Friday, April 17, 2015


Last week, before classes resumed after our Easter break, the community took a "gita" (trip) to explore Firenze (that's Florence for most of the readers of this blog.)  What a beautiful city!  It's not as chaotic as Rome, but there seems to be just as many tourists.  Florence was (and still is) at the heart of Italian art, and so we went to several museums, taking in the Florentine scene.  Here's some of the highlights.  Enjoy!

After a very early morning train ride and checking into our hotel, our first stop was the Convent of San Marco.  It was a Dominican Convent, best known for the frescos of Fra Angelico which he painted in the monks' cells.  My room seems kind of bare after seeing their rooms!

Since it's Easter, I'll show the Resurrection.

The Annunciation - probably one of the most famous frescos in San Marco.  It is at the top of a stairway and kind of takes your breath away when you first see it.

Close up of Mary.
Then we headed over to the center of the city, where there is the Duomo (Cathedral of St. Mary of the Flowers) and its detached Baptistry.

The outside of the Duomo is beautiful.

This picture is to make Sr. Gretchen and Sr. Nicole jealous.

The facade of the Duomo.

The dome of the duomo (say that three times fast)
The inside of the Baptistry has wonderful mosaics.

The Baptistry ceiling.

The tomb of Pope John XXIII - not of Vatican II fame, but the last Anti-Pope.  There was a little disagreement at the time about who the real Pope was, and just who could elect him.  Just goes to show that you can be an anti-Pope and still get some respect.
After lunch, we had some free time, so I headed to another museum at Piazza Pitti, the home of the Medici Family.  Now this is a house!  It was huge.  Those Medicis knew how to live it up.

Madonna and Child by Raffael

A four-floor staircase.

Along the way, we passed Piazza Signoria....

...and Holy Cross Church...

...and a little bit of dinner - amazing!

The next morning, we headed to the Ufizzi Museum.  It is probably the most famous collection of art in Florence.  We also had a wonderful guide who explained everything.

"The Birth of Venus" by Botticelli.

The Holy Family by Michelangelo.

"The Sacrifice of Isaac" by Caravaggio.

"Bacchus" by Caravaggio.
Afterwards, we had a traditional lunch of "bistecca fiorentina" (Florence steak.)  It was unbelievable, and cooked to perfection!  The restaurant was near the house of Dante, and the story is that Dante used to eat there.

After lunch.  I think we all gained weight from the meal.

But somehow Bro. Lester had room for gelato.
Our friend Dante.
The Ponte Vecchio (the old bridge, named after they had built a new bridge up river.)
Then, in the afternoon, I made a trip to the Academia - yes another museum.  I was pleased to find they had a musical instrument exhibit.  But, there was one piece I wanted to see, and it was well worth the trip.  (Attention:  Mom, you might want to cover your eyes.)
Just a Stradavari violin sitting around.

No joke - this is called a piano-guitar.

One of the first upright pianos.
And there it is:  David.

It really is a masterpiece.

As you get closer, the detail is amazing.

One more by Michelangelo - "The Prisoners" - which is a set of sculptures which were never finished.

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