Florence Duomo, Baptistry and Galileo Museum

Market47AM train from Rome to Florence.
The streets are jammed with stalls selling tourist junk, even at 9AM. I suppose it was much the same in the Renaissance, but I don’t have to like it.

Florence has a fabulous food market. B orders and eats cod, shrimp, octopus. FRESH and cooked in front of us. Lots of goodies for vegetarians too. Formaggio (cheese). Piles of fruit. No wonder Italian food is so good.

On to the Medici Chapel. Can see why Machiavelli dedicated The Prince to one of them: in their portraits they look like brutes – big noses, crumpled brows.

Back on the street we pass a real leather-working shop. leather

Next San Marco – a former monastery – decorated by Fra Lippi. I was expecting his beautiful women, but it’s a monastery (duh, no women). Each monk’s cell had a painting, many of the crucifixion. Blood pooling at the base of the cross. Spurting from the side wound. B comments that Jesus must have had great blood pressure. Photos not allowed – even on the web I found none of the gory frescos. Use your imagination.

Duomo 2duomo10Next the Accademia for Michelangelo’s David. He was 28 when he finished it. What to say? It’s just stunning, even given its familiarity in photos. Irreverently I note that the buns are cute and his eyes alive. Again, no pictures.
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The Duomo. A BIG WOW. The side is dirty but the front has been cleaned. A wedding cake – all the frills and statues and pink and green marble. Inside it’s empty – the most empty church we’ve seen. All the glory on the outside, like a teen-aged girl.

Over to the Baptistry. I’ve been in Florence before but only admired the famous doors on the outside, never went in. What a mistake.
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Here is what I expected in the Duomo! Gold touched ceiling. Mosaics everywhere, from floor up. The old Biblical stories. Like the stained glass only in stone. Another WOW.(Click on the little pix twice to see a full image.)

Last stop of the day (oh, my feet), the Galileo Museo.
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Filled with old scientific instruments. Globes. Telescopes. Things I’ve only heard of. Early electricity generators. Compasses. Astrolobes. All beautifully presented. closeup

A walk along the river, then a fabulous dinner. Crespelle (crepes) made with pasta dough and filled with spinach ricotta. Mmmm good. And the room in the hotel is quiet – such a blessing. Tomorrow another big day in Firenze.

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