5TH YEAR-STUDENT, KAZAN FEDERAL UNIVERSITY.
Wednesday morning greeted us with warm sunshine and promising plans. The first item of the 3rd day seminar programme was to visit Accademia della Crusca. The academy is located at one of Medici's villas - at the Villa Medicea di Castello, in the middle of a wonderful and picturesque park on the outskirts of Florence. Founded in XVI century, it represents a true "cradle" of the Italian language, a strict guardian of its purity (Accademia della Crusca is translated as "The Academy of bran" - i.e. as if to say that the Academy should undertake a separation of the good from everything ugly, unaesthetic, misused, non-literary, to maintain the purity of the Italian language).
On passing through the main gates, we found ourselves at the sunlit courtyard of the Academy. There we were met by friendly employees and then our trip around the Academy started. The huge bookstands of one of the richest libraries could impress anyone. It was the Academy where in 1612 the first edition of the Dictionary of the Italian Language, or the Vocabolario degli Accademici della Crusca, was published. The Dictionary aroused great interest and was a huge success throughout Europe and later on served as a model for similar works in French, German, and English.
One of the rooms, apparently, once used for meetings of the Academy members, particularly impressed us: the walls were covered with hanging "shovels" with the individual coats of arms of the members of the Academy depicted on them. As it turned out, every arms was in one way or another connected with the process of making flour and bread (both metaphorically represented the mission of the Academy – purification and formation of a "pure" language), and along with this it reveals the temper of its owner. Thus the arms depicting a hedgehog rummaging in flour shows a ‘biting’ temper of the owner.
The park in the courtyard of the Academy is another sight: it made a revolution in the landscape design and set an example to the Italian landscape and park art. Unfortunately, the weather didn't allow us to fully enjoy the beauty of the park, but the sweet-smelling scent of citrus trees of the orchard will always remain in our memories about Florence.
In spite of the beginning rain we went, according to the seminar programme, to the Academy of Fine Arts of Florence (Accademia di belle arti di Firenze) to see the famous statue of David by Michelangelo Buonarroti. The Academy of Fine Arts is the first academy of painting in Europe. Its richest collection consists of paintings and icons, busts and frescos. One of the most famous works of art after the statue of David is "Prisoners" by Michelangelo. It’s also worth mentioning that the statue of David is an unofficial symbol both of Florence and of the Renaissance epoch in general.
One is really impressed by the five-meter-long marble athlete. A lot of scientists argue about the imperfect proportions of David, but the fact remains that he is perfect in his "imperfectness". Each detail of the sculpture, facial expression, shape of muscles, look – they all convey the impression that David is about to come down from the pedestal and start speaking – an incredible feeling of the power of a statue.
After spending more than an hour in the halls of the Academy you begin understanding that Florence is really the concentration of the world arts' gem. Walking through the galleries and streets of the ancient city you start regretting that you aren’t an artist and can’t take a brush and start painting. But anyway now we can say that we’ve been here, we got this unique opportunity to try feeling and to understand what guided many famous personalities who sought to Florence - to the city where writers, painters, sculptors, and even linguists were born, worked, fell in love or found peace.