagant it was.
My favorite part of St. Peter’s was the statue of Mary holding Jesus. I felt like the story was beautiful and I really enjoyed that Michelangelo created her to look younger because she kept her purity. This story really intrigued me.
I love looking at old ruins, so while walking around the city, I kept seeing all of these beautiful ruins among the hustle and bustle of Rome.
I also loved the catacombs of the Church of Basilica San Clemente. There was such history in there and although I couldn’t take any pictures, I feel like that experience will last forever. I loved the 4th century church still laid hidden under the 12th century church. Although it smelt pretty strange, I liked how there were layers and layers and layer. I also like how one of the tombs had both Pagan and Christian writing on it, just in case, so they were prepared for their afterlife.
I got a picture out front of the Church of Basilica San Clemente, looking down on the Colosseum again.