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.:: The Daily Cowbell ::.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Duomo = Big Church: My time in Florence

FLORENCE, ITALY - Question: What is big, round, has 463 steps, and is easily the most recognizable building in the heart of the Renaissance?

Today, I had the oppurtunity to visit Florence, a city that I'd studied so much in my Literary Walk in Tuscany class. It was definately one of the most interesting places I've even been. With every step on the street, you find yourself more surrounded by the remnants of great artists, sculptors, and architects of this historical place.

Definately one of the high points of today was visiting the Duomo (officially Santa Maria del Fiore), probably the most famous building in all of Tuscany (with the exception of the Leaning Tower of Pisa). It took over 100 years to build the church and its dome, towering 177 ft above the city. I was out of breath from 463-step climb to the top of the dome, but remained out of breath by the incredible view of Tuscany, laid out right before me.

We also got to check out the Piazza della Signoria, the incredible beautiful square featuring the amazing Neptune Fountain and a statue of Cosimo Medici I. The piazza also has a copy of Michaelangelo's David, which ended up being the only version of the famous artwork I would see. The line into the Uffizi Gallery was so long, I didn't feel like waiting to see just that one piece.

Another stop I made was the Pitti Palace (where I threatened to have a party... think about it...). While the interior design of this Medici palace was mindnumbing, and the artwork on the inside was awe-inspiring, the highlight of this building for me came after I used the restroom, when I proudly proclaimed to my fellow tourists that I had just taken "a potty in the Pitti."

Maybe, however, one of my best memories from Florence will have been at the Ponte Vecchio, the "old bridge" of Florence. It was on this bridge that I experienced my first Italian gelato, and I'll never forget my cone of stracciatella while looking at the "lover's locks" hanging from the bridge. Maybe one day, Firenzia.

For an incredible look at what Florence looks like, click here and click on "Interactive Tour of Florence," near the top. Click here to see the city, LIVE.



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