Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ah Florence! (by Hiller)

We took an early train in to Florence to spend a day bathing in Renaissance history. Even though Florence hosts about 1/2 million people, it seemed extremely intimate compared to the vastness of Rome. The highlight of our day was viewing Michelangelo’s David. Michelangleo completed the sculpture at the age of 26 out of one huge piece of marble. This work established him as the greatest sculptor of his time. In recent years, a viewer tried to vandalize the sculpture so now they have a protective barrier around it. You can see on David’s left ankle where the repair was made. (They wouldn't let us take a photo of it). The Ponte Vecchio is the old bridge in Florence that has shops built in on both sides. It use to have fish markets, but the Medici family ordered the jewelers to relocate their stores on to the bridge to replace the fish markets. The Medici palaces were located next to the bridge and they would have to walk past the fish market every day. Since it was smelly, they did not like that! So out with the fish and in with the diamonds. A recent trend has been for young lovers to place a lock near a fountain and throw the key into the river to secure their love for eternity. (Listen to our guide Cynthia talk about this new custom on the video below). The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore is the cathedral church (Duomo) of Florence begun in 1296 in the Gothic style with the design of Arnolfo di Cambio and completed structurally in 1436 with the dome engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi. Brunelleschi completed the dome without scaffolds, which was quite an accomplishment at the time. What a magnificent site!



  1. A well presented blog. Thanks for sharing another story along your journey. I look forward to your report of your gondola ride under the Bridge of Sighs when you get to Venice. That will be another delightful experience for all of you.

  2. A great description of Florence. I remember it as we visited there. I'm sure some things have changed but I think nit is wonderful that they have preserved the histoirical appearance and social structure. It makes you feel like you are looking in on the 15th century,or such. I loved your description and information.

  3. So - did y'all go out and buy a lock?????

  4. Hi Melissa! We passed on the lock this time. We're having a great time. Looking forward to seeing you at the Institute in July. Thanks for reading out blog! Hiller