Friday, September 4, 2015

Past POIs - Michelangelo's David [Florence, Italy]

I came to this place with a lot of doubt in my mind.  I knew that the plan was to go see the David, but I had no idea that it was such a popular tourist attraction.  I understand that with a lot of attractions, there's just a long line if you don't have a ticket, but this place was insane.  The priority order goes, tours, advanced tickets and non-ticket holders.  The issue is, they only let a set amount of people in at a time, so if you are unlucky and you have no ticket, this means that you could be waiting a long time. When we went two years ago, we lined up at around 8:30am I think and by 9:00am, the line moved two spaces.  As we waited, we saw the tours roll in and knew that we weren't going to make it.  Luckily, we decide to visit at the end of the day near closing time and there was just a short 10 minute wait to get inside, so you may want to do that if you are interested in visiting.

From wikipedia
David actually has a long history behind it.  Its construction started in 1464 by Agostino di Duccio, a student of Donatello, as part of a set of twelve statues that would rest atop the Florence Cathedral.  By 1466, Agostino only started shaping the legs, feet and torso and he stopped working on it.  It was left unfinished and work restarted in 1475 by Antonio Rossellino, who was also a student of Donatello, but ended up giving up within the year.  There it sat for another 25 years before Michelangelo began to work on it in 1501, who was only 26 years old at the time!  He completed the David in 1504 and it was unveiled and put on display in the public square outside of Palazzo della Signoria.

Why in Palazzo della Signoria instead of atop the Florence Cathedral you ask?  Well, the completed David was 14.2 feet (4.34 meters) tall and weighed 6.4 tons.  They couldn't figure out how to put it atop the cathedral and by then, the idea to have twelve statues atop of it was no more, and it would be a waste to have this beautiful statue up on the roof of the cathedral where nobody would be able to appreciate all the fine details of it.  To put the difficulty into perspective, it took 40 men, 4 days to move the statue 500 meters (0.3 miles) from the cathedral workshop to the Palazzo della Signoria.

So, there David sat, from 1504 until 1873 when it was decided that they should move the David because of the elemental wear and tear that it was enduring while it was outdoors and it has been there since.  In 1910, the space where David was in Palazzo della Signoria, a replica was placed and still stands to this day.

Note that no photography is allowed, so take a moment and enjoy its beauty instead of struggling to get the perfect picture.

Come back next Friday for another Past Point of Interest!