no matter where you go, there you are

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Santa Croce and farewell to Firenze

Our night spent in Florence was nice, especially since we had a private room. Sure it was a teeny room and our three beds only had about a foot of room between each one, but we didn't have to worry about roommates and keeping our stuff in our suitcases. And we had our own little private sink. There were 2 bathrooms on the floor and the one right next door was very convenient for the use of the toilet but the shower...not so much. This bathroom had a separate area for the shower, but no curtain or divide in the floor. If you turned it on, the water would go everywhere. You could like use the sink while taking a shower. Interesting, but not convenient.

We had purchased tickets to Venice for around 2 in the afternoon so we had a relaxing morning and slept in a little before packing our bags, checking out and taking a nice walk to Santa Croce. Neither Anne, Lauren or myself had originally planned on wanting to go there, but when we were up in the Campanile at the Duomo we saw it in the distance and wondered what this large church was. It's black and white marble with infusions of pale pink, which by this point I began to attribute to the architecture of Tuscany, stood out against the red tiled roofs. We looked up what church it was while chilling in the hotel room and learned it was Santa Croce, the church housing the tombs of Galileo and Michaelangeo as well as many other notables.

The interior was like any other church, open and wide with space to roam. The ceiling was detailed woodwork, very impressive and unique compared to what I'd seen before.

Tombs covered the walls around the entire place, replacing what were side chapels in other churches. Galileo's was nice and the stonework well done, but I didn't know what the people were supposed to represent.

Michaelangelo's tomb was simialar in size and shape to Galileo's but you could stand much closer to it and they had an information plaque. And it was in English. I can't remember who designed his tomb, but the 3 women represent each aspect of art Michaelangelo influenced and took part in. The sculpture woman, for example, holds a small block and a chisel. Each has a pensive, melancholy expression establishing the mood of the place. I thought it was very interesting and enjoyed looking at the details carved into the marble.

At various locations throughout the church, were the graves of former Florentines but instead of having just a headstone placed into the floor, the graves were marked by a carving in the shape of a human, symbolic of who was buried beneath. These weren't carved deep enough that it created a hole, but they were definitely not even ground.

The only other tomb name I recognized was Machiavelli. He wrote some famous book, I want to say it had "Prince" in the title, but I can't remember. I was supposed to read it for a class in college, but I didn't. Yet somehow I was able to write a piece long enough to get a pass on my homework.

Along the church walls, you could see where old paintings/frescoes had been discovered, many which still had bold colors. It really showed the age of the building and the evolution of art and style.

The rest of the church were large side chapels and then a, what I will call, annex portion where there was a leather store and some other large, open rooms with gorgeous paintings of the crucifxion of Jesus. There was also an semi-underground tomb area and pretty yard art in the courtyard. When we were finished there was still a little while before we were to catch our train so we wandered around the city on the opposite side of the river. Walking along the river was really nice cuz it gave us great views of the large houses sitting on the hillside.

Our time was up in Florence. Perhaps if we had more money and more time we'd have seen more, but in only 1.5 days I could certainly feel how culturally different this city was to Rome. Bustling, but on a much smaller scale, Florence felt like a tight little community, very safe and quaint. A place I would definitely recommend to friends.

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