Day 7: Discovering the Wonders of Florence

Student Reflection by Adrian Vasquez, Gr. 12
Today our group traveled by train to Florence. We saw the Duomo, went to an outdoor market and visited the Uffizi Museum. The Duomo gave us access to the most stunning sights of the city with a 360-degree view. On the way up we saw a stunning painting on the inside of the dome depicting the last judgement in vivid detail. Following the Duomo, we walked through an outdoor market to a sprawling indoor food market. It was complete with delis, fish marts and restaurants serving everything from artisan vegetarian burgers to sushi. Walking around outside at lunch gave me a full sense of the city of Florence, a large town with a vibrant culture that still manages to feel small and collected. The city was celebrating carnival while we were there, which only added to the vibrancy and life in the city.

The last place we went was the Uffizi Museum, home to some of the most stunning artwork in the world. We saw examples of feudalistic artwork with incredibly intricate gold leaf patterns on them. This surprised me because the skill required to make something so detailed was equivalent to that of the best Renaissance artists, and I had always believed feudalistic art to be inferior. The museum continued through the Renaissance and Baroque periods of art. Although I had to stop for at least a minute on every painting and sculpture I saw, two specifically stood out to me. The first was Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, which fully lived up to my expectations. The second was Godfried Schalcken’s The Fame, which depicts a woman in a dark room with a single flame being held behind her. This was the first painting in an entire room of similar ones that create a deeply intense contrast of shadow and light by placing the source of light at the center of the image. Going to Florence put me face to face with some of the most stunning scenes of my life.

View more photos from Day 7 here.

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