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Visiting the sites

July 18, 2012

During our month in Florence, we are required to do a number of cultural visits for our final exam at the end of the program. These include art museums, religious landmarks and other notable monuments. I am halfway finished with my required visits, and I have also managed to complete a few extracurricular visits to places for my own benefit. These are my thoughts on a few of the places I have been so far (written when I was at the site):

Galleria dell’Accademia: okay, so disclaimer: sometimes I find history a little unbelievable. I love it, and my heart and my mind know these events happened and brought the world to where it is today. However, a part of me still finds some things difficult to fathom. As I sit here, Michelangelo’s “David” stands here before me. Graceful. Proud. Tall. Heroic. I can fully believe this structure was made more than 500 years ago, and that is incredible beyond words. I think sometimes, it is just difficult to fully grasp the existence of something until it is directly in front of you or until you are in the presence of something. Michelangelo, a man I learned about in European history in high school, created this from a block of marble, and it is so exact and precise and perfect. Still, 500 years later. I rarely call anyone a genius, especially when it comes to art because frankly, I’m rather ignorant on the subject, but as I look at this, I can say without a doubt that Michelangelo was a genius. And “David” is a masterpiece.

Sinagoga e Museo Ebraico di Firenze: the Synagogue and Jewish Museum of Florence aren’t on my required visits list, but I know I would have regretted not going if I had skipped it out of laziness. The synagogue, built in the 1800s, has about 900 members today. It was saved during World War II because Nazis were after Torah scrolls rather than the building, but Florentines still managed to save Torahs… Until the 1966 flood destroyed 93 of them. But that’s enough history; how did it make me feel? First of all, this synagogue is the most beautiful one I have ever seen, and the museum was interesting too. Going there today made me realize I want to join the Hillel at KU, and I know I would regret it if I spent four years there and didn’t get involved in the Jewish community. It made me want to go to Israel and learn more about the Hebrews. Being in Florence is great. I have seen hundreds of paintings and other depictions of things related to Christianity, which is why I now yearn to learn more about the Jewish people. It makes me also want to go to Holocaust memorials in Europe because even though those trips will be trying and moving, I think it’s something I need to do some day. And finally, I learned that all synagogues smell the same.

And those are two of my experiences during an afternoon in Florence. Quite moving and super interesting.

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From → Italia

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