A Berserk Sculptor in Firenze

We left England yesterday morning and after a brief layover in Zurich, we  arrived in Florence.

The ancient Roman colony of Florentia was founded in 59 BC as a settlement for Roman soldiers, but the city reached its zenith during the Renaissance thanks to the concentration of artists like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Donatello and on and on. Can you imagine all that talent — and all those egos — in one city?! Centuries later here we are to marvel at their creations.

Our landlord, Isabella, stopped by this morning to collect the rent on our one-bedroom apartment in the heart of the city. She was so gracious! She came bearing gifts — delicious cookies and pastries from a local baker.

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I found this apartment through Apartments in Florence. The location is great as we’re within walking distance to most sites.

The first on our list was the Piazza del Duomo, site of the Cattedrale do Santa Maria del Fiore.

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I’ve seen a lot of cathedrals thanks to my sojourn in Paris earlier this year, but this cathedral is an amazing architectural and artistic achievement unlike any I have seen. The intricate, multicolored stone work on the exterior is breathtaking.

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The dome is an architectural wonder — and exquisitely beautiful from the inside looking up….

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We also visited Il Grande Museo del Duomo to stand in awe at one of Michelangelo’s pietas.

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Mary Magdalene is on the left, the Virgin is on the right and friends of the artist believe the man behind Christ is Nicodemus. Michelangelo was about 80 years old when he sculpted this. The stone was very difficult to work…so hard that sparks would fly when the artist was chiseling away to bring the piece to life.

Michelangelo became so frustrated with the stone that one day he went berserk and began madly chipping and hammering away to destroy the piece. A fellow sculptor stopped him, bought the piece, repaired and finished it.

We are grateful.

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