My roommates and I decided to explore the town and visit the “garden” everyone around kept talking about. Of course we leave our apartment with the slightest bit of direction and take off to this garden. Caroline (one of my roommates) was sure of her direction as we all followed her lead and before we knew it we were walking through the most adorable little village on our path. For once I actually felt like I was in Italy. Everywhere I looked reminded me of my perceptions prior to arriving: real gelaterias, Italian music playing under the setting sun, the smell of freshly baked dough, and even a little old woman shaking a rug out her window. After passing through this little part of Florence we starting walking up this steep (very, very long) street that seemed like forever to any sort of destination. All I kept saying to myself was, “this walk better be worth it.”. As we finally make it to the top (& about ready to pass out) we see a gate that with a man guarding it and quite a few people coming and going through it. Of course we instantly forget the destination we had in mind and decide to go check it out.
We climb three flights of old brick stairs and finally make it to the top of what looks like a museum/ park/ art exhibit. The first thing we all noticed was all these body sculptures lying around everywhere in different figures. (even as a lover of art I can honestly say I was a bit ‘thrown off’)
After being distracted by these sculptures for a good 10 minutes I finally take a second to look up and see where I am and I was speechless, I actually had chills down my body. The whole city of Florence was right in front of my eyes. For a second I felt as if everything around me had just stopped and I was actually experiencing the moment. The city was so calm and still from above. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world to be able to call this place my new home.
Not knowing where I was I decided to do some research when I got home about the park and the art in it. This is what I found: This museum/ park/ art exhibit is acutely called Forte di Belvedere, and was built in the 1590’s under the command of the Duke of Florence, Ferdinando I de ‘Medici. The Medici family built it for protection and the given, presenting their wealth. Today it is a popular tourist attraction as well as a restaurant, bar, and home to many art exhibits. This year the art exhibit on display is called Human. The artist, Gormley, actually made the hundreds of pieces in 1995. “Located on the lower terrace of Fort Belvedere, Critical Mass, it acquires a new significance in comparison with the Renaissance city, the history of humanism and the continuous and ubiquitous relationship between money and political and military power.” (www.fortedibelvedere.it/gormley) After reading about his work and the story behind it the artist really did a great job outlining a story and sending a message through his artwork.
If you’re already in Florence or ever decide to travel this way I give this Forte di Belvedere a must see review during your trip. You will tuly see Florence in a whole new way!