Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Florence: let there be art!

In our last post on Florence, we talked about the city itself, its architecture, features and the beautiful statues in the piazzas. It was amazing to see the churches and museums, but we were also privileged to go inside and see the incredible work that went into Florentine interiors.

Saints flanking the altar at San Miniato
Gorgeous medieval paintings decorating the Cardinal of Portugal Chapel
Restorers were actually doing on-site work in the Basilica di Santa Croce. On one hand the chancel was no longer very photogenic, but we were fascinated by the work and wished we could have a closer look.

Chancel of the Basilica, under restoration
Close-up of some of the restorers at work
There were some fascinating architectural details too! We especially loved the elaborate lock on these gigantic bolted doors. 

This church is the last home to several knights, nobles, and famous personages of Italian history. Funnily enough, famous scientist and 'heretic' Galileo Galilei has one of the most elaborate monuments here.

Tomb of Galileo
Closeup. Note the heliocentric model of our solar system underneath his sculpture!
Dante Alighieri's memorial is also impressive, with a devoted reader weeping over his casket.

In contrast, Machiavelli's tomb is modest, with a simple epitaph and only one figure to guard him.

Others were buried here years before. Their graves are so old that the features of the carvings are worn smooth.

Instead of the regular stair-like boxes of prayer candles, the basilica had lit trees like the reverse of chandeliers We lit a candle for a dear friend who had passed away that year.

Outside the stone arches were decorated with ceramic tile, bringing colour in to match with the perfectly green and well-kept garden.

We were lucky enough to see Italy with our whole family. It made for some fun moments, especially on the crowded medieval streets. Even with the queues and trying to keep track of everyone, we had a fantastic time in each other's company.

You don't have to be an artist to appreciate the beauty of Florence.

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