Upon waking, I tried not to think about the fact that in a few short hours, I’d have to say goodbye to a city I came to love so well. I wanted to spend the rest of my life here, exploring the tiny streets and marveling at the art around every corner. But alas, all good things come to an end, and we were going out with a bang!
We started our morning off at the Academia, a beautiful museum where the world famous David statue was housed. Michelangelo created this imposing 17-foot sculpture of David before he fights Goliath in the high Renaissance, intended to be put on the façade of a church. When patrons saw it, they realized it was too beautiful to be placed so high up, and decided to have it shown individually so all could admire his beauty. I had seen countless pictures of David on the internet before I even took this class, and my dad had seen him on one of his business trips to Italy, telling me how beautiful he was.
I was actually so amazed by this beautiful work of sculpture that I didn’t know what to say for a good ten minutes. He was so large, so humanlike in appearance, that I half expected him to finish pulling his arm back to swing at an unseen Goliath. Speaking of the giant, he was nowhere to be found in this interpretation of the David and Goliath Biblical tale, an interesting choice of interpretation for the artist.
I loved the lifelike quality of this sculpture more than any I had ever seen. The beauty from the tense look on his face radiates humanity, while his taut stomach and ribcage seems to be caught mid-inhale as he prepares to do battle. Even his hands (which are amazingly large, even for such an enormous figure) show full, almost pulsating veins, snaking their way up his arms and conveying the pure adrenaline that must be coursing through the young warrior.
What felt like a few short minutes after, but was really almost a whole day later, had us in the Michelangelo piazza overlooking Florence, again looking at the David statue, but this time a heavily weathered copy, green from the elements, owned by the Medicis. We made our way to the edge of the piazza to overlook Florence’s skyline as we said goodbye one last time. We took a few beautiful group shots to immortalize our visit, and as soon as we arrived, we were back in the bus and jetting off to Rome for our last Italian night.
After settling into our gorgeous villa in our hotel, a group of us quickly got ready to stomp around in the rain to go the Trevi fountain. We wanted to see its beauty, of course, but the girls in the group had a different idea – we just wanted to live our childhood dreams of making a wish just like Lizzie McGuire on her perfect trip to Rome. At first, the rain wasn’t on our side – it began pouring so heavily that we had to duck into a little wine shop to wait it out, almost thinking we wouldn’t make it to the famed fountain. But, ask luck would have it; it stopped raining as soon as we set foot in the fountain’s beautiful piazza, and we were able to make our wishes. I threw two coins in – one to guarantee my return to Rome, and one to promise I would find love with a Roman man (hey, I’m a romantic at heart, and just like Lizzie, I’m dreaming of my Paolo!).
Overall, I think this wish was a perfect way to end my trip. As I sit here, writing this post and eating the last vestiges of my Italian chocolates (insert crying face emoji here) I realize that my time in Florence made me a new person. I used to be afraid of things I didn’t know. I used to think adventures weren’t something I could jump headfirst into. I used to think that I had a strong connection with God and my spirituality. I used to think I understood art. This trip changed all of that for me. The travel bug has bitten me, and I’m already planning my trip to Greece next year. I’m no longer afraid to do things that scare me; instead, I’ve looked at them as learning opportunities, chances to go headfirst into the unknown to continue learning more about the world. I’ve picked up stacks of books about the Renaissance and the artistic contributions these Florentine artists made. I’ve started to pray more than I ever thought I could, thanking God for the opportunity to see the world and asking Him to bless me in all my future trips.
When I boarded the plane back to the States, I wasn’t saying goodbye to Italy. I was saying ciao, not arrivederci. I will be back, and there are more adventures waiting for me.