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US: Seattle, WA – Rubbing a Pig for Luck

We saw this for the first time in Florence Italy’s market in about 1991 – and it was a pig there too. Many objects around the world are now there for you to rub and receive good luck.

Italy, Florence: View From the Ponte Vecchio, Florence

The Arno River as seen from the Ponte Vecchio (old bridge) in Florence, Italy.

Italy, Florence: Ponte Vecchio Fountain

It makes sense that a bust/fountain on the Ponte Vecchio would be of a sculptor and goldsmith, Benvenuto Cellini. Cellini did not have any connection with the jewelry shops on the bridge, which are there today because when he was alive, butcher shops lined the bridge. The artist, in a shout out to Cellini, used motifs taken from the pedestal of Perseus, Cellini’s masterpiece. The inscription on the monument states: “To Benvenuto Cellini ­ Master ­ The Goldsmiths of Florence.”

Italy, Florence: Ponte Vecchio, Florence

The Ponte Vecchio (old bridge) is a medieval stone bridge and the only one to cross the Arno River until 1218. This one is “newer”, having been rebuilt after a flood in 1345. It’s famous because it has shops built along it, as was once was the practice. Originally it was butchers, now it’s jewelers, art dealers and souvenir sellers.

Italy, Florence: Florence’s Bronze Doors to the Gates of Paradise

Florence’s Baptistry of the Duomo is renowned for its three sets of artistically important bronze doors which have relief sculptures. The south doors were created by Andrea Pisano, and the north and east doors by Lorenzo Ghiberti.

It was Michelangelo who gave the East doors their fame, calling them “the Gates of Paradise”. The 17-foot-tall gilded doors, weighing 4 1/2 tons, are casts of the original doors created in Ghiberti’s 15th-century workshop.

The Italian poet Dante Alighieri and many other notable Renaissance figures, including members of the Medici family, were baptized in this baptistry.

Italy, Florence: Florence’s Famous Duomo

Florence’s Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore defines the skyline with its magnificent Renaissance dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. The vast Gothic structure with its iconic white, pink and green marble identify the city. You can climb to the top of Brunelleschi’s Cupola – if you are brave enough.

Italy, Florence: Florence’s City Hall

It is free to wander thru the Cortile (courtyard) di Michelozzi of the Palazzo Vecchio (townhall of Florence). One reason to come here is to see a copy of Michaelangelo’s statue of David. The original sat here from 1504 to 1873, when it was moved to the Accademia Gallery. This replica erected in 1910 now stands in its place.

The first courtyard of Palazzo Vecchio was designed in 1453 by Michelozzo. The frescoes on the walls were painted in 1565 by Giorgio Vasari for the wedding celebration of Francesco I de’ Medici, the eldest son of Cosimo I de’ Medici, to Archduchess Johanna of Austria, sister of the Emperor Maximilian II. They depict cities of the Austrian Habsburg monarchy: Graz, Innsbruck, Linz, Vienna, Hall in Tirol, Freiburg im Breisgau and Konstanz.

Italy, Florence: David Statue’s Neighbor

Though you’re probably on the Piazza della Signoria to see Michelangelo’s David, don’t miss Baccio Bandinelli’s Hercules and Cacus.

Italy, Florence: David Statue in Florence

This is one of the more famous copies of Michelangelo’s David statue. You don’t have to pay to go in to see it, it’s out on Piazza della Signoria in front of Palazzo Vecchio (city hall) The original statue was originally placed here from 1504 to 1873, when it was moved to the Accademia Gallery. This replica erected in 1910 now stands in its place.

Italy, Florence: Florence Through a Window

So many artistic vistas in Florence.