Both Kevin (my husband) and I list Florence as our favorite city in Italy. Kevin had been once before, back in 1999, when he and his best friend backpacked across Europe before attending grad school. He had fond memories of the city, and especially the Duomo, and couldn't wait to share it with me over 15 years later.
Let's be honest. The Duomo is pretty impressive. It's big and beautiful. To reach it you walk through small pedestrian-only streets, chucked full of 21st-century shops. Then all of sudden it appears, a mountain of carvings, pillars and marble.
The Duomo is actually called Santa Maria del Fiore - Saint Mary of the Flowers. And flowery is the perfect way to describe its façade. It's not covered in flowers or flower images, but it is heavily decorated and "lacey" in feeling.
History fact: The elaborate marble facade wasn't added until the 1800s, nearly 500 years after the completion of the church.
My husband says this might be one of his favourite views in the whole world. It moves him. Not religiously, but artistically and historically. It reminds him that he is but one small blip in the lifetime of the world. So many came before us - leaving their art, thoughts and emotions. So many will come after, creating even more wonder in our world.
|Kevin and I took a selfie everyday, to prove we were both actually in Italy, together!!|
Brunelleschi's dome was completed in 1463 and was built without the use of scaffolds. No one knows exactly how he did it, but there is a thicker inner shell built inside the dome that acts a support platform for the dome we see outside. Difficult to do now - let alone 600 years ago!!
This simpler church, pictured below, is Santa Croce.
It is much smaller and lesser known, but holds the tombs of some very significant dead Florentines. :)
Work on this church began in the 1200s and is built in the traditional gothic style of the era.
|Inside the ceilings soar with colourful fresco paintings and the floors are covered in black and white burial stones, rubbed smooth by hundreds of years of passing feet.|
|Kevin and I always take photos of our feet in interesting places. This is where our feet have trod. We have been here and left our footprints.|
As I mentioned before, many famous Florentines are buried in Santa Croce. Famous dead people found here: Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli and Rossini. Above is the tomb of Rossini. As students of classical music, Kevin and I found this tomb particularly significant.
This tomb is that of Michelangelo. Across the bottom of the tomb are three figures representing the three areas of art he explored - sculpture, architecture and painting.
I found this ceiling below in the nearby Pazzi Chapel, attached to the cloisters of the church. It was created by Brunelleschi, the same man who built the Duomo.
I love the bright colours, looking just a fresh as the day they were painted.
And these are only 2 of the historic churches that rise up in the gorgeous streets of Florence. Like I said, my husband and I are already counting the years until we can return to this city once again and discover more of its highly significant - and lesser-known gems.
Thanks for stopping by and indulging me in my travel photos. More to share soon, I'm sure!
Hugs to all,
PS. I am linking up over at Packing My Suitcase for Allane's "Monday Escapes"
and Bonnie's "Travel Tuesday" on A Compass Rose.