Florence, Italy – 2009

 

We took a tour from Rome to Florence.  The guide stopped for a scenic view of the city.

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Santa Maria del Fiore (Il Duomo),

As the city’s skyline symbol, the legendary Duomo is famous above all for its dome: Filippo Brunelleschi’s Renaissance masterpiece, completed in 1436, created a double dome shell so that the dome is entirely self-supporting. It still stands as the largest masonry dome in the world, containing over four million bricks! Climb to the top (all 463 steps) to get an unforgettable panoramic view of the city, which has changed little in the past 500 years. Construction started in 1296 on the site of the Roman basilica of Santa Reparata, of which there are still visible remains with a design by the great Florentine architect, Arnolfo di Cambio. The existing neo-Gothic facade was added in the 19th Century by Emilio De Fabris. Covering a massive 3600 square meters (38,750 square feet), the frescoes inside the dome depict the Last Judgment, painted by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari. If you can stand the throngs of people and get a good spot early, come on Easter Sunday for the Scoppio del carro (Explosion of the Cart) where a oxen-drawn cart stuffed with fireworks comes from Prato to the center of the city and ignited

 

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PONTE VECCIO

Best known of all Florence’s treasures, this glorious bridge was the only one of six spared by the retreating Germans on August 4, 1944. Over the centuries, flooding unfortunately took its toll; few traces of the 10th-century bridge remain. Today’s bridge, built in 1345, was filled with butcher’s shops which would routinely discard the carcasses into the Arno causing quite a stench. Grand Duke Fernandino I issued an edict to replace the butchers with goldsmiths to eradicate the smell and gentrify royalty’s route to Palazzo Pitti , reached via the Vasari Corridor that passes over the bridge. Also, do not padlock anything to the statue of Benvenuto Cellini – this is often practiced by lovers who padlock a lock to the gate of the statue and toss the key into the river – they face a hefty fine!

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I love doors

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BASILICA DI SANTA MARIA NOVELLA

The Basilica di Santa Maria Novella church was built in 1278 by architects Fra Sisto and Fra Ristoro, who were part of the Dominican order. The work was carried on by Fra Jacopo Talenti and Fra Giovanni da Campi and was constructed in a Gothic style. The church still bears evidence of the Gothic style in the lower part of the facade in its grave niches, with its pointed arches, which are clad in green and white marble. The most important and interesting objects of art are to be found in the chapels. The sacristy and its furnishings can be seen on the left side of the church. As you descend the steps from the Capella Strozzi, you can purchase books and religious objects from here

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SANTA MARIA DEL FIORE (IL DUOMO),

Although the Baptistery’s precise origins remain unclear, its foundations are known to date back to Roman times. The central doors are stunning works of art, depicting scenes from the Old and New Testament and they have been called The Gates of Paradise. Lorenzo Ghiberti who worked on them from 1403 to 1424 designed these ornate doors. Inside, the octagonal structure is richly decorated with Roman columns and gilded column heads. The floor’s marble inlay features Islamic-style patterns and the apse is decorated with 13th-century mosaics. Coppo di Marcovaldo and Cimabue were among those involved in the cupola’s decorative mosaic work.

 

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Statues adorn the city and its galleries.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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