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Chris Sayer’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 15 Jun 2014

Location: Florence, Italy

MapI admit, I am an arts heathen. A classics pleb.

Today we had “jump-the-queue” tickets at the Accademia in Florence, bypassing the same ten thousand people that were at Sienna the day before, or so it seemed. They would have to wait for hours just get in. There were rooms of paintings and sculptures from 500 – 700 years ago. Of course the main subject matter for all these artworks was Christianity. The most famous masterpiece in this building greets you as you turn a corner to enter a long corridor, and at the end of this corridor stands a large marble statue of a young boy called David, apparently caught having just killed a giant called Goliath. The museum curators have strategically placed him under a dome of light that projects an eerie glow over him. On close examination, this Michelangelo fellow was clever, as the attention to detail was amazing, so lifelike. You just stand and gaze up at David for ages, and wonder at the talent and perseverance to carve him out of a single block of marble.
That afternoon we dined at Florence Hard Rock Café, right in the middle of Piazza Republica. Allison and I did the obligatory walk around the walls examining the rock memorabilia. To my astonishment, encased in a glass box right in front of me, was the actual Shergold 12-string electric guitar that was custom made for Mike Rutherford that he played on several Genesis albums. And an original Carlos Santana Gibson SG 6-string electric. And an original multi-mirrored scooter used in The Who’s film “Quadrophenia”. It struck me that these quite modern objects excited me more than a 600 year old marble statue of a naked boy by an Italian called Michelangelo.
As I said, I’m an arts pleb, I admit it, but the Florence Hard Rock Café was fantastic, and we didn’t have to line up.