Italy Day 2: Florence Part 2

Our next stop with our tour guide was to one of the main attractions of Florence. The Baptistery of St John. Until World War II all babies born in Florence were baptized here. The annual festivities for St John the Baptist, still celebrated on June 24th, were considered very important during the Middle Ages and lasted for three days. During these festivities they would also do a population count of the city since everyone was attending and all new babies were baptized. It was redesigned in the 12th century to look the way it does today.

Right across from the Baptistry is the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. At the end of the 13th century the Florentines wanted to build “the most beautiful cathedral that could be made.” They had a rule that no one was allowed to enter the cathedral unless they had been baptized so during the annual celebration of St John the Baptist babies would be baptized then would walk through the doors of the baptistry then into the doors of the cathedral.

Both sets of these doors are located at the baptistry. They are done by Lorenzo Ghiberti. This first set has 28 panels depicting the life of Christ. It took 22 years to make these doors.

These doors were commissioned in 1425 at the eastern entry of the baptistry (facing the cathedral). They were later called “the Gates of Paradise” by Michelanfelo for their unequaled beauty. These doors illustrate the stories of the Old Testament and took 27 years to complete. The details are incredible!!!

You can see the layered, 3D effect

From from the “Gates of Paradise” to cathedral doors

Story of David and Goliath (Kye’s favorite!)

One part we don’t tell Kye…David did cut off Goliath’s head πŸ™‚ Veggie Tales doesn’t show that for some reason!

More of the Cathedral

It’s so crazy how many DETAILS are in EVERYTHING!

Mary and Jesus watching over everything

The apostles are all beside Mary and Jesus

And this is supposed to be God at the head of it all, the triangle represents the holy trinity

Filippo Brunelleschi worked on this Dome for 16 years (1420-1446) until he died and he was never able to see it’s completion. This dome is still the first image that strikes every visitor arriving in Florence by car or plane. So you have an idea of how HUGE it is…see the tiny, tiny little ball at the very tip top (it’s gold in color). 12 people can fit inside of that!!! This thing was MASSIVE!

This was one of the engravings along the side of the dome…several of the depicted different jobs of people in the city during that time period. This one is of doctors collecting urine from people to check them for illnesses.  They would often taste it to try to figure out what was wrong with someone!

More views of the Dome

There were TONS of street venders in front of the dome. It was funny to me the things they were selling. Tripods for cameras, these obnoxious balls (they would throw it hard onto the ground and it would go flat then form back into a ball…no we didn’t buy Kye one…), and artwork they made of celebrities. Who wants a hand drawn picture of Angelina Jolie hanging in their living room???

No tripod needed because we had our tour guide take our picture!

Italy time was 6 hours ahead of Georgia time. Since Brittlynn is on a nursing schedule, my body is also on that same schedule. I pumped right when I woke up but that was like midnight Georgia time so I got pretty uncomfortable pretty quickly that day. I wasn’t “due” to pump until 1:00 our time (which would be Britt’s first feeding of the day at 7) but that’s a long time for my body to go. Sure, at home I’m asleep (I feed her at 7 pm then not again until 7 am) so I’m not uncomfortable. But walking around for that long of a time period made my body want to get rid of the milk! 

I was hoping to hold out until we stopped for lunch but our sweet guide was a little long winded and it was already after 1:00 when we got done with the dome. I told her I HAD to do my pumping! She took us to a super nice bathroom that cost me 1 euro to use. I know that’s CRAZY that they charge for public restrooms. But it was SO WORTH IT. In Paris the bathrooms were so bad I couldn’t sit down to pump. This bathroom was wonderful. It took me over 20 min to pump and I felt really guilty about Zach having to sit out there with the tour guide that long waiting on me. I downloaded some books on my tablet to read while pumping and it worked out great (I read Mini Shopaholic from the Shopaholic series). 

When I got done we had to rush to meet back up with Peter for lunch so I don’t remember anything about this building…I do know it was never finished. Michelangelo made a facade for it (which is the pretty part you see on the front of the other churches) but they never added it. I kinda like this simple look, don’t you? It feels very rustic! We left our tour guide and headed to lunch with Peter…I felt SO bad. We said goodbye to her thinking we’d see her later but we actually never saw her again! Oops!

Lunch was awkward. It was just the three of us…and let’s remember Peter wasn’t too pleasant on our 3 hour drive! I wished at that point that it had been a normal sized tour group of like 20 people. They had a pre-arranged lunch for us as part of our tour package and Zach and I felt guilty because we didn’t like the appetizer at all. It was bread with different toppings on it. One of them was liver. And, yes, I tried it! I wanted to be polite and at least try!

Luckily the main course was yummy…Zach had chicken and I had pasta. Def not the best of our trip but better than the appetizer!

I can’t even really remember what we talked about at lunch. I do remember I asked Peter if he liked Italian women haha. I was expecting to see all of these beautiful women but we really didn’t see many. Maybe we just like what we’re used to at home?!?! Since he was American I figured he had to adjust his tastes in women once he moved. I tend to put my foot in my mouth in awkward settings πŸ˜‰ I thought about it later and he may have been gay! His response to my question was “a beautiful woman is a beautiful woman.” Ummm okay. Whatever. We talked about race cars some too, I pretty much zoned out and left Zach to be stuck talking to him haha. 

Afterwards we had an hour or so to goof around on our own. We didn’t really know what to do so we just walked around trying to find our daily fix of gelato πŸ™‚ I felt a little embarrassed to be taking a TON of pictures with our tour guide lady since she was talking the whole time so we went back to get a few more in front of the dome and baptistry πŸ™‚

We passed, no joke, at least 6 gelato places while walking down one street. The neat thing about gelato is it’s never the same anytime you get it! It made it quite fun for us. Each shop makes their own versions of it so it’s different every time, every place. What drew us into this place was that it had seating (Zach needed a rest with that book bag!) and the lady behind the counter had an awesome personality. She may not have spoken English but she just had that type of vibe to her that you instantly were drawn to. She thought my Italian was hilarious πŸ˜‰ I guess I won’t bother taking up a foreign language anytime soon!

So, so yummy!

 I was PUMPED when we happened to walk by this graffiti!

I was ALL about Emily the Strange back in the day as, duh, her name is Emily πŸ˜‰ I would sometimes be called “Daria” by people (remember the cartoon on MTV) as I tended to make sly, sarcastic remarks all the time and wasn’t super giggly or upbeat. (btw…Christianity has made me a MUCH more positive person!) This Emily chick is sorta like Daria so I related to her πŸ˜‰

We were done with our “free time” pretty quickly so we just went and sat at the spot where we were supposed to meet Peter. He then took us to the Galleria dell’Accademia to see David. We got to go to the front of the line since we were on a tour which came in handy. I LOVED this museum because it didn’t play games. It didn’t force us to see a million pieces of artwork before getting to see David. It had like two rooms and that was it. Quick and to the point and I liked it πŸ™‚ 

I’ll go ahead and tell you…David was my favorite “must see” thing we saw the entire trip. Growing up my Dad had gotten one of those little David figurines from a trip to Italy and Mom had it setting out as decoration somewhere in our house (I think the living room actually but don’t quote me on it). Well when I moved out as some point down the line I ended up with him. A naked dude statue bothered Zach for some reason so it became a running joke between us. I’d hide David in a spot where Zach would find him and he’d get super annoyed then hide him somewhere difficult for me to find. I think he may have won the war because I haven’t seen David in quite awhile!

I was pretty pumped to see the legit David since I’ve always seen the little statue of him. Once we got to Florence and I learned the history of him, I was even more excited. You hear about people who are naturally talented and gifted but I’ve never heard about someone as gifted as Michelangelo. 

David is actually one of his earlier works and he was only in his 20’s when he sculpted it. It took him 3 years (1501-1504) and he used a piece of marble that was very unfitting for sculpting as it had already been started on by two other artists. He worked day and night and slept for only a few hours each night on the floor beside the statue. 

David is shown as a young man, prepared to enter into battle with Goliath. The tension of the moment is shown in his taunt face, the concentrated gaze, and his muscles ready to spring into action. The anatomical details are perfect, Michelangelo was actually known to study corpses in order to learn about the human form. The only anatomical flaw of David is in one of his wrists where a muscle that does not exist has been added. His hands appear larger than they should be but this was done on purpose as he was meant to be placed high, at the top of the Dome where it would have looked more proportional to viewers below. His chest is slightly caved in and his pupils are actually hearts. 

This is the most famous sculpture in the world and considered to be Michelangelo’s favorite piece of work (he’d tell you to skip the Sistine Chapel as he wasn’t a fan of painting!). He believed sculpting involved seeking out and bringing to form a spirit that lived within the marble. He is 17 feet tall and is often a matter of debate over why Michelangelo did not make him better “endowed.” Zach made the same comment himself…

You are not allowed to take photos in the museum…but Zach managed to snap this one anyway and it’s awesome (much, much better than my attempt at the Sistine Chapel which you’ll see soon)

I really, really enjoyed seeing David and am so thankful we made the trip to Florence. I just think it’s so incredible that he was SO young when he made him and how it’s all done from one block of marble ya know? I also think it’s SO neat that Michelangelo never used anything for practice. He’d draw out his plans and then do it! Can you even imagine how difficult that was?!?!

We saw 4 Davids total that day…the copy where the original use to stand, the legit one, this fun guy and one other one later on. Zach did not like this but I thought it was funny!

I had to pump again at the museum so I did it in the bathroom while Zach hung out waiting on me. He got some awesome people watching in during this trip for sure πŸ˜‰ After I was done we met back up with Peter and our car and headed to see the fourth David prior to heading back to Rome. This one overlooked a beautiful view of Florence, perfect for picture taking!

Zach really, really likes taking these pictures. They are awesome but don’t do well when put on the blog. You can double click it to make them larger!

I think Peter was attempting to make up for his rudeness because he offered to take pictures of us together and took like 10 of them from all sorts of different angles.

The Duomo

You can see how the church is all stonework then the facade is added to the front of it (see the white marble?)

More of the 4th and final David!

I LOVE how many pictures we got together that day πŸ™‚

While we were looking at the statue, I went a little bit away from the guys to get some pictures of it and a random man approached me and tried talking to me (in very broken English). He was asking me who made the sculpture (like I would know?!?!) and he seemed drunk. I was nice to him and continued talking to him but quickly eased my way back over where the guys were. He soon stumbled away and seemed to be alone. It was very odd and a little unsettling! You know me, I had my hand covering my purse the whole time haha. I guarded that thing with my LIFE even though Zach had all of our money and passports and such in his money belt under his clothes πŸ™‚

Attempting to be funny but totally missing the correct hand location πŸ˜‰

Still missing…stupid Peter couldn’t get it right!

The drive home was long. I don’t remember much of it as I was exhausted and fell asleep pretty quickly. Who knows what Zach and Peter talked about haha. I know that a lot of the time Peter and the driver were talking in Italian about some Italian movie. They laughed a lot. It is annoying when people talk to each other and you can’t understand what they are saying…isn’t the natural thing to assume they are making fun of you? Or is that just my own insecurities?

We got back to Rome after 9:00 that night. It was a 13 hour day. EXHAUSTED!!!! We stopped for some sips of water before riding the metro back to our hotel room. We hadn’t eaten since lunch and I was fine with just going to bed, but Zach HAS to eat. So we worked out plans for that while on our way back to the room.

The square where we were dropped off (we tried to get them to take us to our hotel since we were the only people on the tour but they wouldn’t!)

I went ahead and got a shower while Zach talked to the people at the desk and found a place to order pizza to go. Our first Italian pizza was in our hotel room at 10:00 at night haha! I had forgotten to tell Zach that they call pepperoni sausage and not pepperoni and he had a tough time when ordering. He LOVED what he got though! He also got us each a soda and omg they are nasty over there. They don’t make them as sweet as we do here so neither of us liked it.

My pizza…I was not a fan…but it got MUCH better later in the trip πŸ™‚

We watched The Office (still on season 6 if you’re keeping track) while eating then I pumped and we went to sleep. It was the ONLY night we watched The Office while on this trip. We spent a LOT of the time being tired, our days were long and our nights were short but it was all well worth it! Our anniversary day is coming next!


  1. Bobbi
    June 19, 2012 / 7:49 pm

    Love it!Β  Keep em comin.Β  Your photography is wonderful Emily.Β  Narration is pretty dang good to.

  2. Louise Robyn
    June 20, 2012 / 3:55 am

    I never knew the background of David, I was blown away reading that…and laughed at the attempted photos of trying to hold him with ur hubby's palms haha

  3. julia
    June 21, 2012 / 12:11 am

    I'm on season 5 of the office!

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