Friday, November 6, 2015

I Lied--One More Thing!

Note: I promised to move on to postings about our visit further south in Italy, but I can't leave our Florence stay without saying a few words about the churches.

Crucifix by Giotto in Santa Maria Novella.

For two people who are unaffiliated with any religious organization, we spend a lot of time in churches! But how can anyone remain unmoved at the construction of those magnificent historic buildings, let alone all the artwork inside? Some of the most peaceful and beautiful moments of our stay were spent exploring Florence's Duomo and the other churches, from San Miniato on the hill, where we heard monks chanting, to the artwork-filled Santa Maria Novella near the train station.

One of our favorite churches is Santa Croce, which we first visited in 1982. Our son, Aaron, then 12, played an impromptu game of soccer with some Italian kids in the piazza in front of the church on that visit. It was right after Italy won the World Cup, and we presented the "captain" of the team with a Seattle Sounders t-shirt.

Workmen were clearing away materials that had been set up for an event in the piazza in front
of Santa Croce. This is the same piazza where our son, Aaron, at age 12, played soccer with locals.

Inside of Santa Croce there are incredible frescoes by Giotto. (You may remember the amusing scene in the film "A Room with a View," where the tour group viewing the frescoes is directed to look left and right in quick succession, heads turning as if in a tennis match?) Because of the low lighting, it was impossible for me to get good photos of them. 

Santa Croce holds the tombs of Michelangelo and Galileo, among other honored Florentines. Of course, Galileo was first interred in unconsecrated ground for his heresy of saying the earth moved around the sun. Only later  was he moved inside. (Below is Michelangelo's tomb.)

The sun warmed the courtyard of the cloisters on the afternoon that we visited. 

Santa Maria Novella brought more moments of reflection. (The interior is pictured in the first photo of this entry.)

Of all the churches of Florence, though, none will live in our memories more than Santa Maria del Fiore, the Duomo (cathedral). Because our apartment faced the back of the cathedral, most of our photos show the dome, but here is a view of the front with Giotto's bell tower.

Inside, under the dome, you can view frescoes designed by Vasari, but mostly executed by one of his students. The frescoes aren't that remarkable in themselves, but taken together, they are impressive.

The churches of Florence always provide a moment of peace in a bustling city, and their treasures are truly timeless.

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