Oh boy....another morning in Florence and just like the previous morning the Missus was ready to go. Since tickets for climbing to the Dome of the Duomo were sold out, the Missus decided we should do the Bell Tower of the Duomo; the Campanile. We got there right when they opened at 830am.
I'd read that this climb was easier than climbing to the Dome, by something like 49 steps.....so I was relieved a bit. Until I actually had to do it. The Missus told me it was going to be a "piece of cake"....only 414 steps!
Boy am I getting old..... up the winding steps.....you arrive at a platform thinking, "this isn't too bad". Until you find out there are even more steps to the next platform. Rinse....repeat.....
There are actually three platforms....I hadn't read about that, so everytime we stopped, I thought we'd made it.
If I was going up to the thirty-first floor....I'd take the elevator. But not here.....
Though I have to say, the views were amazing.
Having the dome in view makes for a more dramatic shot in my opinion.
I even pointed out the street we were staying on, Via Dei Servi, to the Missus.
Of course....we now had to go back down. Getting there early was actually a good move. The higher you go; the more cramped the stairwell is.
I felt great as we exited Giotto's Tower....it was great to be alive. I did want to take a short break though.
The Missus loved the doors of the Baptistery that faced the Duomo, called the "Gates of Paradise". That door of the Baptistry was the work of Lorenzo Ghiberti, who initially won a contest, defeating Brunelleschi (more on him later), for the right to build first the North Door, then the East Door. In all, Ghiberti spent 48 years of his life on those two doors. The original panels are on display in the Duomo Museum, which is why the Missus wanted to visit.
In fact, most of the original sculptures from the Duomo, Baptistery, and Bell Tower are on display in this museum.
One of the more enjoyable areas in the museum is the Gallery of Brunelleschi's Dome. Remember him? In the end, he got a pretty good gig himself.....designing and building the Dome of the Duomo. We really enjoyed the short video presentation, it was so informative.
Other interesting sculptures. Mary Magdalene by Donatello.
This haunting and realistic work was completed by Donatello when he was over sixty years old.
This version of Pieta by Michelangelo, also known as "The Deposition".
It is said that Michelangelo, now in his seventies, originally created this work for his own tomb. There are many different theories about why Michelangelo tried to destroy this work. Much of it was later repaired, but notice that Jesus is still missing a leg.
Once done we headed down toward Piazza della Signoria. We were doing a bit of shopping for gifts. On one of the side streets we came across a small church.
On one of the walls we noticed a painting of Dante Alighieri. This is Santa Margherita de' Cerchi also known as the Church of Dante and Beatrice. The church dates back to 1032. Supposedly, it is in this church where Dante first saw and fell in love with Beatrice who would become his muse. They were both nine at the time. This church is also said to have been the location of Dante's marriage (nope not to Beatrice) to Gemma Donati. Beatrice would marry a banker named Simone di Bardi and die in 1290 at the age of 24.
Literally steps away is Casa di Dante (the Dante House Museum). Since we had the Firenze Card we thought we'd just go ahead and visit.
It was not Dante's "home" per se; as many of the buildings of this time have been torn down. If you're a Dante fan, you'll love this tiny three floor museum of all things Dante.
Florence is full of places to see; large and small. We literally walked a few steps from Casa di Dante and saw folks going in and out of this doorway. We walked in a saw a little chapel with some very nice frescoes. This is the home of the Congregation of the Buonomini di San Martino, formed in 1441 to help those who have fallen into hard times.
How could I not give a couple of Euros?
There seem to be fascinating places like this around every corner......
Down every street........
A story to be told.....
We finally got to Piazza della Signoria.
Where the Missus spent some time trying things on at the location of Ireri Boutique on Via de Gondi. By now, I had decided on one last stop before lunch.
The Galileo Science Museum (Museo Galileo - Institute and Museum of the History of Science). Not for all the amazing collection of telescopes, scientific instruments.....history....
I wanted to see Galileo's middle finger.
Galileo and the church often clashed, on April 12th, 1633 he was convicted of heresy and was placed on house arrest until his death in 1642. Finally, in 1992, Pope John Paul II declared that Galileo was right. In some odd way, I find the placement of Galileo's middle finger somewhat.....ironic?
Or perhaps it was just because I was getting hungry?
The Missus had been wanting to try a panini in Florence and I had a place in mind. We walked back to where our apartment was and headed four blocks to Sandwichic. The place was packed, though things moved fast. I ordered our paninis on the classic Tuscan schiacciata. We headed back to the apartment and enjoyed ourselves.
The Missus got prosciutto with pecrino, porcini, and truffle cream.
I got the prosciutto cotto, a really nice ham, with pecorino and crema de peperoni (no, not pepperoni), a red pepper sauce.
The sauce was a bit too sweet, but the Missus loved the prosciutto cotto.
The schiacciata was wonderful, fairly light, yeasty, great texture, nicely toasted around the edges, but still soft inside. With a couple of glasses of wine....it was quite nice.
Via San Gallo 3/r
And then it was nap time!