Florence Day Five

Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower

Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower

Day Five Koen and I did a lot of walking and climbing. So sore the following days!

The day started bright and early. We headed to Piazza del Duomo, aka Cathedral Square, with Grayson and Tamar. The piazza is comprised of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Brunelleschi’s Dome, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistry of San Giovanni, the Crypt of Santa Reparata and the Opera Museum. With so much to see and do, we decided to split up. Koen and I started with Giotto’s Bell Tower while Grayson and Tamar began with the Cathedral.

Giotto’s Bell Tower is 87.5 meters high with 414 steps. The tower is known as the most beautiful campanile in Italy, begun in 1334 and finally completed in 1359. Like the Cathedral, the Bell Tower is also clad in white, red, and green marble. The climb was high and narrow, but we made it to the top! What a beautiful view of Florence!

Following Koen up the stairs

Following Koen up the stairs

 

View of the Baptistery

View of the Baptistery

 

View of Florence

View of Florence

 

View of the Dome

View of the Dome

 

Still climbing!

Still climbing!

 

One of the old bells on display

One of the old bells on display

 

Overlooking Florence from the top

Overlooking Florence from the top

 

We visited the Baptistry of San Giovanni next for a bit of a rest after the climb. Nothing quite prepares you for the interior. The octagonal building itself is a site to see, but my jaw dropped when I walked in. As the sunshine filtered in, the precious golden mosaics in the dome immediately draw your attention. The central motif is the huge figure of Christ in Judgement. Koen and I sat down, leaned back, and took it all in. Photos can’t do any justice to the beauty of the Baptistry’s interior.

The Baptistery

The Baptistery

 

The East Door, which Michelangelo called the Gates of Paradise

The East Door, which Michelangelo called the Gates of Paradise

 

First view when walking into the Baptistery

First view when walking into the Baptistery

 

Inside the Baptistery

Inside the Baptistery

 

The altar

The altar

 

Christ in Judgement, with scenes from the Last Judgement occupying three of the dome's eight segments

Christ in Judgement, with scenes from the Last Judgement occupying three of the dome’s eight segments

 

One more view of the mosaics

One more view of the mosaics

 

Time was running out, so we decided to go inside the Cathedral, the third largest chruch in the world, which is free to the public. It’s free for a reason. The interior is very underwhelming in comparison to the beautiful facade. After a couple of minutes we’d seen enough and headed to the Crypt of Santa Reparata. Beneath the present-day Cathedral, you have the remains of the original basilica.

After the Crypt we had a little bit of time left before meeting Grayson and Tamar. We mistakenly thought we could climb to the top of the Dome and back in 30 minutes. There are three levels when climbing. The first is at the bottom of the Last Judgement painting inside the dome. When we reached this level we realized we needed to climb back down. But no. Not possible. You have to climb to the next level. Unfortunately there was a large, panicking man in front of us. He was sweating, huffing, and puffing, not realizing the only way down was to first climb up. Finally we were climbing to the 2nd level. This offers an even closer view of the beautifully painted dome. Although so close to the very top, we headed back down. We were not so sure the view would be that much different than the Bell Tower because they’re right next to each other. Only 15 minutes late in the end to our meeting point.

Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower

Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower

 

Detail of the facade

Detail of the facade

 

Crests lining the facade

Crests lining the facade

 

Inside the Cathedral

Inside the Cathedral

 

First glimpse of the dome

First glimpse of the dome

 

Wall detail

Wall detail

 

Crypt of Santa Reparata

Crypt of Santa Reparata

 

Graves inside the Crypt

Graves inside the Crypt

 

Closer look at the detail on one of the grave stones

Closer look at the detail on one of the grave stones

 

Fresco from the mid-14th century

Fresco from the mid-14th century

 

Floor detail

Original floor detail

 

Inside the Crypt

Inside the Crypt

 

Climbing, first closeup view of the painted dome

Climbing, first closeup view of the painted dome

 

Closeup detail

Closeup detail

 

For lunch, Koen, Grayson, Tamar, and I planned a special birthday lunch for my dad. In August we weren’t able to celebrate together, so we postponed the celebration for Italy! After some searching, I found Trattoria Sostanza, a traditional Florentine restaurant more than a century old. It feels like you’re walking into the past. Every article and review recommended the butter chicken, so of course that’s what we all ordered. We finished with some Holy Wine and meringue cake!

Mom and Dad in front of Trattoria Sostanza

Mom and Dad in front of Trattoria Sostanza

 

Rob Lowe approved

Rob Lowe approved

 

Tuscan bread and salami with fennel

Tuscan bread and salami with fennel

 

Edward liked the bread

Edward liked the bread

 

Koen's tortellini in chicken broth

Koen’s tortellini in chicken broth

 

My tortellini with butter sauce aka just butter

My tortellini with butter sauce aka just butter

 

Dad and Mom with their pasta - with meat and butter sauce

Dad and Mom with their pasta – with meat and butter sauce

 

Koen's 1/4 of free range chicken

Koen’s 1/4 of free range chicken

 

Everyone else ordered the chicken breast in butter sauce

Everyone else ordered the chicken breast in butter sauce

 

Dad with his main

Dad with his main

 

Holy Wine for our digestif

Holy Wine for our digestif

 

Koen's raspberries with lemon

Koen’s raspberries with lemon

 

The rest of us ordered the meringue cake with raspberries

The rest of us ordered the meringue cake with raspberries

 

Family photo with our desserts

Family photo with our desserts

 

After lunch, Grayson and Tamar headed home with Edward while Koen and I headed with my parents to the Boboli Gardens, on the otherside of the river. The Boboli Gardens are located behind the Pitti Palace, where the Medici grand dukes of Tuscany lived. The 16th century gardens are one of the first of it’s kind in Italy. We had beautiful weather for our walk and enjoyed the greenery and collection of sculptures. If you’re heading to Florence, I definitely recommend a visit to the Gardens! You can also bring a picnic with your of Italian goodies.

Walking across the Arno River

Walking across the Arno River

 

Mom enjoying one of Dad's massages

Mom enjoying one of Dad’s massages

 

Approaching the Pitti Palace

Approaching the Pitti Palace

 

Pitti Palace

Pitti Palace

 

Entrance to the Boboli Gardens

Entrance to the Boboli Gardens

 

Back of the Pitti Palace

Back of the Pitti Palace

 

"Tindaro Screpolato" Igor Mitoragm 1998

“Tindaro Screpolato” Igor Mitoragm 1998

 

Picnic area

Picnic area, overlooking Florence

 

Boboli Gardens

Boboli Gardens

 

Boboli Gardens

Boboli Gardens

 

Kaffehouse

Kaffehouse

 

Rose Garden Fountain

Rose Garden Fountain

 

Detail of the Rose Garden Fountain

Detail of the Rose Garden Fountain

 

View from the Rose Garden

View from the Rose Garden

 

View from the Rose Garden

View from the Rose Garden

 

Casino del Cavaliere (Porcelain Museum)

Casino del Cavaliere (Porcelain Museum)

 

Me with Mom and Dad

Me with Mom and Dad

 

Mom and Dad browsing the photos they just took

Mom and Dad browsing the photos they just took

 

Boboli Gardens

Boboli Gardens

 

Golden foliage

Golden foliage

 

View of Pitti Palace

View of Pitti Palace

 

The Neptune Fountain

The Neptune Fountain

 

Strolling through the Gardens

Strolling through the Gardens

 

Boboli Gardens

Boboli Gardens

 

Boboli Gardens

Boboli Gardens

 

Boboli Gardens

Boboli Gardens

 

Island Fountain

Island Fountain

 

Detail of the Island Fountain

Detail of the Island Fountain

 

My parents headed back to the apartment while Koen and I finished walking through the massive Boboli Gardens. Since we were already on the otherside of the Arno River, I wanted to visit St. Minias on the Mountain. This basilica is located atop one of the highest points in Florence – so more walking and climbing…but worth it! What a view! The basilica itself is regarded as one of the most scenic churches in Italy. Adjoining the basilica is the Olivetan Monastery. Koen and I bought some monk-made goodies for my parents to take back for my grandparents! We arrived at the church a bit later (around 5PM) so the sun was setting and the interior was quite dark.

On our way back home, we stopped by the Piazzale Michelangelo to take in the view before heading home. On the way back we picked up sandwiches from All’Antico Vinaio for dinner. We enjoyed our sandwiches at the apartment with a nice glass of Chianti wine.

Climbing toward St. Minias on the Mountain

Climbing toward St. Minias on the Mountain

 

Enjoying the view while we climb

Enjoying the view while we climb

 

Almost to St. Minias on the Mountain

Almost to St. Minias on the Mountain

 

St. Minias on the Mountain

St. Minias on the Mountain

 

View from the church

View from the church

 

Inside

Inside

 

Wall detail

Wall detail

 

The altar

The altar

 

Dome in the back of the church

Dome in the back of the church

 

Architectural detail

Architectural detail

 

Closeup of one of the frescos

Closeup of one of the frescos

 

Koen and me relaxing in front of the church

Koen and me relaxing outside of the church

 

View from the Piazzale Michelangelo

View from the Piazzale Michelangelo

 

We also sat for a while on the steps, to enjoy the view and relax our legs

We also sat for a while on the steps, to enjoy the view and relax our legs

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