Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Big Red Dome

Tourist Day in Florence: Take 2!

Over the past seven weeks that I have been in Florence, I have gotten fairly familiar with the city. So much so, I think I may be falling in love with it. I have gone to visit the Basilicas of Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce, the Uffizi Gallery, and the Bargello, but there is one place that I have yet to explore…the “Big Red Dome” (aka the Duomo/the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore).

Sam, Courtney, and I decided that enough was enough and we had to go explore the Piazza del Duomo and all that it has to offer.

We went through the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore Museum where we saw some of the original statues that stood outside of the Duomo, the second of Michelangelo’s three Pietas, and the Gates of Paradise (the original doors of the Baptistery that face the enterence of the Duomo). The10 panels that make up the Gates of Paradise depict scenes from the Old Testament—they are simply wonderful.

Fun Fact: One of the major guilds of Florence held a competition between the artists in Florence to design the north door of the Baptistery. The finalists were Lorenzo Ghiberti and Filippo Brunelleschi. Ghiberti won because his Competition Panel showed more depth and perspective than Brunelleschi’s panel. Brunelleschi was so upset he fled to Rome. While there he studied the architecture of the Pantheon. He later returned to Florence and designed the famous red dome of the Duomo, which he credits to his time spent in Rome.

After the museum, we decided it was time to climb Giotto’s Bell Tower. 414 steps later we made it to the top! The view was beautiful and provided a very interesting perspective of the Duomo.

The Baptistery is one of the oldest buildings in Florence. The inside of the building is rich with color and beautiful frescos. The decoration of the dome is striking with its coloring and gold accents. (Oops! I didn't snap any shots of the Baptistry)
Finally, the Duomo. We walked inside and were able to see some of the beautiful pieces of art within the church, and ventured underneath where there are old Roman remains. My favorite part, though, was climbing up to the top of the dome of the Duomo.

463 steps later…

My favorite church in Florence, Santa Maria Novella.

After our adventures at Piazza del Duomo we all went out to dinner where we met a new friend, Hailey. Good food, good wine, great company! Once dinner was over, we ended our night by heading over to a local bookshop to check out some locals play a little jazz. 

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