Monday, February 9, 2009

Our 1st 10 Day Trip: Florence, Siena, and Rome, Part 1

After spending the first three weeks in Genoa (with the exception of a few short trips) we were ready to get out and see more of Italy on our first 10 day trip.  We left bright and early for Florence, as we do for most of our trips.  After checking in at our hotel we were off to the Uffizi Gallery.  The Uffizi has a remarkable collection and contains many works that we had previously studied in art history classes. 

The Uffizi 

The next day we were led all over Florence by our tour guide for the day, Jane Zaloga.  In the morning we focused on the Medici and Michelangelo.  Our morning stops included: il Convento di San Marco, il Palazzo Medici Ricciardi, la Basilica di San Lorenzo, il Biblioteca Laurenziana, la Cappella dei Principi, il Tombe Medicee.

The Convent of San Marco was renovated and enlarged in 1437.  The convent now serves as the Museo Nazionale di San Marco.  The museum houses many Fra Angelico frescoes, the most famous of which is the Annunciation.  The convent expansion was designed by Michelozzo, including the cloister, the monks’ quarters and the library.   

Convento di San Marco 

The Basilica of San Lorenzo is one of the largest and oldest churches in Florence.  The exterior façade for the church was designed by Michelangelo but never built.  There was talk about building the façade that Michelangelo designed hundreds of years later, but by then the church was known as a church without a façade.  The interior of the church was incredible, a complete contrast to the exterior.  

Bascilica di San Lorenzo - Exterior

Bascilica di San Lorenzo - Interior

In the afternoon we visited il Battistero di San Giovanni, la Piazza della Signoria, il Palazzo Vecchio, la Galleria degli Uffizi, la Chiesa di Santa Croce and la Cappella Pazzi.

The mosaic ceiling in the Florence Baptistry (Battistero di San Giovanni) was incredible.  The ceiling depicts the Last Judgement with Christ in the middle, the saved at Christ’s right hand and the damned on his left.  The rest of the ceiling tells different stories from Genesis as well as stories about Joseph, Mary, Christ and St. John the Baptist.

Battistero di San Giovanni

On Sunday, we were back with Giuditta.  Our first stop was the Accademia.  The Accademia has housed Michelangelo’s David since 1873.  It was quite incredible to see what is regarded by many as the most famous sculpture in the world.  

Michelangelo's David

The rest of our day consisted of visits to the Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Pitti, Chiesa di Santo Spirito, Ponte Santa Trinita, Palazzo Rucellai, Chiesa di Santa Maria Novella, Stazione Ferroviaria Santa Maria Novella and the Stadio Comunale Berta. 

The gardens at Palazzo Pitti were beautiful.  I can only imagine what they must look like on a sunny day.  

Palazzo Pitti 

Sketch from Palazzo Pitti 

There was a competition in 1418 for the design of the dome of the Santa Maria Novella.  Brunelleschi won the competition and the dome was completed in 1436. The façade of the Santa Maria Novella was designed by Leon Battista Alberti.  The dimensions of the façade are all bound to each other by the 1:2 ratio of the musical Octave.  
Chiesa di Santa Maria Novella 

Stazione Ferroviaria Santa Maria Novella

On Monday morning we woke up and climbed Brunelleschi’s dome at the Florence Cathedral (Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore).  There were 463 steps to the top, climbing inside of the double walled dome, and no elevator.  From the top of the cupola, you could see the entire city.  It was interesting to look out and find all the buildings we had seen in the past two days.  It was well worth the climb.

View from the top of Brunelleschi's Dome 

More Photos and Sketches

Day with Jane Zaloga: 
il Palazzo Medici Ricciardi

Tombe Medicee

Chiesa di Santa Croce

Day with Giuditta: 
Ponte Vecchio
Ponte Vecchio Sketch 

Stadio Comunale Berta 

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