Yesterday was truly one most incredible days. It was the first "free" day that we had. We all decided to sleep in to shake off some of our jet leg and rest up before school starts. It seems like since being here we have been going nonstop so it was really nice to have a relaxing morning.
We went to the Uffizi and got our Uffizi passes which will allow us entry into a number of fabulous museums and churches around the city. Then we went inside the Duomo and Duomo museum. Incredible.
Thanks to my Rick Steves Florence book we learned SO much!!! The Duomo has a rich history and is a compilation of some of Italy's most influential artistic geniuses. The Duomo's construction begain in 1296 and has had several face lifts since then.
Across from the entrance you can see the "gates of Paradise" by Ghiberti. Ghiberti won a citywide competition to construct these doors depicting scenes from the Bible. These are copies but the REAL panels can be found inside the Duomo museum.
When you enter the Duomo you enter into a 500 feet long by 300 feet wide nave. Here you can see the BEAUTIFUL painted dome of the "Last judgement" constructed by Brunelleschi, whose tomb is in the Duomo's basement... Also in this area is a huge clock made in 1443. This is a 24 hour clock that starts at sunset and STILL WORKS today!
Then we went to the Duomo museum. I cannot even begin to describe all of the absolutely incredible things that live in this museum. Some of my favorites included:
John the Baptist's index finger!! WEIRD!
Michelangelo's Pieta. This is one of the last pieces that Michelangelo completed before dying. Three mourners tend to Christ after his crucification. Christ is held by a figure representing Michelangelo himself. Seen face on the figures seem very sad and lifeless however, seen from the right their faces change emotions from this grief to peaceful expressions. SO COOL.
Donatello's Mary Magdelene. This carving is extremely moving because of Mary's realistic expression.
After getting lost with Rick in the Duomo Museum for over 2 hours we stayed in the Duomo and attended english mass at 5. It was incredible to go to a mass in such an amazing church. We're going to work our way up to going in Italian and even Latin!