[ blog » 2022 » 03_Firenze ]Florence pt. II ( by Philipp Gesang, location: On the road near Genova)

Museums: Start of a Season

One week in Florence barely suffices for visiting just the most famous of its museums. I still had unfinished business in the Uffizi which I took care of on Tuesday. Fewer antique sculptures this time and loads of renaissance paintings instead. Also this time around the density of American visitors had noticably increased. Where last week I had Laokoon all to myself for a few minutes, now it was beleaguered by crowds at all times. The atmosphere suffered a lot. On multiple occasions I had to leave the room and return later to appreciate one of the exhibits because I suddenly saw myself surrounded by the hordes of a guided tour. It must be purgatory coming here during high season.

These days the statue of David is being kept in the Galleria dell’Accademia where it seems a little of out place as one of the few statues in what is actually a collection of christian art covering a wide historic range from high medieval times to the renaissance. Stark naked David sticks out quite a bit among all those pious faces. Still worth a visit despite the odd arrangement.

One final museum day left on Friday, and so many things I still hadn’t seen. It was a tough choice but in the end I chose the Archeological Museum over the Palazzo Pitti – ultimately my motivation was that while we do have plenty of renaissance works in Germany, Etruscan artefacts are rather rare. And indeed that museum is home to some spectacular ones! Absolute highlights were the fantasmorrific Bestia di Arezzo and the Arrenditore, a bronze of a native Etruscan colleague of Cicero’s. Also of note the lack of inscriptions in the funerary urn section. While in Perugia almost all the urns had a formulaic, “Larth son of Aule” type inscription on the lower part of the lid, only a few of those on display here in Florence do. Fascinating.

Apart from the local history, the museum also has substantial Egyptian and Greek sections. The former boasts numerous luxurious sarcophagi, sets of canopi of excellent make, and some well preserved papyrus rolls. The Greek section impressed with ceramic wares that made their Etruscan counterparts from the same period look primitive, some of them so elaborate and voluminous they must have taken the artist months to paint.

The Road: End of a Season

The weather was significantly warmer this week with temperatures consistently over ten degrees, but also cloudy more often than not. So no tanlines yet but I got to use a short sleeve jersey for the first time this year all the while technically it was still winter.

Sticking with my schedule I got two rides in during the week. I started on Monday with another ascent of the Poggio Pratone, this time taking the west route that passes through Fiesole. Which is arguably the more scenic option thanks to the stunning panorama of the city that one gets to enjoy for most of the climb.

Ride two on Thursday finally took me to the equally scenic heights of the Via dei colli alti, northwest of the city, a touristic road that runs around the Monte Morello massif at around 600 m altitude. Along that road numerous halting points allow enjoying the superb view over the Arno plain, or would have allowed if it hadn’t been for a freezing cold wind and thick, low clouds that threatened to unload their wet payload any moment. The descent wasn’t that pleasant either, consisting of a series of short switchbacks down a steep slope of negative 10 % according to the signage, negative 19 % according to Garmin.

All in all some fun climbing was had this week and most importantly the legs played along without cramping, a clue that despite very little training I made it through this winter in better shape than the last one. The final test of which was still awaiting me on Saturday.


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