Venice, Florence, and Rome

In October 2019 Bruce and I went on a Rick Steves Tour Group to Venice, Florence, and Rome

 Burano, an island off Venice, Italy

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” -St. Augustine

Venice was founded over 1,500 years ago on 117 different islands that are linked by 150 canals and 400 bridges.

Venice: uniquely picturesque, absorbing, romantic, historic, a pioneer, and definitely a survivor.

I find it fascinating that the current buildings are built on the original wooden piles!  How can that be – well, the wood is secured because the soil is so water logged that there’s no free oxygen in it, so there’s no decay.

To make the islands fit for living, Venice’s early settlers drained areas of the lagoon, dug canals and supported the banks in preparation for building. On top of these stakes, they placed wooden platforms and then stone and then the buildings.

Venice is at constant risk for flooding. The city has survived Napoleon, and two world wars. When the plague struck, Venice invented the concept of quarantine. What a survivor!

Michelangelo’s David

This centuries old original sculpture of the David is in the Accademia Gallery of Florence. David is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture, created in marble between 1501 and 1504, by the Italian artist Michelangelo

Being practically alone with Michelangelo’s David was a tender hearted, mind-boggling experience.

Some interesting little know facts about Michelangelo’s David:

Michelangelo created David from a piece of marble that had been  discarded by other sculptors. The block of marble that became one of history’s most famous masterpieces proves the cliché: one man’s trash is another’s treasure.

 Agostino di Duccio gave up on a project using the block, after which the marble was untouched for 10 years. Then, Antonio Rossellino tried to work with the block of marble but also gave up on it.

The block of marble had been waiting for 40 years when Michelangelo was up to the challenge of carving the marble. 

Also, something like 8 million visitors a year tread through the Galleria dell’Accademia to take in the sculpture of David. Studies show that all this foot traffic creates vibrations that are tearing at the centuries old marble.

Our Rick Steves tour group in front of the Colosseum in Rome.

Many more ponderings to come…

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