Italian Pilgrimage


Page 7 - Tuesday, November 7, 2000

Tuesday morning, we awoke in Florence at 6:30 AM.  Breakfast was at 8:00, but the bags needed to be in the hall by 7:30 AM.  Breakfast is hard rolls, pastry, ham, cheese, cereal, milk, coffee, tea, juice, hot chocolate and cappuccino.  We boarded the bus which took us closer to the center of Florence.  Today, we will tour the Galleria della Accademie (Academy of Art) which houses several sculptures by Michelangelo including "David".  According to our local tour guide the paintings in the Academy are not very important, so all we saw were the sculptures by Michelangelo.  I will say that Michelangelo's marble sculptures are exquisite.  They are done from 1 piece of marble.  Tradition has it that Michelangelo would go to the quarry to pick out the perfect block of marble for the work he was about to do.  However for "David", he used a block of marble that another sculptor had rejected.  Michelangelo was in his early 20's when he did "David".  The detail on "David" is impressive.  Veins and muscles are clearly defined.  The other sculptures by Michelangelo that we saw were also impressive.  We also toured the gift shop and purchased postcards and a book about the Academy.  We then went and saw the Duomo (Cathedral) and its Baptistry.  The exterior has been recently cleaned and is very ornate.  It was built during the Renaissance period.   We were not able to go inside the Duomo, but our local tour guide said that it is very plain on the inside and that we had not missed anything by not touring inside the Duomo.  The beauty of the exterior would have to do.  The Baptisty across the street from the Duomo has a handsome entryway/door.  Evidently, Cathedrals during the Renaissance and after were civic meeting places in addition to their religious functions.  In all the major Cathedrals and Basilicas that we saw, there are large open places.  Citizens would come and stand inside the building to listen to political speeches, vote, and attend/perform other civic and political functions.  Only a small portion of the structure is set up with pews for mass.  From there to a city square that had many statues.  The sculptures had been recently cleaned and were impressive.  A replica of "David" resides in this square.  From this square, we went to the Basilica of St. Croce to have our daily mass.  We then toured the Basilica.  Many people are interred in this Basilica.  At least half of the floor that we were walking on had been used as graves.  There are many monuments in the Basilica, including monuments to Galileo, Michelangelo, and Dante.  I believe Galileo and Dante are interred in this Basilica.  The Basilica also contains a room with examples of manuscripts from the Middle Ages.  My recollection is that this Basilica is in the care of Franciscans.  We also toured the Basilica's gift shop and purchased postcards.  After touring the Basilica, we went to a leather store.  We got a presentation of fine leathers.  Florence is known for its leather, gold and silver.  Pat tried on a couple of leather coats from the sale rack, but she was not able to find one that either fit properly or that she liked.  After viewing the gold and silver section of this store, we went to lunch.  The good lord smiled on us, as the only time it rained in Florence was while we were sitting down in a restaurant having lunch.  Pat ordered a salad and I ordered a calzone.  Both portions were large and we shared.  It was good.  We were in free time so after lunch we did some shopping.  Pat purchased a silk scarf from a kiosk vendor.  We then went back to the Basilica and viewed the memorial monuments some more.  Then it was time to meet the group and go back to the bus.  We walked to the river and waited on the sidewalk for the bus to come.  This was an illegal pick-up point.  The legal point was another half mile along the river.  We were to tired to walk that far.  The bus came and we quickly boarded.  We went to a bluff overlooking the river and Florence.  As I recall, this lookout point is dedicated to Michelangelo.  We then left Florence to return to Rome.  We had a technical (bathroom) stop at a tourist trap about halfway back to Rome.  We were able to purchase wine and other Italian specialties including olive oil and candy.  So we did.  While going through the checkout lane, the electricity went out. My credit card was off for authorization at that time.  It was off for about 2 minutes.  It was very dark.  We then got back on the bus and continued our journey to Rome.  On our way back to Rome, we implored mama Rita for something other than mystery meat for dinner.  She was able to arrange salmon.  For those who did not want salmon, there was a chicken cutlet.  On the way back we said the rosary.  We also passed a shrine to Mary and sang a song or two in her honor.  We got back to Rome and went to the hotel (Hotel Pineta Palace)  to check in.  This is the same hotel we stayed in before.  Mama Rita checked us in and gave us our keys.  We went to our room, again on the 4th floor, to freshen up before dinner.  The room had the same features as the one we had before except it did not look out over downtown Rome.  It was on the other side of the hall from our first room.  We then went to dinner.  Dinner was pasta, salad, vegetable, salmon and dessert.  And some wine.  We then went back to our rooms for the night.

Now for the days pictures.    Please click on any of the thumbnails below to view a larger version of the picture.


The 3 pictures below were taken on our way to the Academy of Art.  

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The 3 pictures below were taken while we were standing in line to enter the Academy of Art.

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The first 4 pictures below are of the sculpture "David" by Michelangelo.  The next 3 pictures are also sculptures by Michelangelo.

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The picture below is on our way to the Duomo which can be glimpsed at the end of the street.

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The 7 pictures below are of the Duomo.  This is a large structure and is very ornate.  We were not able to go inside.

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The 4 pictures below are of the Baptistery across the street  from the Duomo.  The panels on the door are very well done.

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The 2 pictures below were taken form in front of the Duomo.

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And now to the square with statues.  This was a short walk from the Duomo.  Pat and I are in the last picture in front of a replica of "David".  The 4th picture depicts Medusa's head being held up high.  These sculptures all appeared to be well done.  They recently had been cleaned/restored.

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And then we are off to the Basilica.

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The 2 pictures below are taken in the square in front of the Basilica.  The first picture shows the Basilica, while the second is facing away from the Basilica.

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These 3 pictures were taken inside the Basilica.  It was dark in the Basilica and since no flash was allowed, several of the pictures did not take.  The first 2 I believe depict the monuments to Galileo and Michelangelo.  The third picture was taken during our daily mass celebrated today in the Basilica.

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Pictures from the bluff overlooking Florence.  The last picture includes Pat and I.

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There were many things in Florence that we did not see, including the well known art museum Uffizi.  Florence would be worth a 2 or 3 day stay.


And now to Wednesday - page 8

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