Getting Cultured in Florence

Today  we made a major change in scenery. After a three hour drive, which was only broken up by a single pit stop at a gas station where I filled up on as much Italian candy as I could, we made it to the beautiful city of Florence. After we were given an hour to relax in our new hotel (which is incredibly cool in design) we made our way downstairs for a meeting with our new tour guide.

The first place she took us too was the Duomo of Florence. This church was enormous and elaborate with three different colors of marble comprising its exterior. We learned that you could actually go up to the top of the dome, which is also the highest point in the entire city, but the lines are normally enormous unless you get there super early. The church was just breathtaking to look at because of its sheet size and the intricate details everywhere with its statues. There was also another building directly across from the Duomo that had a 24k gold door with twele frames depicting scenes from the early testament.

Directly following this we made our way to the Uffizi, which is one of the most famous and prestigious art galleries in the world. It contains paintings by incredibly famous artists such as Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci. The gallery itself was incredibly expansive to the point where I was losing track of the painting I was seeing. One thing we realty had to pay attention to, however, was the stark differences between the fashion from back then and the fashion currently.

Obviously a big difference would be that they wore robes almost everywhere. For example, in every painting we saw the people were either naked or they were wearing long, flowing robes. This was the case for both men and women of course. Today, however, we no longer do anything like that. We wear standard clothes like shirts and jeans when we go out. Another big difference is the difference between the classes and their clothes. For example, most of the average or poor people of ancient Rome or Greece would wear simple tunics for every day use. The wealthy, however, would wear higher quality robes that were larger, more elaborate, and often times made of different materials like silk. Today, the difference is not as distinct. For example, most of our clothes are made from the same materials and the only difference is the name brand. Some name brands make a higher quality material but they don’t always look that different from other name brands.

Another difference would be the uses for the clothes and how they are worn. Out tour guide mentioned in one of the rooms that in those times they would often wear many layers so that they could change any of them. One thing they couldn’t change, however, (for women specifically) was their busts. They also couldn’t wash these articles of clothing so they tended to smell. Today, however, people, for the most part, will wash their clothes if they have the opportunity to try to keep them clean. Also we don’t necessarily try to wear as many layers as we can. Instead we pick an outfit in the beginning of the day and wear that for the rest of the time. Also back then they also practiced wearing a belt below the chest and above the stomach as a symbol for pregnancy among women. Today there aren’t any practices or clothing styles that are specifically used to show pregnancy. There are clothes that are made to fit the shape of a pregnant woman but they don’t specifically serve the purpose of showing they are pregnant.

To end the tour of the Uffizi we had a lucky opportunity to see the newly restored “Adoration of the Magi” painting by Leonardo da Vinci. The painting was being restored for a few years and arrived at the gallery six days before we got there. The painting itself was incredible and is very important because, since it was never finished, it gives insight into the process Leonardo took when creating his masterpieces because it is visible where he focused his work and where he left spaces to work on later.

We finished the day with a delicious meal courtesy of our fantastic ISA guide Diego and then we went back to the hotel to relax. The first day in Florence was definitely one to remember and I am looking forward to see what else this city has in store.

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