Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Great Introduction to Firenze and her fabulous art and architecture.....An Art Lover's Guide to Florence Paperback – September 15, 2012 by Judith Testa (Northern Illinois University Press)

I purchased Judith Testa's "An Art Lover's Guide to Florence" (on Kindle) a few weeks before I left for Italy, and referred to it while I was in the city. It helped me plan my time, and not miss the experiences I wanted to have there. Testa describes a clear picture of a very complex area of Italy through her discussion of historical conditions that created the Renasissance, and why Florence artists produced such a tremendous amount of important art and architecture that survives today.

She describes the most important painters, primary characters,politicians and Popes (The Medici and others) providing a photo of each work she focuses on, weaving fascinating stories of the artists, their historical connections to the rich and powerful of Firenze, and why these specific works are the ones she considers critical to an understanding and enjoyment of this incredible city. As she says, art in Italy is about religion, politics and sex.Thru this book a discovered why these complex influences drove the tremendous production of art during this golden age. Understanding these works enabled me to seek out an experience of appreciation of Firenze's bountiful art, without succumbing to the amusing "Stendahl Syndrome".

A good 4-6 hours of viewing is necessary to cover the fabulous Uffizi Gallery for a first time around, but you have their very nice 3rd story roof cafe to visit in between for doses of beautiful breakfast and lunch, and just sitting, having a drink and breathing in FIrenze to get you through it the many galleries comfortably. Other than the cafe, there are few places to sit and rest in the gallery, if you have any mobility problems. It is a massive gallery. You can spend as much time as you want with pieces you love. Buying the "Official Guide to the Uffizi" FIRST is critical, because neither the Uffizi or the Academia Galleria have free guides available, so your tour is more accurately WANDERING, often aimlessly. The galleries are named by time periods, but much of the other sculpture isn't described. Also buy your tickets at "Select Italy" before you leave, as you get a specific time to visit, and you only have to wait about a half hour in a short line, compared to the monster line to buy tickets.
I was loving every moment in Firenze, and want to return soon. What an amazing place!

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