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Old 02-05-2009, 09:18 PM   #104
V@lentino OP
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The museum city

June 5th


The capital of Tuscany and its most revered jewel. Firenze is the cradle of Renaissance, (la culla del Rinascimento) a true museum city.



Hard to believe but we were really here contemplating the works of masters.





The most impressive were the statues, and the painted ceilings. Many Roman Divinity tales are told just by the marble statues, and many Christian tales are told just by the ceiling frescos.



Jackie was having fun with the stuff wine leaves.



The frescos were phenomenal.


Frescos actually originate from the latin al fresco (fresh), a style also born from the renaissance where painters would decorate walls and ceilings directly on the white wash freshly applied plaster.

The beast


And the fountains were not so bad either.



We sauntered through the arched streets and made our way to the Duomo.

Beside


Under



And along the river


To eventually find the Duomo.



The Duomo is gigantic and one of the largest in the world. The cathedral itself is one of the largest in the world at 149 meters long. The intricacy of the design on the outside of the church, rivaled in my eyes (although of a complete different style) the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, and the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. You cannot help but being in awe when contemplating such feats of architecture. It took 120 years for the cathedral to be completed, 16 years alone for the Duomo. Itself an intricately complicated design, a wonder of engineering just from sheer height and span.







Brunelleschi, the architected who won the competion to build the basilica, completed this dome in a world still a few years away from the invention of the printing press. The original painter, who’s name escapes me now, started the Duomo when he was 72, and finished by his pupils after his death. He was so weak that he had to be hoisted in a basket so he could work on the frescos as he was too old to climb the would be scaffolds.



We made our way up this street.


Found this place


And Jackie had a Florentine thingawatchamacalit.



The magic of Firenze is however more than just the Duomo. We loved the bridges over the river Arno. It had a unmistakable medieval feel to it. Walking on the ponte Vecchio with its old houses turned diamond stores was incredible.



We also had the chance to briefly hook-up with a friend, he is a busy hotel executive, and only had a couple of hours before his next conference call, but nonetheless it was great to see him.


But we got talking and forgot to take a picture.

The traffic of the city was challenging, not dense enough to be slow, so just a lot of different vehicles going really fast in all kinds of directions. I am feeling at ease in the urban jungle now, but when the roundabout is four lanes wide, and your not a hundred percent sure which one of the 6 exits is yours, sometimes its better to go around one more time, and take another look at the sign.

ST made lots of friends.



But she did not know what to make of this chump.



Just another arch.


Our friend Thomas, who came from Milano, had interesting comments on the city where he has been living for almost a year. It is quite boring he tells me, not a lot of places to go out, or not so many things to do once you’ve seen the sites. Because there are so many tourists all the time, its even difficult to find a good restaurant, all the menus are similar claiming typical this, and artisan that, all for a pretty penny.



The Synagogue.



This said, we had the best ice cream of the trip so far, in a little gelateria just across from the park de la Fortezi. Jackie claimed that the Bacio ice cream was even better then the chocolate and espellette she had in Biarritz so you can imagine.

Of course a girl has to look good after stuffing her face, and the mirror in the top box came really handy once again



We spent a whole day in Firenze from early morning to late evening. With our head filled with so much beauty, our belly filled with so much ice cream, and our feet tired from all the walking, we were glad to hop back on ST and enjoy the comfort of our Russell Day Long saddle for the 20 km ride that separated the city from our villa in Lamporeccio.

A few more views from the top.

The Duomo



The arche bridges crossing the river Arno.



And the classic century old view contemplated by so many before us.



A few twisties to make a perfect day an even better one, and we were back to the Heart of Tuscany.







Tomorrow, we take the day off and stay home for a bit of well deserve R&R...
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V@lentino screwed with this post 02-05-2009 at 09:34 PM
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