Skip to main content

Florence day 1

After exploring Rome on our second day in Italy, the third day was spent falling in love with Florence, or Firenze as it is called over there. Firenze is filled with churches, at least the old town is, every corner you come across a church. Some are massive with impressive architecture, others are diminutive in nature, yet every place of worship is inordinately beautiful. Our previous parish priest was in Florence for many years and he has been transferred to the Vatican now, so we decided to meet up in Florence. We went church hopping and it was pretty incredible... art everywhere, the churches are covered in art from floor to ceiling. 
First we visited the Santa Maria Novella Church, otherwise known as the church of our Lady of Good News and saw a pox marked Christ inside, depicting he too understood the pain of those suffering from the plague (I think)...
Starry ceiling, the light and paintings everywhere...
Pretty stained glass windows..
Oh, this is the stand where the huge religious books are kept for the people to reply or sing during the liturgy, there weren't visual displays or printing presses then to know what song to sing or psalm to read. So everything was beautifully written in huge letters so that people in the church could read and participate in the mass.
Pictures carved into the backrest of a seat...
More faded paintings...
Gilded altars, faded paintings...
The people kneeling on either side of the painting were the sponsors who were thanked in this way, they were included in the periphery of the paintings.
Ceiling art...
Every wall was like this...
The tapestry like this... depicting scenes from the Bible I think.
Then we walk out and reach the defining symbol of Firenze, the Duomo Chrch, or the Florence Cathedral, or Our Lady of Flowers church (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore). That's the famous dome of Florence, known as Brunelleschi’s dome, after the architect, Filippo Brunelleschi.
Entrance to the church
Cafes opposite the Duomo... clicked this pic for Antonio.
A little mid day snack before entering the Duomo and climbing up the dome. This chocolate muffin from the train station was mind blowing... 
So anyway, we get into the church and the size of it is quite impressive. There's a huge queue waiting to climb the dome and because our parish priest is known there, they let is in immediately and we start climbing the extremely steep steps. 
The view outside, the characteristic red tiled roofs of Florence
After a lot of huffing and puffing, we reach a little indoor balcony on the periphery of the dome and the paintings are more clearer. A few faces have been blacked out in the paintings because some influential figures like a few popes were drawn into a scene depicting hell. I thought it was quite funny...
Another small little opening while walking up the Dome
And here we are, finally at the top... that's the church's bell tower.
Views from the Duomo... walked around, took a few selfies and 
Made our way down again through the 463 steps...
Then we walked to David square... where the famous statue of David by Michelangelo is placed. Of course the original one is preserved in a museum in Firenze, this is just a replica of the original one. David is so famous, I don't know who the other two are...
A statue of Dante...
The word Macchiavelli comes from this guy... he was like that, macchiavelian in nature, even his stance is like that, I like him... it's like he is upto no good.
Then we went to a nice place for lunch, an old haunt of our parish priest. Before we start eating, Father says grace and it was poignant, we were grateful to be here in one of the most beautiful cities, sharing bread and wine.
Some lamb and potatoes...
And amazing dessert...
Tiramisu in Firenze...
The pretty restaurant we dined in
The hidden passage way... built by the Medici family.
The Arno river
Another church, Church of the Holy Spirit
Tombs inside
Holy water font
Tomb of Michaelangelo
Dante Aligherio's memorial
The Altar
Somebody in the garden. After this Father had to go someplace else, so he took his leave and we just walked around...
Taking pictures...
and losing ourselves in a piece of heaven.
Took a polaroid picture with Father. Anyway after Father left, we too walked around a bit saw a wedding procession and then took a cab to the room and decided what to do the next day. We weren't sure whether we should go to Venice, or stick around in Firenze. After making up our minds that we wanted to explore Florence more, we decided to skip Venice and spend the next day exploring this beautiful city. That in place we took an afternoon nap and woke up quite late and left the room at 9 pm to take in the night life in Firenze.
Charming window and lantern
There's this street artist sorta guy called Clet Abraham in Firenze and his quirky work can be spotted on road signs... like the one seen above.
Walking around we came across this water fountain with a beautiful stained glass window depicting the Madonna and child... and it was just there, not attached to a church or chapel, just right there in the middle of the road, and somehow it was all so beautiful... because this wasn't a place of worship, this was just normal life on the streets. That's how it should be, all over the world... put up whatever god you want without disrupting normal life, but at the same time live the meaningful life. It's always a sore point here, in India... we have lots of gods and goddesses adorning every nook, tree and corner, but there's no proof of that devotion in action. The roads are still piled with garbage, people still spit anywhere and road rage is a way of life here, no one thinks twice before littering... how do you awaken the collective conscious of a nation... 
Anyway, stopped at a nice restaurant for dinner of cold cuts and cheese
Some lasagne
Ravioli
And of course, Tiramisu...
Continued walking the old town and came across this little fellow locked inside a shop... guarding it, how cute he looked.
This apparently is the spot where the golden globe atop the Duomo fell down years ago...
Florence cathedral at night... and that's the globe atop the dome.
A painting with chalk on the streets...
Look at the features... stunning work.
David at night
more artwork on an electric box
Deserted streets of Firenze... I read online about the secret midnight bakeries in Florence that hand out fresh baked pastries for only a euro each. These open around 2pm and their locations are not widely known, I wanted to find them and eat some warm croissants filled with chocolate in the middle of the night. 
We roamed around, came across more of Clet Abraham's art...
But by 1:30 am, everybody was getting grumpy and tired, so dejectedly I made my way back to the rooms with them. But that only gives me more hope of locating these midnight bakeries the next time I find myself in Firenze. All in all, it was a fabulous day meeting an old friend from home and just enjoying the good company, good food and a this wonderful city. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Santhi Nilayam, School for the Mentally Challenged...

After a long long time, I visited the special school I used to work in, and the kids have all grown up...tiny tots now taller than me and sprouting facial hair!!! I was flummoxed... gosh, time changes everyone and everything. Wonder what changes they saw in me... anyway, I was just happy to be backthere. Went early to catch sight of that yellow school bus turning the corner and to watch all the kids tumbling out. While I was working there, that yellow bus turning the corner always marked the start of an exciting day. Right from the moment the kids hit the ground, the fun starts... that place will always be shrouded in hues of warm sunshine in my memory, it is a great place to be.  On the way to school, came across a few students... The special school, Santhi Nilayam (means Abode of Peace)  Great place...  The school bus and the kids... The assembly itself is heartwarming, a kid recites the prayers and the others repeat after him, in their characteristic sounds and half utterances.  T…

The Ten Commandments of Christmas

Last Sunday in church, leaflets with the following 'Christmas Ten Commandments' were handed out and the parish priest Fr. Joe Andrews discussed them with the congregation.   You shall not leave 'Christ' out of Christmas, making it 'Xmas'. Christ is the reason for the season.You shall prepare your soul for Christmas. Spend not so much on gifts that your soul is forgotten (a good confession is a nice way to prepare your hear for Christmas)You shall not let Santa Claus replace Christ, thus robbing the day of its spiritual reality. (Prepare yourself with prayer and the Word of God.)You shall not neglect your church. Its services highlight the true meaning of the season. You shall not neglect the needy. Share they blessings with the many who will go hungry and cold unless you are generous.You shall not neglect thy family during this season. You shall not forget the elderly and those who are lonely at Christmas time.You shall not value gifts received by their cost. E…

Grandma's Caramel Cake...

Everybody in my family loves this cake, its my grandmother's recipe and it can be tweaked during the holiday season to form a delicious Christmas fruit cake. The ingredients are simple to remember, you just need equal  quantities of flour, sugar and butter and the cake is guaranteed to come out great. Ingredients 400 grams maida or all purpose flour
400 grams sugar
400 grams butter
8 eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla essence
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
dried fruits and nuts 
brandy or rum (optional)
I've taken 400 grams of butter, sugar and flour cause I wanted to make a large cake for Christmas. You can scale the quantities down to half and make a medium sized cake. Let's start with caramelizing the sugar, from the 400 grams of sugar that you have set aside for this cake, take bout a quarter of that (100 grams) and start heating it in a dry vessel. I usually drop in another handful (bout 50 gms) of sugar to get more of the gooey caramel when I plan on adding b…