Day 64, Tuesday, November 7, 2017
There is so much to see in Florence that we are only going to scratch the surface with the week that we have here. Today we visit the Firenze Duomo, the Santa Maria del Fiore. It is the fourth largest church in Italy and the outside is highly decorated. Our first view of it is quite spectacular, rising above the narrow street.It is impossible to get a photo of the front of this church as there isn’t room to get far enough back because of other buildings. So here are two photos of the front of the Duomo… and one of the side.We are actually a bit underwhelmed by the interior. Many of the areas are roped off and there isn’t a lot to see other than the dome by Brunelleschi which was finished in 1463, the tiled floor and the massive pillars. The dome is quite magnificent and of course the photos don’t do it justice. We find a bench to have our lunch and watch men high up on the crane inspecting the tower.
It rained a lot last night and there are puddles on the paving stones that reflect the church. I loved the reflections…and Bob took this one of me and the cathedral.We walk behind the Duomo and find this view.Nearby is a little purse shop flanked by these two huge statues.On our way to check out ticket information for visiting the Uffizi we come across this sculpture and capture our strange reflections, and…Bob is not impressed with this modern sculpture called Big Clay #4. Thiere is a copy of David near the Uffizi. We should see the real one sometime in the next few days.In the Uffizi courtyard the military stand guard. There is a fairly strong military presence in the Italian cities we have visited and in light of some of the things that have happened lately I find it rather reassuring.We walk along the Arno river and see the Ponte Vecchio and in the other direction is the hill top terrace that we remember from our first visit to Florence 40 years ago.
We walk to the Public Library, the Biblioteca Nazionale, only to discover that we are not allowed inside! Hopefully if we can return Saturday morning we will be allowed in. We are not having much luck visiting libraries this trip.Construction on the Santa Croce Cathedral began in 1294 and it contains the tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, and Rossini.This is Michelangelo’s tomb.This is a beautiful cathedral. I particularly like the ceiling above the altar with its dark background. there is a set of stairs and a walkway all around the church high above us.There are so many beautiful details everywhere, including this carved door.There are many other rooms to visit besides the main cathedral, several chapels, the refectory, a museum and a beautiful cloister. We spent at least a couple of hours here, and did see a Last Supper by Giorgio Vasari. This impressive painting was badly damaged by the flood of 1966 and was just restored and returned to the church in 2006.There is even entrance to a leather workshop from the church grounds and we watch craftsmen making purses and wallets. I liked looking at their tools and patterns.
When we finally finish our visit the sun is setting.
On our way to catch our bus home we pass this little studio with the artist at work and an older man sleeping in a chair. The link is in Italian but it is still interesting.This living wall is on the outside of a car parking lot right next to the bus stop.