Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Let's take a walk

The Vision must be followed by the venture.
          It is not enough to stare up the steps -- we must step up the stairs.  
--Vance Havner

It has been a whirlwind visit of Florence and we managed to see the Duomo Cathedral, baptistery, museum and bell tower.  It was all conveniently located about a five minute walk from our hotel.  There are some 461 steps that take you to the top of the tower, these steps were originally intended for maintenance in the tower so they are very narrow and uneven.   I thought that I might be presenting myself before the Holy by the time I had climbed to the top!  I was equally happy to see young people at least half my age huffing and puffing up those stairs, I know not a very nice thought but satisfying in the immediacy of the moment!  However the view from the top was more than worth the climb and despite it being a grey and damp morning it was spectacular.  I could hear my friend Michelle saying it was the best kind of day for picture taking – no glare from the sun.  The city lay around the view panoramic.  Steeples of churches were the highest points that could be seen, no skyscrapers to mar the skyline.  And I forgot to take a selfie!


The buildings are a marvel.  The architecture, thought and will to create these structures shows a great reverence for the Divine and you truly feel that you have entered into a special place when you go through the doors of this imposing structure.  Few areas were allowed to be photographed and the staff were very firm that prayer areas were only that, clergy were on hand for conversation, confession and prayer. 

The baptistery was set up in such a way that when the baptism was finished you were looking toward an icon of Jesus before the ascension. The dome of the baptistery was frescoed in stages, each stage representing some story in the Bible.  The last stage, near the feet of the resurrected Jesus, the devil is defeated. 

The Cathedral outside is magnificent and imposing.  It dominates the Piazza.  The inside is less ornate but equally as impressive.  The High altar was unlike anything I have ever seen with what looks like a demi wall that has huge candelabras lining it and front and center is the high altar in all its beauty.  The Dome above again a magnificent piece of artwork.  Much of Michelangelo’s work is in this Cathedral in the various chapels but no picture taking is allowed.  Edmund and I often find books on a particular site and were fortunate to acquire one here, these books contain all of the material and pictures that we otherwise would not be able to have.  They are also great mementoes and reading for those days when we look back at these moments of great beauty. 

As we travel again by train today, to Venice, we are getting to see the countryside vineyards, olive gardens and lovely little communities.  This is a wonderful relaxed way to travel around a country.

This Beauty is imposing and dominates the square

The View from the top

As you look around the city

Still more lovely churches in the distance

The Square below

More of the City

Part of the top tower of the church.  Detailing was not skimped on even though it is so high up

Looking back on the Church

Ceiling over the altar of the baptistery

High Altar of the Baptistery

the icon of the prophets

Baptismal font area

Inside the Church

High Altar of the Church

Note the sides aroungdthe altar

And how huge the pillars are

A view of the back, this clock is on Italian time and is the oldest functional mechanical clock

Side aisle

Dome ceiling over the high altar

You can see how intricate the details are and no pictures are just not the same!

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