On the second day of accommodation in Camogli, we decided to take a tour of Florence. There are two versions about the fate of the rhinoceros: some say that the stuffed body of the animal was sent to Rome and others that were sent to Florence by the Medici dynasty, which ruled this county.
As Florence is considered the cradle of the Renaissance and one of the most beautiful cities in the world, we decided to accept the second version as true and finish our trip by strolling through the squares of the Duomo and Signoria, crossing the Ponte Vecchio and visiting the Uffizi gallery, where one of the most important art collections in the world, with works such as “The Annunciation” by Da Vinci, “Bacchus” by Caravaggio and “The Birth of Venus” by Botticelli. Michelangelo’s “David”, on the other hand, is in the gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts, but a replica of the statue can be seen in Piazza Signoria.
Only 218 kilometers separate Camogli from Florence and the visit can be done in one day. It is forbidden to drive in the historic center, so we advise you to leave the vehicle in one of the many parking lots that are around the famous Italian city.
The idea of staying in Camogli and making the visit in one day is to avoid the salty prices of accommodations in Florence, especially at this time of year. We left Florence after an intense day and an overdose of beauty with some verses from the Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy: “Do not be afraid, our destiny cannot be taken away from us. It’s a gift. ”
The way back
After an 11-day journey following the terrible and interesting history of Dürer’s rhinoceros, it is time to return to Lisbon, our starting point. The idea is to make the same way back but stopping in different cities. Sometimes, when we travel, our perception of time changes and the return seems faster than going.
This text will leave you with the same feeling, but it is on purpose. As we are no longer guided by our famous rhinoceros, the return will be fast, but equally interesting.
From Camogli, we leave for Arles, which is 466 kilometers from the Italian city. We stop for lunch and get to know some of the scenes immortalized by the painter Vincent Van Gogh, who lived in Arles and painted many of his paintings there.
After lunch and a little walk, we leave for Nimes, which is only 32 kilometers from Arles. The idea is to spend only one night in Nimes to visit the historic center and its famous Arena, a Roman amphitheater built in 27 BC
We leave the French territory and we enter Spain again towards Sitges, a Catalan city of the Mediterranean coast famous for a festival of horror movies and that is to 429 kilometers of Nimes. The festival takes place at the beginning of October and, depending on the days chosen for the road trip, it is worth adjusting the calendar to see the event.
In addition to the experience of watching a movie surrounded by fans of the genre, there are many terrifying attractions through the streets of the city. We suggest to spend at least one night in Sitges and leave for Toledo, located in the center of Spain and 655 kilometers from the Catalan city.
In Toledo we have a great change of scenery: we leave behind the beaches to stroll through the historic city that was described by Miguel de Cervantes as the “glory of Spain”. Finally, after spending a night in Toledo and sampling the famous Manchego cheese, we make our last 589 kilometers of road and return to Lisbon.
When returning to the beginning of our history, we recommend to take back an indispensable souvenir: the novel “The Journey of the Elephant” by the great Portuguese writer José Saramago.
The book tells a story similar to our rhinoceros but lived by an Indian elephant, who is 1551 was sent as a wedding gift from King John III to Archduke Maximilian of Austria. And if you are interested in knowing more about the history of the animal that inspired our trip, we also recommend “The Rhino of the Pope” by Lawrence Norfolk.
An interesting detail about Dürer’s woodcut is that the German artist never saw the rhinoceros of Manuel I. The image was based on descriptions made by people who saw the animal in Lisbon. For this reason, the Dürer design has some anatomical inconsistencies. The work, however, exerted a great influence in the arts.
Before embarking back to Brazil do not forget to toast the rhinoceros’ memory with Port wine or a vinho verde. The ignorance and vanity of a king caused his premature death, but we wanted to honor him in his footsteps and turn his tragic odyssey into a unique experience. As Saramago said, “the journey never ends … The end of one journey is just the beginning of another.”