A saturday in Florence

Hi everyone!

It’s been a while that I don’t write here, despite being at home several months, like all of us!

During the months of lockdown, however, I caught up with several commitments that I had neglected. In fact, I managed to finish all the exams of the first year of the Specialization School and finally I have done a documentation that I have been carrying around like a ballast for a long time.

Currently I am much freer and sometimes I get bored, also because I don’t know what to do!

I started working again, but I also manage to get some free time and I finally started going out again on weekends!

After all we’ve been through I only have the desire to travel and visit our Italian cities to help, albeit in my small way, the tourism of our nation.

Over the past weekends I managed to see two of my dearest friends and together we took the opportunity to tour not only the cities chosen for our meetings, but also some museums.

The first Saturday that I allowed myself an out-of-town trip, the destination was Florence.

Every time I went to Florence, I have always focused on the most known points of interest in the city, therefore the Uffizi, the Palazzo della Signoria, the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, the Basilica di Santa Maria Novella, and so on … Despite my penchant for archeology even outside of my working life, I had never chosen the National Archaeological Museum of Florence as a stop on my tours, and instead visiting it was a very pleasant surprise.

The National Archaeological Museum of Florence is located in Palazzo della Crocetta, moved here in 1880, which was restored in 1619-20 by Giulio Parigi as the residence of Maria Maddalena, sister of the Grand Duke Cosimo II de’ Medici.

The museum preserves finds from excavations in Toscana, but also from Lazio and Umbria, and collects Etruscan and Roman objects. It also has an important Egyptian collection as well as a Greek section containing Greek vases found in Etruscan tombs, which testify to the numerous trade exchanges in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Etruscan section is located on the first floor and preserves the strong piece of the collection, that is, the Chimera d’Arezzo.

One of the most famous works of the Etruscan civilization dated to the 4th century BC, a bronze statue depicting the mythical Leonine fair, which was restored by Francesco Carradori in 1785, who rebuilt the serpentine tail that bit the goat’s head on the back. This work was found in a field near Arezzo in 1553 and was presented to Cosimo I by Vasari.

The chimera is now exhibited in a room, next to other famous bronzes, such as the statue of the Arringatore, dated to the first century BC. It portrays an Etruscan noble Aule Meteli with the Roman toga, while raising his arm towards the observer and the hypothetical crowd. It came to light in 1566 in Pila, near the Trasimeno lake.

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Arringatore di Perugia, primo quarto del I sec. a.C.. Firenze, Museo Nazionale Archeologico. A partire dall’azione di Mario e Silla vi fu da parte dell’aristocrazia senatoria e dei grandi generali la necessità di far emergere la propria individualità e della supremazia sugli altri: questo si ripercuote anche sulle forme dell’autorappresentazione politica. Ecco che vi è un forte sviluppo di statue togate e statue equestri, con le corrispondenti insegne delle magistrature. Esempio ne è l’Arringatore di Perugia: statua in bronzo di un politico della città di Perugia, risalente probabilmente al 80 a.C. circa. L’uomo si presenta come oratore, con il braccio destro alzato: indossa una tunica e sopra una toga realizzata con poco tessuto (distinguibile da quello greco per il taglio semicircolare), diffusa non sono solo a Roma, ma anche nel resto della penisola italica . Sarà solo con Augusto che la moda cambierà; infatti le toghe verrano realizzate con molto più tessuto, dal momento che il tessuto è simbolo di ricchezza e della dignità e dei privilegi del cittadino romano. Sul bordo curvilineo della toga troviamo un’iscrizione etrusca, da cui si riconosce anche che la statua è dedicata a “Aulus Metellus”, di origine etrusca, come si evince dal nome: un uomo che probabilmente era molto importante nella Perugia dell’epoca, dal momento che sia la presenza della doppia allacciatura dei calzari e il bordo largo della veste indicano l’appartenenza a un’élite aristocratica provinciale che non si distingueva più da quella senatoria di Roma. #una_scultura_al_giorno #arringatorediperugia #perugia #firenze #museoarcheologicofirenz #arringatore #oratore #oratoria #statua #storiadellarte #scultura #arte #sculpture #art #iorestoacasa #capolavori #artistic #storia #italianart #artgalleries #beniculturali #archeologia #archeology

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Most of the other finds concern funerary sculpture, in particular the urns and sarcophagi, including the sarcophagus of the obese dated to the 2nd century BC.

The Museum boasts a numismatic section, which collects one of the most important and ancient numismatic collections in Italy.

The first nucleus of the numismatic collection was already present in the collection of antiquities begun by Lorenzo il Magnifico and enriched by various family members. Then it was donated by the last descendant to the Granducato di Toscana.

Starting in 1874, with Luigi Adriano Milani as director of the museum, the coin cabinet was further enriched thanks to the purchase of important collections and treasures.

Subsequently, the numismatic collection was expanded thanks to excavations in various localities of the territory under the jurisdiction of the Superintendence for Archaeological Heritage of Toscana.

The collection of the coin boasts about 80.000 pieces and in particular preserves the most populous collection of Etruscan coins in the world equal to 1.173 pieces.

The section called “Egyptian Museum” is extraordinary. It is the second in Italy only to the Egyptian Museum of Turin. This collection is always on the first floor and comes from the Nizzoli and Schiaparelli collections and from the excavation campaign of Ippolito Rosellini and François Champollion.

The prehistoric era of the Old and Middle Kingdom is documented by flints, vases and steles. Among the most interesting finds are the grain grinder and the woman who makes beer dating back to the ancient kingdom. Subsequently, a famous relief with scribes from the tomb of Pharaoh Haremhab in Saqqara is exhibited, and the extraordinary war or hunting chariot. It was almost intact, made in bone and wood, dating back to the 15th century BC. It was found near Thebes together with fabrics, ropes, furniture, hats, bags and baskets.

Lastly, there is a room dedicated to Coptic art, thanks to the excavations of the Florentine Papyrological Institute in Antinoe. Among the finds there is a rich collection of restored fabrics. There are tunics, caps, socks, fragments of decoration and a silk cloak, as well as numerous objects related to daily life or funeral customs, such as one of the portraits from Al Fayum.

After spending the whole morning around the museum, my friend Rebecca and I, who lives in Florence, went to lunch at the Osteria del Nacchero, chosen by my personal guide.

The place is slightly away from the heart of Florence, but Rebecca chose it specifically to let me taste a more traditional Tuscan cuisine, far from the tourist places that usually characterize the city center.

The restaurant refers to the old taverns of the past and the proposal concerns typical Florentine and Tuscan dishes, such as lampredotto or tripe.

We started with an appetizer of liver croutons, tomatoes croutons and fried polenta with mushrooms, and then continued with two first courses, paccheri with white ragù and fresh tomato soup, all accompanied by a good red wine.

Once we finished our lunch we went back to the city center and wandered aimlessly, walking through the streets of the city and taking the classic photo with the Ponte Vecchio behind.

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Saturday vibes in Florence #estateitaliana #estate2020 #friendship

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In the late afternoon we slowly headed towards the station where I had to say goodbye to my dear friend Rebecca, who accompanied me through the cultural and culinary beauties of this beautiful city.

My birthday week in Crete

On September 22th 2018 Tommaso and I flew to Crete, with the Aegean Airlines company, for the week of my birthday accompanied by our precious Lonely Planet guide.

We have chosen a seaside town where we can stay, called Analipsi, east of Heraklion, and we have booked through Booking at Galazio apartments & suites. These consists of a series of very pretty small apartments arranged in front of equipped beach awarded with the “Blue Flag”.

We arrived in the late afternoon, so once we were settled in the apartment and refreshed we went to search a typical tavern, and we found it successfully. We went to Sirtaki Traditional Family Tavern, which perfectly reflected the expectations of both cuisine and atmosphere.

The next day we granted ourselves a day of relaxation at the sea, to recover the energy lost during the several months of pipeline and transfer to the Lodi area. In the evening, after renting a car, we went to explore the surroundings. We came across the characteristic Piskopiano, where we discovered the very good tavern of Kostas, an authentic gem located on the edge of the square where the church stands above the main street of the village.

Monday we headed to the Palace of Knossos in Heraklion, but as we were told, it was a big disappointment. The Palace is all restored and not very organized, there are no indications and despite the map purchased we probably missed some areas. Despite this it was exciting to be able to see things studied during the school years.

In the afternoon, after a delicious Pita Gyros, we strolled around Heraklion exploring the monuments and buying souvenirs. Then, we came across the Venetian Fortress of Koules, which for 21 years helped keep the Turks away. Then, it became a prison for the Cretan rebels under Turks’ domain.

On September 25th we went to the Heraklion Archaeological Museum. This was completely rebuilt and opened in 2014 and I must say that it is one of the most beautiful museums I have ever seen. My enthusiasm was not only for the materials, which are unique, but for the museum layout, the organization and the path proposed. The exhibition is divided into 27 rooms, arranged between the ground floor and the first floor, and show the archaeological finds from the Neolithic to the Roman age. Obviously this museum is one of the most famous in the world for the masterpieces of the Minoan civilization.

On Wednesday, we decided to participate to an organized trip to visit the northern coast of the island. The day was not climatically the best, the temperatures dropped a lot and there was a lot of wind. Anyway we went by bus to Elounda, a fishing village, which took on a higher profile thanks to the hotels frequented by celebrities like U2 and Lady Gaga.

From here we took a ferry with which we reached a small beach where a barbecue was organized. In addition to the cold, that did not allow a bath in the sea, the beach was not the best, it was undefiled from the housing perspective but at the same time dirty and not very pretty (I don’t think I will make an organized exit anymore!).

After lunch we headed to the small island of Spinalonga. The fortress that stands on the island was built by Venetians in 1579 to protect the bays of Eloùnda and Mirabéllo. Later, in 1715, he surrendered to the Ottoman army. In the post-Ottoman period, between 1903 and 1955, the island was transformed into a leper colony to house the Greeks who fell ill with Hansen’s disease. After touring the island with a guide, we set off for Agios Nikolaos, which stands out for its bars, traditional taverns and elegant clothing stores. These are contrasted by fish markets and rustic kafeneia.

For my birthday we decided to go to the heart of Crete. As a first step we passed by Gortys, where two of my archaeologists friends, that stay there for an archaeological mission of University of Bologna, were waiting for us. After a quick greeting we headed to the archaeological site, which covers an area of about one square km. The site is divided into a fenced area and an unfenced area where some of the complexes are scattered among the olive fields of the Cretan peasants. The site is something spectacular, shame about the non-museum part that is not very comfortable to reach, especially if you have sandals. In fact, the paths are not cleaned and cared how they should.

Afterwards we headed to Phaistos, but before going to visit the site we stopped at the tavern of Agios Ioannis where we eat an exquisite fried rabbit.

After the delicious lunch we entered the archaeological park of Phaistos, which is the second most important palatial complex of the Minoan culture, and among the sites of the time it is the one that still enjoys a suggestive position, with a panorama that sweeps over the Plain of Messarà and on Mount Psilorìtis. Festo has also undergone restoration works, but unlike Knossos, where it has not undergone reconstruction, it remains immersed in an aura of mystery.

As a last day of vacation we decided to take it very calmly. We went to have international breakfast at Votslakia Restaurant, and in the meantime we have planned the last trip of the holiday. We decided to visit Mallia, a contemporary site to the other two Minoan palaces of Knossos and Phaistos.

Mallia has given me many more emotions than the other sites visited previously, it is much less restored, much more organized with panels and signage and much more realistic. From this site comes the famous gold pendant with bees kept at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum.

After this last visit, we went to relax on the beach before returning to Italy and to work above all, and we enjoyed the last moments on the beach and the end of our summer.

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Sunset #birthdayweek #crete #sunset #cristianagoestocrete

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