We’ve been home for weeks now, but I never posted anything about our first big art day. We started out right around the corner at the Duomo. There was a long line to get in, but it moved quickly once they opened. The line set the tone for Florence: lots and lots of different nationalities, many of them students, all here for the art.
Here’s the facade, highly decorated as you can see and much more recent than the interior.The Duomo is oddly bare inside because most of its most precious possessions have been moved to the Duomo Museum (q.v.). I was delighted to find that bandit Sir John Hawkwood, aka Giovanni Acuto (since Italians have no H, W or K in their language), just as Frances Saunders had promised, displayed on one wall just as if he had not changed sides dozens of times and been responsible for lots of Italian deaths during his career as a mercenary. Here is Alison lighting a candle .See the tiled floor? It would make a great quilt design.I know that Renaissance art is more realistic than Byzantine, but I have a fondness for the stiff draperies and simple outlines of Byzantine art, like this.We left the Duomo and proceeded to the Campanile, which you can climb if you are so inclined. I was inclined, but the higher I got the more scared I got, despite the fact that it’s made of stone and is perfectly sturdy. I did get a few pictures of the city before turning around and stumbling back down. Here are the tiled roofs of Florence, with the mountains in the background.And above, another view of the Duomo’s roof, which is never too far away no matter where you go in Florence.
On to the Museum of the Duomo, filled with amazing sculptures. We both liked this pastoral scene.On an entirely different note, Donatello’s Habakkuk, an Old Testament prophet.The starkness of this sculpture prepared me for his masterpiece (in my opinion), Mary Magdalene. I didn’t take a picture of it, but other people did.Her face is haunting.
One more stop, this time at the Baptistery. Also fairly empty, but gorgeously decorated. It’s really all about the doors, but I was taken with the mosaic ceiling that tells the story of Jesus, among many others, and includes a terrific Last Judgment scene with a famously horned devil.The doors were usually thronged with tourists, but we did get close up one evening. Here is Moses receiving the tablets, with angels rejoicing. This is from the door by Pisano.Time for a rest! We headed to the Piazza della Repubblica, where we sat down at one of the touristy restaurants right on the piazza. The waiter was charming, looking out for his “two ladies.” Corny, but who cares. We had ribolitta (bread soup) and a glass of wine and shared a pizza with funghi and prosciutto. Yum.But we weren’t done yet…read on.