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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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November 06, 2015

Thursday - and I "do" the Uffizi Museum

Once again, I allowed myself a leisurely morning and wasn't real sure what I was going to do with myself for the day - there was no pressing need to see one or more important things.  But one thing I have never visited on my trips to Florence has been the Uffizi Museum and I had decided that was one thing I would definitely do on this trip.  You are always advised to make a reservation and that was one thing that had kept me from getting around to it.  How did I know if I could be there by 10:15 or 3:30 or whatever?  But I had already talked to the hotel woman about getting me a ticket and yes, she could do that.  So Thursday I thought well, I'll walk down to the Duomo (it's on the way to the Uffizi so that's why) and then on my way to the Uffizi I'd wander around a bit and see if I could find the Perque No? gelato place and the hole-in-the-wall sandwich place that I've enjoyed so much.  Didn't find them but figured I could look again sometime and got myself to the Uffizi.  There was a shortish line and I thought "well, that's no so bad I don't mind waiting that long" but when I went to enter the line there was a sign that was something about reservations.  So I asked the couple in front of me and they said you  have to have your ticket for this line.  I asked where the "need a ticket" line was and they pointed to the round sign that said #1 (theirs said #2) and there wasn't a single person in it!!!  So I walked to it, went in, got my ticket and Bob's your uncle.  I have seen that line so long that you just think oh, those poor people - they'll be there forever.

And I managed I think to visit every room.  I stayed in some longer than others and took bunches of pictures since I'm so thrilled Italy started allowing that.  The only problem with taking pictures of pictures in a museum is that they NEVER look anywhere near as good as they do in real life.  But one is compelled to take them anyway.  I took some of paintings I recognized and I took a lot of ones I didn't recognize.  Maybe you'll see some you recognize too.  There's one I'm sure you will.  Sure wish I had had Sister Wendy with me because their audio guide wasn't really very helpful - just told you about the same as their cards by each picture - nothing about what certain things in the picture represent, etc.  So without further ado here are 41 pictures and I want you to know that's winnowed down from 100 that I took.

In the picture above I'm standing probably about 12 feet or so in front of this end of the great hall that extends down to that white block you see in the center.  The Uffizi is an enormous U-shaped building so there are two of these windowed arms that look out on each other on one side and the city on the other.  However, I think all the art is contained in one side of the U because we went up and downstairs between two floors but as far as I could tell, I never went across to another side of the U.  But I could be totally wrong also.  Incidentally, the Uffizi started life as an office building in 1560 when it was commissioned by Cosimo I de Medici.  In 1581 one of the Medicis made one floor of the east wing into a museum that housed the Medici's growing collection of artworks.  It's funny to do a Google search, and on the right side up pops the block of info as it always does for big companies or museums or whatever.  And along with phone numbers, current director's name and such is "founded 1581" and "founded by Francesco I de Medici" (he was the one who started the museum).  Probably not too many anythings can claim such a long, continuous, line from beginning to present.

 Lots of Mary's and babies.  I found this one interesting because of the dark skin.  I've often thought that taking into account what part of the world Jesus was born in, he could very well have been dark skinned.
 The ceilings everywhere were gorgeous - a lot of them were decorated on this order.
 This is one of the angles in the octagonal room called the Tribuna which was added to the already built Uffizi in 1584.  There is one of these lovely panels at each angle and the shiny ivory colored part of the design is mother-of-pearl mosaic.  The tribunal is considered very special and I'm not real sure why - it contains mostly statuary and some paintings but so does the rest of the museum so...
 This one and the one below were familiar to me and it's always nice to see something you can recognize.

I really like the look of this old man - he seems very thoughtful and at peace with life.  And I really liked this portrait the pretty girl below but I also took a picture of her because her name is "Zingerella" and it made me wonder if Grimm chose Cinderella for his pretty girl after seeing this. :)

 If the nakedness offends I'm sorry - I avoided pictures of the statuary for the most part but this one was no more than 3 feet tall and is a statue of Cupid and Psyche and I really liked it.  Very tender.
 This painting and one later on just kind of blew me away with this very finely detailed grass and flower painting.
Oops, there she is - out one of the windows.  It looks like a painting, actually.
 I had never seen a monochromatic painting from the "olden days" before and found it a nice change after all the gilt and very rich and sometimes very dark paint.
 And here's Socrates for my daughter, January.  January what about that nose???  I think this is a wonderful bust.  He looks so very real - not stylized at all.
 And I forget who this is - I recognized the name but I can't remember it now.  I loved it though - she seems to be thinking "oh, Calgon, take me away""
 And I don't remember ever seeing a statue of a person asleep except for death masks which doesn't count - they're dead.  She looks so very natural.
 I'm not real sure why, but I really loved this painting.  I think for one thing all the detail - all the folds and billows of their clothes I think is fabulous.
 Another guy I recognized.
 And, of course, the piece de resistance, The Birth of Venous by Botticelli.  This is the one painting that probably everyone who visits the Uffizi feels they must see.  It is beautiful and I had seen Sister Wendy's view of it on one of her episodes so liked seeing it for myself. If you visit THIS link you can watch that review.
 An unpainted but beautiful ceiling.

 This is where I had lunch with a nice glass of wine.  I enjoyed the fountain next to my table cause wee little birds kept coming to it for a little sip of water.  With the high wall around it all I saw was the top of the Duomo but that was nice to see.  And below is the Palazzo Vecchio and its tower which Chris and I climbed last year.  While sitting there looking at them all, I realized I've climbed the Duomo, the bellower, the Palazzo Vecchio tower and not seen here the hill to San Miniato twice and the Boboli Gardens once and this year I was practically done in by the Monumental Staircase in the Uffizi.  I took the close up below cause it gives a glimpse of what's inside all those recesses - looks to be different coats of arms or something similar.

 Loved this one of two children blowing bubbles.  I never would have guessed that blowing bubbles went back that far.
 This is Socrates taking the hemlock and I'm wondering about the three other people appearing to be dead or dying.
 This the card said is alleged to Rousseau, a famous poet and he certainly looks roguish and foppish enough to be one.
 Another painting I recognize and like.
This was in a room of all statuary and is Zeus with lots of hair.
 I've always liked this statue when I've seen pictures of it and I liked seeing it "in the real".
 And here at the other end of the statuary room is Zeus still with lots of hair.
 This is a painting of the Annunciation (of which there were many).  I enjoyed this one because here's this young woman quietly sitting outside reading a book and along comes an angel to say "um, you're going to have a baby".  That gentle hand thrown up and back does indicate a little shock.

 Probably can't see it but way over and up on a hill is San Miniato.
And, finally finished at the Uffizi, I say goodbye to the Duomo for the day.  Walking back, I noticed a baby stroller coming towards me and realized I had seen her in the museum and said "bella" to the mother.  About that time, the mother smiled and recognized me too and it turned out they were American so we had a nice little chat.  And I'm trying to think where I had dinner Thursday night - it was good - ah, it's coming back.  I sat next to a couple from Australia and again at some point, we struck up a conversation which went on until they left.  Very nice people and they are house and dog sitting for some friend of theirs who lives outside Rome so they have a house, a car, and it's for 3 months!  I had a cheese and spinach ravioli with an eggplant and tomato sauce that was very tasty.  The pasta at the restaurants is always fresh made and the sauces are usually made with fresh tomatoes.  Mmm-mmmm.

So, phew!  I'm done.  Long but it was a very nice day.

Till Friday, then, I will say ciao!

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