Florence, Italy

  • Date
  • 1 November 1999

Since today is All Saints Day, many places are closed like the local health club but what a great coincidence for us. We opted to use the hotel’s bicycles and cycle through the park along the Arno River for a couple of hours enjoying warm, sunny weather with a gentle breeze. What a fabulous way to spend the morning! Hundreds of Italians out doing the same – cycling, rollerblading, running, fishing, strolling with babies and stretching. A small amusement area with adolescent rides attracted many children with their parents.

In the early afternoon, we walked to the Duomo (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore), which achieves the goal given to the architect Arnolfo di Cambio to build ‘the loftiest, most sumptuous edifice human invention could devise’. This is a huge cathedral several blocks in size with more peaks and points than is imaginable.

The interior is Italian Gothic and not as impressive as the exterior. Most of the artwork has been moved to a nearby museum, but two equestrian frescoes with 15th century heroes/soldiers still adorn one wall. The real distinction of the Duomo is Filippo Brunelleschi’s dome, which is a dome within a dome – an engineering feat copied in cathedrals ever since its development.

We walked to the Cappelle Medicee (Medici Chapels) but found this closed. Michelangelo designed the New Sacristy, which is why I wanted to visit.