Thursday, February 19, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
Sorry for the delay but after returning from the trip I had some much needed work that needed to get done so the blog fell behind. I am going to try to give you a brief synopsis of the trip going through each town but we have already done so much since then that it seems like it was weeks ago. Time is really beginning to fly by over here with our busy schedule.
So, here goes...
Our first city of the trip was Florence, we spent 3 days and 4 nights there crisscrossing this beautiful city not leaving anything uncovered. We stayed in a very small hotel right at the foot of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. This cathedral church is probably the most recognized piece of architecture in the city. Construction began on the church in 1296 in and completed structurally in 1436 with the dome engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi. The dome is the most famous part of the church because for several years this part of the church was left unfinished because no one knew how to construct a dome of this magnitude. A competition was held and Brunelleschi won the job. As we were told by our tour guide for the day legend has it that during the competition Brunelleschi who had done lots of other works in Florence was asked to join the competition. He proposed that he knew the exact way to construct the dome but wasn't willing to give them the details how. Well, the leaders of Florence, refused to let him continue in the competition if he didn't give them more information. He responded by saying that if you could make an egg stand up on its end then you could construct a dome. Well, everyone tried to make an egg stand up but no one was successful. So when it was his turn he cracked the egg in half and stood up the two halves. After that everyone said that anyone could do that and he said that if he told them how to build the dome they would say the same thing. Needless to say he got the job and constructed the largest dome in the world until the modern era, the dome was one of the largest in the world, being surpassed in width only by that of the Pantheon in Rome, of which we saw later in the trip. It remains the largest brick dome ever constructed
This was a view from a nearby hill that had amazing views of the city. Also why we were here we went into another catholic church that everyday a men’s group sings prayers. These men although the prayers were in Italian and I didn't understand what they were saying had beautiful voices that made chills go up your back. Another interesting site that we visited while in Florence was the Uffizi Gallery. It is the oldest and probably one of the most famous art museums in the world. This gallery holds works by Leonardo daVinci, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, and Raphael just to name a few. The most famous work of art that we saw and one of my favorites was Michelangelo's David which is located in the Galleria dell Accademia. The statue of David is a massive piece of marble. It was a lot bigger than I had imagined. I am not usually an art history guy but a lot of these painting and sculptures were ones that I had studied in school and heard about so it was really neat to actually see them in person.
Our days in Florence were jammed pack with sites to see. We would start about 7:30 in the morning and wouldn't end to about 8 o'clock at night. Here are just a few more of the places that we went: Medici palace, Tomb of the Medici family, Chiesa di Santa Croce, Palazzo Rucellai, etc. etc. Florence was an amazing city and I enjoyed it throughly. I will have to do a better job of explaining it when I get home and can go back through all the pictures.