There was still so much to see, as soon as I left the Uffizi and said goodbye to my terrific guide, I headed to the Basilica di Santa Croce (the Sacred Heart).
My beloved Dante Alighieri stands sentinel over the Piazza di Santa Croce
The Basilica di Santa Croce, it’s reminiscent of the Duomo with similar gothic architecture, similar marble patterns and façade, but it’s much difference. Here many of the greatest names of the Italian Renaissance are laid to rest.
Christ crucified and Christ Risen
The Sepulcher of Lorenzo the Magnificent
The Tomb of Lorenzo, Duke of Urbino, the person to whom Machiavelli addressed his treatise “The Prince”. Michelangelo sculpted the tomb, the Duke is the pensive figure at the top, the other two figures represent Dawn (left) waking from sleep and Dusk (right) seems to be falling asleep.
Tomb of Giuliano Duke of Nemours, Michelangelo has again adorned the tomb with Dawn awakening from sleep (left) and Dusk drowsing and approaching sleep. (right)
The Tomb of Michelangelo, “Michelangelo died at Rome in 1564. The general design of his tomb, which we are now examining, was by Vasari. The bust of the great master, seen above the central figure, is by Battista Lorenzi, and, if a good likeness, does not show Michelangelo to have been a very handsome man. The figure of architecture – the one on the right – is by Giovanni dall’ Opera. The central figure represents Painting and is by Lorenzi ; while the third represents Sculpture and was executed by Cioli.” (http://www.michelangelomodels.com/m-models/tomb.html)
It was bittersweet to stand before this tomb; the creator of the magnificent David and the sweeping ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the man who carved the heart-wrenching Pieta, the man who infused art with life and vitality and truth and used that art to proclaim his faith in God the creator and in His Son. In our time of post-modernism, I think we take too much for granted, we can’t imagine art before there was perspective or life or energy; today we find it boring. But, gentle reader, Michelangelo rocked the world, he was a greater star than anything we saw in the 20th Century. Michelangelo Buonorotti, I salute you! Thank you!!
The tomb of the great Leonardo da Vinci, mankind owes so much to this man; his invention and discovery as well as his contribution to the art world changed more than we know and influences our lives today. Master da Vinci, thank you.
My beloved Dante Aligherio; this isn’t Dante’s tomb, that’s in his small hometown of Ravenna, this is just a memorial to him.
“It contains a script “Onorate L’Altissimo Poeta” – or “Honor the Poet of the Highest Regard”. In the right side, we can see an allegorical sculpture representing Poetry mourning the loss of Italy’s Supreme Poet. On the left, allegorical sculpture of Italy, points to the seated figure of Dante.” (https://santacroceinflorence.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/dante-an-absence-becomes-a-presence/)
Dante; father of the Italian language and poet who sings so beautifully we can see heaven from his words. Dante, I salute you and long for the day I can sit at your feet and hear you speak.
“Galileo Galilei (Italian: [ɡaliˈlɛːo ɡaliˈlɛi]; 15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642) was an Italian polymath: astronomer, physicist, engineer, philosopher, and mathematician.
He played a major role in the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century. His contributions to observational astronomy include the telescopic confirmation of the phases of Venus, the discovery of the four largest satellites of Jupiter (named the Galilean moons in his honour), and the observation and analysis of sunspots. Galileo also worked in applied science and technology, inventing an improved military compass and other instruments.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_Galilei)
A grateful world remembers you, Galileo, thank you!
The Basilica di Santa Croce was a bittersweet visit; one can’t visit Florence without being struck by the Italian Renaissance; everything changed, the world would never be the same because God placed so many great people in one place at one time.
Church of Santa Maria Novella
“Architecturally, it is one of the most important Gothic churches in Tuscany. The exterior is the work of Fra Jacopo Talenti and Leon Battista Alberti. The interior holds extraordinary works of art including Masaccio’s Trinità, Ghirlandaio’s fresco cycle in the Tornabuoni Chapel and Giotto’s Crucifix, among others.” (https://www.visitflorence.com/florence-churches/santa-maria-novella.html)
Church of Santa Maria Novella, it takes your breath away.
The crucified and risen Savior
When I left the Santa Maria Novella, I wanted to go to the The Basilica of Santa Maria del Santo Spirito (The Basilica of Mary of the Holy Spirit), but it was on the other side of the Arno and I was feeling tired and dispirited because there was so much to see and my time had run out. The horseback riding was fun but it probably took more energy than I had expected, I thought I’d wander back toward my hotel.
Everywhere in Italy, there is always a church to bring calm and peace. As I roamed back toward my hotel after giving up on making it to the river, I saw an incongruent glass door in the side of an ancient stone building. As I looked more closely, I made out the word “chiesa” (church), so out of curiosity, I decided to check it out. They were having “adoration”, a time of silent prayer and meditation, it was exactly what I needed! I went in for an hour and when I came out, I felt rejuvenated and ready to explore more. There’s always a church when you need one. Then, I wandered through the Piazza della Repubblica.
I joined the crowds on the stairway, ate a gelato and watched the people go by.
Then as I made my way to my hotel I came upon the Bargello Museum and it was still open! Why not? I asked myself.
The term “Bargello” seems to come from the Latin for castle or fortified tower.
Mercury by Giambalogna
David by Donatello
Bacchus by Giambalogna
Ghiberti’s original bronze doors designed for the Baptistery: The Gates of Heaven
This small dome came to light during the enlargement of the museum in 2012, it is important proof of the spina-pesca (herring bone) technique used on the big dome of the Santa Maria del Fiore. This alternation in the laying of bricks creates wedges able to lock already-laid bricks in place, preventing slippage.
An illustration of Dante’s Inferno.
Florence is so rich in history, art, architecture, natural beauty and delicious food that I really needed another day. But, now I must say goodbye to Florence and head to the beautiful town of Siena.