I stopped by this church today for the first time ever. Inside, the church felt well-used and well-loved. This would be a great church to visit if wanting to understand a service. I wanted to light some candles, but couldn’t find any candles to add to the stand. Maybe it’s a bring-your-own-candle situation?
If you’ve ever been to Florence and walked around the city enjoying architectural masterpieces, you have no doubt spent time appreciating the gorgeous green and white marble exterior of the church of Santa Maria Novella.
I was meeting a friend recently and we agreed to rendezvous in front of the center door of the church. I got there early and had time to study the high-quality marble carving of the panels to either side of the main door.
These white marble panels were clearly carved by a master sculptor, for the quality of the carving is very high. A variety of leaf types are depicted in the stone, as well as many recognizable fruits and even some vegetables. The background of each grouping of edible plant parts is a grouping of fasces, tied with a ribbon to create the bundle of rods, a symbol utilized in the Roman empire and reused ever since.
In the grouping above you can clearly see oak leaves, plums, and apples.
The relief above looks like laurel leaves are depicted as well as what look like potatoes. Potatoes? I’m not sure.
I think the fruits above might be peaches?
In this picture, I think I see acorns, oak leaves, and apples. Perhaps those are poppy heads at the top?
This picture seems to include grapes.
I hope you will tell me what you see. I’m sure I’ve missed many things!
Yesterday I had the immense pleasure of being with some new friends who showed me their garden in Florence, and as we climbed the hill behind their home, the most amazing vistas of the city came into view. Behold!
Below is a sweeping view from the Palazzo Pitti on the right to the dome of the Duomo on the left.
The city of Oz has nothing on Florence! Florence looks like a magical wonderland in the picture below! I mean, just look at it!
It is known that the American painter, John Singer Sargeant, was on this promitory to see the sweeping views of Florence and it is said that long before that, Leonardo purportedly studied this view as he developed his famous technique of sfumato. And, to top it off, the hill is topped by the foundation of a chapel that was never constructed, because Roman ruins were found just below the surface of the ground.
It would take at least two lifetimes to take in the wonders of Florence.
A huge public building known as the Auditoria, dating to Hadrian’s time in the second century, came to light under the central Piazza Venezia during an exploratory phase. Archaeologists believe the two-story building was Rome’s first university, used for cultural events and lessons. Today the square is a busy crossroad for traffic and tourists.
A visit to the famed Uffizi Gallery will not only supply you with artworks to gaze upon, but incredible views of the city as well. I was there this sunny, glorious afternoon, and I’ll be posting soon about some of the art, but for now, feast your eyes upon picturesque Firenze!
The photo below shows the exterior cover of the famous room known as the “Tribune” within the Uffizi. People rave about the inside, but I like the outside too.
Orsanmichele in middle ground, Giotto’s Campanile and Brunelleschi’s cupola in background. I learned only today that the golden ball atop the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore was created by Andrea del Verrocchio in 1468 and placed atop the Cathedral on 27 May 1471. I am fortunate to be able to look at these masterworks many times every day of the year.
And, very close to my terrazzo, is this strong, rugged tower, a relic of the (Medieval) days when Firenze was dotted with such privately-owned torre. It is handsome all day long, but most attractive to my eye at night.
In a very surprising setting!