Northern Italy: The Final Leg- Firenze

In Florence, there was a lot to do, see, and buy.  Friday morning we left Vicenza and traveled to Florence where we dropped off our bags and headed to Santa Maria del Fiore. Before entering we stopped to admire the façade and the baptistery doors masterfully created by Lorenzo Ghiberti.  We visited the inside and the crypt where we were able to see the original basilica footprint from the 5th century.  
Some of us admiring the aisles and details of the inside
of Santa Maria del Fiore

After looking from the ground level it was time to look from the top! We left the building, entered through another side and started our journey to the top of the dome.  The view of the dome was amazing, but the real amazing part was the walk between the two levels of dome, interior and exterior.  Seeing the curve of the interior dome to our right as the exterior dome was to our left as we all walked up the spiral tight corridors made the understanding of how hard it must have been for Brunelleschi to create such an amazing dome.  The dome was a competition, part design, part engineering, Brunelleschi was picked because of his design and more so because of his invented way of creating the dome.  A series of chains and forms created this amazing dome, an invention by Brunelleschi. 

The dome created by Brunelleschi

The view from the top looking down onto the piazza

After this climb up, we all needed a little break, so after a quick lunch we went back to touring and sketching. Our next stop was Santa Maria Novella.  This church has a Renaissance façade created by Alberti and a Gothic interior.  Our job was to look at and draw the proportions of the façade.

After we did our analysis of the façade we all we able to look and understand what each other person did

Our last stop of the day before our free time and group dinner we stopped at the Uffizi Gallery.  The Uffizi Gallery was created for the Medici family as to accommodate the offices of the Florentine magistrates.  Over time this building became full of artwork and is now a famous museum for art.  To our luck, a van Gogh exhibit was going on and we were able to see some of the most famous pieces of art by him, Monet, Botticelli, and many more.  

After visiting the Uffizi Gallery, we were able to have some free time where lots of people did a little Florentine Leather shopping. 


On our last day in Florence, we were scheduled to leave by 4:00 that afternoon, and so we began our final tour with mixed emotions: aspiration (for yet another day in this beautiful city) and regret knowing that our trip would conclude in a matter of hours. Conversely, the combination of the two was what allowed us to see Florence with clear eyes and questioning minds. 

We left our bags at the hotel, and departed for San Lorenzo, a 11th century Romanesque church with a few Renaissance renovations that were done in the 15th century by, big surprise, the Medici who, as we had quickly learned, owned this city. Brunelleschi made an appearance again at this church with these alterations. Unfortunately we were unable to see the Donatello pulpits as they were under construction. 

From there we visited the Laurentian library and did some more pacing. The grand hallway, designed by Michelangelo, was particularly impressive. We were pretty big fans of the gift shop as well.

The grand hallway of the Laurentian library (photo credit: Lauren Kennedy)
From there we visited the New Sacristy, also by Michelangelo. There in the chapel with an octagonal plan, two relatively insignificant members of the Medici family are buried: Giuliano de' Medici (whose brother was Pope Leo X) and Lorenzo di Piero de’ Medici (who was the son of Guiliano’s brother Piero). Often times, people confuse Lorenzo di Piero with Lorenzo the Magnificent who is actually buried with his brother, Giuliano, in unmarked tombs within the same room. 

We left San Lorenzo and headed toward the Galleria dell'Accademia. On the way we stopped at Ospedale degli Innocenti.

Meg seems to making a lot of appearances. (photo credit: Lauren Kennedy) Thank you, Lauren!

Finally, we came to the Galleria dell'Accademia where the famous David by Michelangelo is housed. The sculpture, of course, used to be in Palazzo della Signoria near the Uffizi. 

Sofia gave us a sketching assignment: to draw the famous biblical hero. We were very mature about the subject. According to our own Bill Sullivan’s analysis, his butt fits within a golden rectangle.

We all departed from the gallery and drowned our sorrows in last minute purchases, though I’m sure they were all careful to not wet the leather, and within a few hours we arrived back to Rome safely.

 -Emily Curato & Chris Penafiel