Since it was our last day in Florence, yesterday’s goal was to finish up some things I had not yet seen in the city. First on that list was to look around at the Florence Leather Market with some friends. Although I did not make any purchases, I enjoyed seeing all of the tents filled with leather purses, backpacks, jackets, and wallets. The vendors pride themselves on selling items made in Italy, and I’m sure that’s what draws so many tourists to this area for a genuine leather souvenir. Individuals looking to purchase can attempt to negotiate with the vendors for a lower price, which I found interesting to observe because in my experience in the U.S., prices are generally fixed.
After the leather market, we gathered with the group to the Accademia Gallery. There, we went through a security system similar to airport security or the system we saw in place the other day in the Ufizzi Gallery. Once inside, our tour guide showed us the first statue the gallery had to offer. It was beautiful, but I was eager to see the famous David statue. Because it is the most famous piece in the gallery, I expected it to be at the very end. To my surprise, then, it was literally at the end of the hallway in the second room we entered. Along both sides of the room leading up to the impeccable David were erroneous sculptures by Michelangelo. Not dissimilar from the leather artisan’s craft, sculptors must make every move carefully because a mistake in, say, body proportions may deem an entire hunk of marble unusable. I typically think of art as a free-flowing expression with no strict rules to be followed, but observing the creations of Florence has shown me otherwise. My takeaway regarding artistic expressions is that they can often be likened to scientific experiments in the precision they require.
The final part of the group tour was an inside look at the Duomo in Florence. Because of the strict dress code for many Italian cathedrals, some of the group opted out of this part of the tour. I stayed in line and was addressed by a guard, who explained that my knee-length dress may be too short for me to get in. I used a jacket to cover my knees, but once inside another guard told me that I did not need to worry about it. This encounter differed greatly from any other experience I have had entering churches in the U.S. I was surprised that an outfit I would wear to Mass at home was considered too revealing for a church visit in Italy.
The Duomo, which was built with the intention of making the largest cathedral in the world, was beautiful on the inside. Similar to the one in Milan, its ceilings were enormously high and great detail was put into every aspect of the design.
After the tours, I grabbed lunch with some of the group in a small pizza restaurant, where we were slightly confused by the choice of music because The Beach Boys’ Christmas music was playing. Honestly, though, I was just happy to get some margherita pizza and be off my feet for a moment and I like The Beach Boys so I had no complaints. This morning we are heading to Verona, where we will take a walking tour. I’ll be back with my last week of blogs soon!