June 24, 2013

Firenze Walkabout

The first day of class was a tour around the city. 
We saw an old orphanage on the Piazza S.S. Annunziata that was built with Roman architectural influences of  mathematical balance for harmony and to honor its use. 
Hospital of the Innocents a children's orphanage. 

We walked past the famous museum of archeology and could see a few Etruscan  artifacts in their courtyard. 
It's common to see elaborate doors with family shields or crests or logos.
This door signified the the person who lived there worked for the Medici Family.
Florentines had compassion. This painting was placed for criminals on their final walk to jail. It tells a story of repentance and behavior modification so that maybe you'll be forgiven and go to heaven in spite of your crime.
Like other things copied from Rome, Florence which expected to grow larger than Rome someday, built their own coliseum. The building later became a jail. Today it is a residence.

In that same neighborhood where houses of ill repute could be found, there were also houses that sold wine through these small exterior doors. They are located all over and each one matches strict size requirements so that no one could cheat. Only one size bottle would fit through the door. You drop off your empty and pick up a full bottle. These wines were typically the second grape pressing and quite watered down.

This was one of the better and more even streets that we walked today. Great exercise.
The Arno River in the day. In the distance is the Ponte Vecchio/old bridge. My host home is just at the left of the bridge. She has a room with . . .
a  view of the Duomo just like in the film of the same name. 
We walked out of the city through the only section of fortress left standing.
This is from the outside looking back in.
From there we climbed hundred of steps up to the modest church built as true Franciscans would have preferred, Basilica Di San Miniato al Monte. The monks fill the crypt chapel with Gregorian Chant every night at 5 or 5:30 /1700 or 1730. Italians use the 24-hour system. I wish I had been practicing it at work!
The facade of Basilica Di San Miniato al Monte.
To be buried up there you have to be a Florentine, rich, and famous or powerful.
This one is for you M. V. It is from the opposite direction, but in case I can't get to the other hill, I wanted you to know that I am thinking of you. Ciao.