Friday, March 21, 2014

Florence - Rome Day 9

We went to bed "early" last night and got almost 7 hours sleep. I slept like a rock and I am ready to explore Florence.

We are headed to a viewing of the  David sculpture. The museum or Acadamia (art school) where the David is located does not allow for pictures inside. It is hard to describe how beautiful and perfect the David statue is in person. The attention to detail and the precision used is amazing. We learned from our guide that the David statue has had a hard life. He was carved from a poor grade of marble and them he has endured many terrible things like an acid bath and a crazy man with a hammer. He has been struck by lightning, spent 12 years without his left arm, vandalized with initials carved into his leg, and he had rocks thrown at him while moving him indoors. Despite all of these hard times David is beautiful and breathtaking.

He actually has wires hooked up to him and they have been testing the cracks to determine if the David statue needs to be moved from his current location. There is a lot of heavy traffic nearby and because of the poor marble he is slowly turning to powder.

The David statue was originally located outside and he was moved indoors in the early 1800s. I have a picture of the alcove  in the church in which he was suppose to stand originally. There is also a copy of the David in Florence that was done in the early 1900s from a plaster of the original. He doesn't even come close to having the same awe inspiring effect, but  he is located on a square and you can take pictures of the copy.

A short walk down from the Acadamia where David is housed is the Duomo church. When it was built it was the largest church in the world and still is the 3rd largest now. It has an extravagant exterior and a very plain interior. The center of the three alcoves in the picture above is where David was originally to be housed. The Duomo has the 4th largest dome in the world.

The front of the church has the twelve apostles and Mary on the front.

As we walk through Florence we see the Ponte Vecchio bridge on the Arno River.

As we walked through town we saw lots of interesting sights and then went shopping. My husband and I both bought beautiful leather jackets. Leather, gold, and silver are the "big buys" in Florence.

Below is the copy of the David statue.

We finished our morning in the Piazza Di Santa Croce. Below is the Santa Croce church located in that square.

We ate lunch around the square and then hopped on the bus for the short drive to Rome. 

We enter Rome and see orange trees along the streets.

We pass under a bridge that is 1,700 years old and then we pass a 2,000 year old basilica. It is amazing to see the old ruins and newer buildings together.

We met our local guide and walked the streets of Rome. Our first stop was the Piazza Di Trevi where the Trevi fountain is located. Alan and I threw in our coin - one coin means we will come back to  Rome.

The Roman column below is over 2,000 years old.

2000 yr old columns on newer building are common here. The Romans repurpose everything. 

Rome has also been destroyed and rebuilt on its ruins many times over the centuries. Below is an example of the many levels of Rome.

From here we walked to the Church of Saint Ignazio Di Loyola.

This church has a beautiful painted ceiling inside.

Then they ran out of money and just painted a dome inside too.

Next we saw the Pantheon which is over 2000 years old. It is the largest unsupported dome in the world. Pillars support the dome around the edge and they are carved of single pieces of marble brought over from Egypt on flat boats.  The craftsman started with the ring and pillars then scaffolding was built and the walls and ceiling were built lighter and thinner towards the top. The top was covered originally with gold and bronze and the dome is still in perfect condition.

Artist Raphael is buried here inside the Pantheon.

The bronze door is original and is over 2,000 years old.

3500 yr old obelisk sits in the square in front of the Pantheon.

Piazza Navona was previously a stadium and this explains it's elongated square shape. This square is home to Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers and St. Agnes church. 

We ate dinner at Tre Scalini in the Piazza Navona and it was wonderful. We then walked a little ways to see St. Peter's basicilla at night along the Tiber River.

Palace of Justice below was just ahead of the bridge where we hopped into the bus and off to our hotel for the night. A full day of Rome tomorrow and I can't wait!!!

Day in Florence and Rome

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