Because of the nature of Italy and its abundance of amazing art, the number of breathtaking masterpieces I encountered while there was astounding. However, the piece that branded itself into my brain and made a permanent mark was the Statue of David located in the Galleria dell’Accademia. Though I had a list of things do before I left Italy and seeing the statue was on it, the day I encountered it was completely by coincidence. On my daily stroll from my apartment to the Duomo, I happened to take a different road from which I usually did. One of my favorites parts of Italy is that you can take one wrong turn and end up in the most unexpected and/or spectacular location. On this new road I found a sign for the gallery and small swarm of people standing outside. Deciding I had time to wander this unknown museum, I ventured in. Walking through the exhibit was like no other. There were countless centuries old pieces, many once located in famous Florentine or Tuscan churches. Along some rooms hung intricate paintings that depicted biblical scenes while others where solely dedicated to explaining the importance of long-forgotten instruments throughout the renaissance. It was after an unexpected corner that I found him. Down a row of dozens of beautifully crafted heads and statues petrified for eternity stood the 17-foot-tall victor. I had only ever seen photos of him but in person he towered over every other work of art displayed. Never in my life have I seen anything take other people’s breath way like he did. His size almost as large as the Goliath he had once slain. As intended by Michelangelo, he was created by a single block of marble and stood as a representation of the strength and resilience that Florence has. It’s a beautiful representation of the gracious city that gave me nothing but love, but I also find comfort in it through my own experiences. My gap year was about trying to embrace beauty while also overcoming challenges and just as the statue was once just a block, my gap year was just once a decision. However, with time and patience and resilience, it became something incredibly beautiful and symbolic.