Again, we had a “chamber of commerce” day - beautiful, clear blue skies with temps in the upper 70’s to low 80’s. The drive to
Susan here, picking up where Jeff left off. Rising some 16 feet tall, the David is truly a work of art.
Our next stop was the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Flower, known for the beautiful green, white, and red marble exterior and the enormous dome (Duomo), designed by the masterful architect Brunelleschi. The construction technique, using no scaffolding, that Brunelleschi employed for the huge dome are still a mystery to contemporary architectural studies. We viewed the massive bronze doors of the little octagonal Baptistry (see photo at bottom), which is to the west of the cathedral. The beginning of the construction of the Baptistry is unknown, but the bronze doors, begun after a competition in 1401 to chose the artist, signals the beginning of the Renaissance in
From the cathedral, we went to the
We then proceeded to the Piazza della Signoria (photo at the end), where there are spectacular sculptures; all but two are priceless originals. It is here, outside the Palazzo Vecchio, where we saw the copy of Michelangelo’s David. Another noteworthy item is some graffiti by Michelangelo. He was challenged to carve a face in the wall of the building, behind his back. After a stroll past the Uffizi, we were greeted with a view of the beautiful Ponte Veccchio (photo), built in 1345. We walked back up along the
We arrived about 1 hour and 15 minutes later (during which we all slept most of the way) to do a quick tour of La Piazza del Duomo, the complex that includes the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. The Tower is on the far right of the photo. It was built as the bell tower of the Cathedral.
Anyways, after taking all the lovely outside pictures, we decided to make a quick run through the church. Inside was the body of someone named Ranieri (or something like that) in an illuminated box thing, much like the decaying body of that one pope in St. Peter’s. Across the way was another illuminated box containing the skull and a couple other bones (I think) of some unknown person. By that time, we had to leave.
We met back up with the cab driver, Giambattista, who, by the way, drove the most incredibly cramped van I’ve ever been in. As Dad put it, a super micro mini van. I had the choice of sitting crammed together with my Mom and Vicki (I don’t like it when people rub up against me. It violates my personal bubble.) or being crammed in the “back seat.” So naturally, personal space ruled over my decision, also I didn’t know that the back was THAT cramped. I couldn’t even sit normally. If I did, my knees were pressed up really hard against the seat, so I had to sit with one leg to either side (not very ladylike) or diagonally. I alternated the two because either way, it was hardly an enjoyable experience.
Now, the tight squeeze aside, let me shed some light on our driver’s driving “technique.” He had this quirk where he would speed up, then let off the gas and coast, then speed up again, etc. He never would keep his foot on the accelerator and go a constant speed! Anyway, the driving and smallness of the van aside, we had another amazing excursion in