Sunday, September 13, 2015

Italian Vacation--Part 2

This was our first glimpse of the Duomo or Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower). It is enormous.

First view of the Duomo from about two blocks away.

Inside the Duomo, under the dome.  The painting was amazing.  It was inspiring and grotesque all at once.
This picture doesn't do the Duomo justice.  We looked down the street and it dominated the view.  The marble facades were beautiful and the details amazing.  With all of these early Renaissance buildings we just couldn't help but be amazed at how marvelous the structures and art were for a people without any power machinery.  It was truly a testament to the ingenuity of people when they really want to "say" something.

Museums are often closed on Mondays so we visited a couple of churches and walked around the city to get our bearings.  We wandered across the Ponte Vecchio  and up the hill to the Piazzale Michelangelo then to the Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte (The Abby of Saint Miniato of the Mountain).  The story goes that Saint Miniato was beheaded and carried his head 12 miles up the hill before dying and the people decided to build a church on the site.  It was a lovely church and we went back later to hear vespers there one evening.

We enjoyed a cooking class where we made pizza and gelato.  I was skeptical about the gelato hype because I think ice cream is pretty tasty but I must say good gelato is fabulous.  Gelato is smooth and creamy.  It also has intense flavor.  Hyrum ate a lot of chocolate and I loved the pistachio.  We also tried lemon, chocolate chip, mascarpone, chocolate with chili powder (not good), raspberry, mango and maybe a few others.  We ate gelato at least once a day, often twice!  The best place, in our opinion was Gelateria de' Neri.  We loved it.

We did a lot of walking in Florence and saw most of the old city.   We visited a lot of churches and admired the frescoes, sculptures and stories that came with them.  I really enjoyed Michelangelo's sculptures in the Accademia.  The David sculpture is enormous.  It was interesting to see all the people sitting and sketching the statue.   We even saw a three or four year old sketching on her pad with her dad beside her.

The Uffizi was just crowded.  There were large groups everywhere and they just kept coming.  In some rooms we couldn't even move for the crowds in them.  In the larger museums there also isn't anywhere to sit.  We visited the Musuem of Science and that was interesting and a lot less crowded. 

It is always interesting to be in places where there is so much history.  Compared with the United States, Florence is ancient and that always gives me pause to think and reflect on where my family has come from.  The wealth of the Medici family is evident everywhere. Their influence is both amazing and deplorable as you think about the corruption but all the art and history they patronized and preserved. 

Inside the Medici chapel.  The walls, floor, everything was made of green, purple, red and gold marble. 

David.  This sculpture is really amazing.
These churches are amazing works of art.  The color and pictures were so interesting.  We learned a lot about the different religious symbols of the time.
This is an early relief done by Donatello. 
This was a painting from the 1960's hanging in one of the churches.  I really liked this depiction of Joseph and Jesus.

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