Last weekend we went on our final API trip to Firenze. We took a bus and it was about 3 or so hours. Here's what we saw:
The Arno River. They have beautiful bridges and beautiful buildings lining the banks. One of the bridges has buildings on it, which almost makes it look like Venice. People were playing sports on the banks, and rowing down the river. It was so much more beautiful than the Tiber here in Rome. I think the Tiber has way more potential!
On a walking tour, I learned that these buildings (and all other buildings with brick at the base) were originally used as tower houses. For safety reasons, there were no entrances from street level. Instead, they used ladders to climb up to the doors, and the buildings were connected to each other with ladders systems across the roofs.
The Florence Cathedral, designed by Brunelleschi. The duomo is painted on the inside by Vasari, a late Mannerist/Broque-influencing artist. I love how ornate the cathedral is on the outside. It includes a bell tower and baptistry, but it has elaborate doors, windows, and niches with sculptures in them. It's much more breathtaking than many churches in Rome from the outside, although the inside is underwhelming (in my opinion).
These are the bronze doors from the cathedral's baptistry from the competition of 1401! This is a big deal, and it's mentioned in every art history course, because the competition is basically what kicked off the Renaissance. Basically, Ghiberti and Brunelleschi (and others, but they were the main men) were asked to design a panel of the sacrifice of Isaac for the baptistry doors. Even though Brunelleschi's panel was more emotional (and preferred by some people..), Ghiberti won, mostly because his panel used less bronze, and was therefore cheaper. Even though Brunelleschi lost, he became one of the first leading Renaissance architects.
This is Brunelleschi's on the left and Ghiberti's on the right. I still say Brunelleschi should have won, but I guess he did in the end because he got commissioned for awesome things like the duomo. And who's really heard of Ghiberti anyway? The only thing he won was also getting to design the doors on the other side of the baptistry.
We climbed the stairs of the bell tower. It was about 414 stairs (that's what they advertised, but I counted a few more). There were lots of views of Firenze through little windows on the way up, as well as a great view of the duomo and the city behind from the top. You can see the little people that climbed to the top of the duomo. We waved to them. I love how all the roofs are the exact same in the whole city. Brunelleschi's duomo was kind of a big deal at the time, although Michelangelo came along and did it better later (in my opinion):
I know you feel really fooled by this optical illusion. It's okay, it happens to everybody. One day this will be a big thing, just like Pisa. Someone had to do that for the first time too!
p.s.-In case you were wondering, today is the 81st birthday of Gió Pomodoro, according to Google (assuming the Google logo changes the same way in every country). He's the guy who made this sculpture, which is located in the Vatican Museums!:
I get it!