By Len Friesen, Tour Leader
What is the shape and measure of a beautiful woman? What are they for a man? And of the society in which men and women live?
These might seem like rather odd observations with which to begin a blog entry, yet these questions were hotly contested in Renaissance Italy. Beginning in the 13th century onward with the works of Cimabue and Giotto western artists began a conversation about feminine and masculine beauty. And Florence was in the heartland of that discussion, with artists the likes of Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci.
All of these artists were front and centre in Florence, the heart of the Italian Renaissance. And all were front and centre in our tour of the Uffizi Galleries this morning. What glorious art. What probing considerations of the human condition. What works of pure and sublime beauty.
If that was the morning, what of the afternoon? Well, most of us in the afternoon walked up to the Michelangelo Piazza. There we cast our eyes on a different kind of beauty, though still related, as we looked down upon Renaissance Florence, set as it is on the Arno River with the Florentine hills in the distance. We had a drink and shared in easy conversation. It also give us at least a bit of time to get away from the crowds that tend to gather in the heart of Florence.
That said, a quiet evening walk just completed gave us a chance to gaze on this city in a different light, and with the crowds dramatically reduced.
All in all, a picture perfect day for Florence.