Monumental: Buontalenti Grotto – Florence, Italy

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Buontalenti Grotto, Boboli Gardens – Florence, Italy.

Accessible from Giardino di Boboli (a ticket you can purchase separately from the ticket to Palazzo Pitti), the Buontalenti Grotto doesn’t look like much from the outside, especially because it’s near the exit and you can easily miss it if you’re not looking the right way. It’s tucked away down a pebble path amid some trees and bushes, so when you’re walking down the path towards the Boboli Gardens exit, you won’t actually see it unless you know that it’s there, or unless you happen to see the tiny sign that almost blends into the bushes. So remember to look to the right before you exit the gate!


His cave-inspired style of sculpture might not appeal to a lot of people. Honestly, I wasn’t too sure what to make of it, but they did get more interesting the closer you were and the more you looked at them. Bernardo Buontalenti was one of those renaissance type artists who were good at lots of things–he was a sculptor, architect, engineer, painter, etc. NBD.




These rough-but-detailed sculptures remind me so much of the stone king/wizard in Return to Oz. The stuff of childhood nightmares, but ever so fascinating.




Entrance to the grotto is limited to a handful of people at a time, and it’s not always open. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and someone will be there to let you in, and sometimes you’ll just have to poke your head as far as you can through the grills and try to see what’s inside.




Check out these stone sheep











Whether or not you think it’s pretty, you can’t deny that it’s definitely interesting, and that’s always better than boring!



Monumental: Gröna Lund – Stockholm, Sweden

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Gröna Lund, Stockholm, Sweden. June 2013.

Sweden’s oldest amusement park, located right in the middle of Stockholm on the island of Djurgården, has some seriously vintage cinematic vibes. It is by no means the largest amusement park, or the most adrenaline-packed, but there was definitely a great energy there that was inimitable and intriguing–something about the history of the place, the way they’ve maintained that old-school feel and aesthetic, not to mention all those coasters weaving seemingly in and around each other. Even if you skip the coasters and just spend an afternoon walking around, getting cotton candy and hotdogs, or doing some people-watching, it’s an overall great place to hang out that gives you great views across Lake Mälaren to Stockholm old town.



Monumental: Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence, Italy

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Florence, Italy. October 2014.

The Loggia dei Lanzi is the open area right outside Palazzo Vecchio where several sculptures are on display, and where you can always see people just hanging out. I came here as part of a sort of field trip for school, and there were so many interesting tidbits about it. Like for example, the two lions that flank the entrance are 1400 years apart in age. The top photo is the “newer” replica, while this lion below is the original, from the first century, making it nearly two thousand years old.



Rape of the Sabine by Giambologna

Monumental: Frogner Park – Oslo, Norway

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Oslo, Norway. June 2013.

So here is another type of ‘segment’ which, pun intended I suppose, is called ‘Monumental’, highlighting (duh) monuments and other such epic things. The first place I wanted to share is Frogner Park in Oslo, Norway. The park houses the iconic works of Gustav Vigeland, whose works I’ve seen a few times online or in magazines but never really responded to until I was able to see the sculptures in person. I’ve always been more inclined towards classical sculpture–the Michelangelos and Berninis–rather than the overly modern or trying-too-hard-to-be modern works that sometimes bring into question the presence of talent behind the work (I just do not get putting a stone circle on a stone square and calling it art–it certainly isn’t of the same caliber as the renaissance greats). Don’t get me wrong, though; I don’t generalise and think this of all modernist art. But you have to admit that there is a lot of serious crap out there, and sometimes you just long for the good ol’ renaissance and the golden age of art.