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Bargello Museum & La Specola

Today we visited the Bargello Museum and La Specola. The Bargello Museum was used for various purposes: a residence for the Medici, a prison, and now holds a major sculpture collection. The sculptures vary from porcelin, invory, and ceramic; and are by many famous artists such as Michelangelo, Giambologne, and Donatello. Students were assigned a sketching assignment of their choice and in between the two field trip we were treated to a group lunch of a chicken kabob wrap or a falafel and were granted free time until our later field trip to La Specola.

La Specola contains 10,000 skeletons or taxidermies of animals, insects, fish, and birds. There are also human bodies in wax from the 1700’s, which Sicilians created in order to better study medicine. The cases themselves, which contain the taxidermy and wax figures, are originals from the 1700’s. Dioramas of waxed figures on the plague and its effect on civilization are also displayed which show the human condition in a devastating state. The experience the students share are far ranged: some moments of shock and disgust, others humorous, and then utter fascination. Much to their delight, the students have no assignment other than finding a spirit animal for oneself and are freed to roam as they please in the evening.

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