The Search for the Naked Man

Maybe it’s because I’ve been single for a while, but I couldn’t come to Italy without meeting the sexiest man in all of Europe. He’s tall, handsome, and has abs I could wash my growing pile of dirty clothes on. He’s an extremely good listener, and the best part about him is there’s no language barrier. Without saying a word we completely understand each other. But there is one small problem. Because of his highly successful career, I would have to stay in Florence to be with him, which kind of puts a damper on the rest of my traveling plans. Oh David, whatever shall we do?

I come from a family where art (in some form) runs through our blood. With Italy being where many of the great artists such as Michelangelo and Leonardo come from,

The small town of Vinci (a short day trip from Florence) Where I visited the home of Leonardo

I had to come admire the chiseled body (not to mention all the amazing architecture) while I was here. When I was in Belgium me and my dad came across the original “Madonna and Child” and if David was anywhere near as beautiful, I knew I would have to suck up being a “tourist” and probably stand in line for hours to see him. So after a late sleep-in and a lovely machiato overlooking the beautiful city, I headed out on my quest.

The first thing I discovered is that David is actually all over Florence in some shape or form. Between the tourist shops full of postcards, figurines, and mugs, (some a bit more classy than others in displaying the male anatomy) you really don’t have to look hard to find him. Besides the original which is
located in the Galleria dell’Accademia, there are two other full size replicas in the city. A bronze statue in the plaza Michelangelo overlooking the city below,

Enjoying the sunset with David up at Plaza Michelangelo

and another in Piazza della Republica (where the original was first kept.) I managed to stumble upon both quite easily and while some people would have gotten their fix and probably moved on to other sites, it actually made me want to see the original even more.

So after wandering around the city aimlessly, I stumbled into a long queue just outside the Cattedrale di Santa Maria. The dome of the church was quite impressive from the outside, and even though I knew I wasn’t in the right place, I was curious enough to have a look inside. Luckily the line moved quickly and I found myself inside the cathedral, looking up at the most beautiful fresco I had seen to that point in Europe

Vasari's "Heaven & Hell" Fresco inside the Duomo

(I hadn’t yet made it to the Sistine chapel.) As I was admiring the view from the tower I heard thunder in the distance. A storm on the horizon? Perfect! Rain always has a way of dispersing crowds. Maybe I wouldn’t have to wait in line after all.

I made my way down the steep stairs to the plaza below, dodging the gypsies running around selling overpriced umbrellas.  I took out my shitty tourist map to try to orient myself with the city just as the sky opened up. Not a slight drizzle, but a proper late summer afternoon thunderstorm. I found shelter under the canopy of a cafe and sat down for a cappuccino, then a glass of wine, and then another, but no luck. I was stuck for a few hours, getting wet even sitting under the shelter of the canopy. Another gypsy came by begging me to buy an umbrella, which at that point I decided might be a good idea. I reached for my purse but the waiter came over and chased her away. (I guess it’s as illegal for me to buy as it is for them to sell, and yes we are talking about umbrellas here.) Having only an hour before the museum closed and the museum being closed the following day, I decided to brave the storm. The waiter came back with my check as well as a small gift for me (a free umbrella.) I love the kindness of strangers when you’re traveling.

My new umbrella, braving the storm in Florence

So off I went umbrella in one hand, map in other trying to navigate my way through the narrow streets. (At least I didn’t have to fight the crowds.) Finally I spotted a sign pointing to the museum. I was nearly there, 40 minutes before closing and not a tourist in site. I walked right through, paid my 10 euros, and with little time to spare went directly to the man himself.

There he was in all his naked glory, the light coming in from the domed ceiling above giving him an angelic glow. I was in love. He really was much more impressive than what I could have imagined. From the dimples in his elbows to the veins on his hand, the incredible detail created by a man just a few years younger than me had me doing laps around the exhibit, noticing more each time I went around. The definition in the muscles of his back, the cuticle on his fingernails and toenails. Somehow I seemed to miss all that as I was snapping pictures of the other two imposters. Maybe because I couldn’t take a photo of the real one, I was forced to soak in every last chiseled detail, (the artistic version of stopping to smell the roses.)

I found a seat in the corner in the last few moments before the museum closed and stopped to think about the man who stood before me. A symbol of courage and freedom for the people of Florence, but in that moment (before his victory) was a boy about to face his giant. Stuck in that space and time after a decision is made, but before the confidence and faith comes in knowing that victory will come. I thought of myself and the giants (big and small) I have faced on my journey so far. I know undoubtedly there will be many more not only on my travels, but throughout life. I can only hope to face and defeat them as my dear friend David did, and who knows? Maybe someday they’ll carve a sculpture out of me… I guess a girl can dream.

A t-shirt I found in a museum giftshop (they had the translation next to it.)

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3 responses to “The Search for the Naked Man”

  1. Dad says :

    This is the best blog yet.

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