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Touring the north of Italy with my parents [part 2]

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Botticelli's Annunciation (detail). On our visit to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, this was my favorite! Obviously the poor jpeg photo doesn't do it justice. I particularly enjoy the dance of hands between Gabriel and Mary.

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No visit to Florence is complete without seeing David -- the original, set within his own classical tribune in the Accademia. This vied as my Mom's favorite site, along with Bramasole, or possibly the leaning tour of Pisa.

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Michelangelo was 26 years old when he sculpted David. It's hard not to see his resolute and restless ambition in the intense gaze.

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Florence also bears testament to Michelangelo's work as an architect. We were fortunate that the Laurentian (Medici) Library had a special exhibition which allowed us to walk though his beautiful vestibule (first photo) and reading room (2nd photo) which are normally off limits to the casual tourist.

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And finally, to offer evidence that I am actually doing research on this sabbatical, here is an example of Etruscan lettering, inscribed on a clay vessel on display in the fine Museo Etrusco in the ancient Tuscan hill town of Volterra. The lettering, going from right to left is from the 8th century B.C. Our own alphabet evolved from the Latins' synthesis of Etruscan and Greek writing systems, further refined by the formal imperial aesthetic of the Roman culture.


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