I remember feeling disappointed when I saw the Mona Lisa. It seemed small and was guarded by such thick glass that it was difficult to see. Today we visit two famous Florence sites, the Duomo, and, at the Galleria dell'Accademia, the statue of David.
On our way to the museum, I fear that, again, my expectations are too high.
Not so. Michelangelo's David is worth all the fuss. He stands 17 feet tall, nearly twice the height of his Biblical opponent Goliath. His marble skin is perfectly supple; every sinew and muscle seems mortal. Some marble heads, with their unseeing eyes, are eerie, even ghostlike. But humanity spills from David's face: boldness, arrogance, strength, even fear. His sling rests on his left shoulder; in his right hand, he holds a stone.
No photos are allowed, but it doesn't matter. No picture could convey what it feels like to stand in this place.
We walk a short distance to the Duomo. Brunelleschi looks on, drafting compass in hand, and contemplates his remarkable design, a dome within a dome negating the need for reinforcement.
As we expect, the Duomo interior is impressive with its ethereal frescoes, emerald green and creamy white marble floors, and structural scale.
What we don't expect is the thrill of climbing the Dome. We dizzy ourselves climbing hundreds of steep, spiraling steps.
Midway up the dome, we pass through a door to a ledge inside the cathedral. Enormous stained glass windows are ablaze with color, we can almost touch them. Now we see that the frescoes teem not just with angelic beings, but frightening faces and horned demons devouring men and plunging them in to a fiery hell.
Near the dome's top we emerge on a balcony; Florence and the Tuscan countryside stretch out of sight.
TONI L GODMAN says
These pictures ARE "breath-taking"....I was just reading in my new Beth Moore Bible Study about how creatively God works through mankind to CREATE (as we are "in the image of HIM).
Sharon Larsgaard says
You need to write a book Marissa! Your descriptions are absolutely beautiful and make one feel like they are really there. What kind of a camera are you using, if I may ask?
So kind Sharon, thank you. The camera, a point-and-shoot Canon SD1000 - for travel, I love a camera that fits in my palm.
I didn't even know you could climb the Duomo. Very cool.
Anybody you meet (locals) talking about the money crisis in Europe? Italy was downgraded by Moody's today, just wondering if they are feeling nervous over there at all, or mentioning Greece while spitting to the side- you know, on the ground scuttlebutt. Sure are making OUR markets nervous!
We talked a bit about the financial crisis with our host, Tim in Asti. Mostly we're shoving our heads in the sand for now...
Ditto on the feelings about the Mona Lisa (what's all the fuss about?) and then David. David was my favorite part of our brief visit to Italy - an amazing experience!!
I'm not surprised that we're sympatico. 🙂
Brave souls to climb the Doumo! I can highly recommend the Museo dell'Opera del Doumo, right behind the church, it has all the working models as well as tools, plans and scaffolding from the construction, as well as parts of the interior which have been replaced and reject statues of Michaelangelo, give you a behind the scenes experience.
Thanks Tim - I believe the Museo Dell'Opera is included in our Firenze pass - we'll see it tomorrow.