The Florence train station appeared new, clean and modern. Melanie knew which way to walk to our street; and since all of us had only carry-on baggage it was not difficult to follow her directions. Our walk to the apartment took us past the church Santa Maria Novella, which has two obelisks in its piazza.
The obelisk in the courtyard of Santa Maria Novella
The obelisks stood on the backs of four bronze turtles
The landmark for our street was this easy-to-recognize statue right in the middle of the street. We were all glad not to be driving in Italy.
The Colonia della Guislizia stood at the end of our street
Not far away was the library, with very nice decorations.
After dinner we walked over to the Uffizi Art Museum. I was grateful that Melanie chose accommodations within easy walking distance of such important attractions. The guide books give all sorts of schemes to avoid long waits in line to enter these places, but we did not find the line to be unreasonably long. Art waited in line while Roseann and I photographed a very long outdoor gallery of outstanding Italians. I did not get them all because construction made it impossible to get close enough to them, but here are some of them.
One enterprising man stood in the center of the courtyard of all the statues, but he was different. He was totally in gold! He had been sprayed all over with gold paint, and stood as still as a statue with a box at his feet for donations for some cause. He was easily mistaken for yet another statue.
Of course we all wanted to see what is probably the most famous statue in the world, Michelangelo’s David, carved when the artist was just 29 years old. A copy is displayed outdoors for everyone to see, while the original is kept indoors in its own special room where no pictures are allowed.
Statues in the Orsanmichele niches
Santa Croce Church
Front view of Santa Croce
In 1966 the Arno River flooded much of Florence, including Santa Croce. The water entered the church bringing mud, pollution and heating oil. The damage to buildings and art treasures was severe, taking several decades to repair.
Front door of the church
Inside Santa Croce: the tombs of Galileo and Gino Capponi
The tomb of Michelangelo, with a second image showing details
Dante Aligherio's tomb
Santa Croce's Main Altar
Baroncelli Chapel of Blessed Virgin Mary
Baroncelli Chapel of Blessed Virgin Mary
A side chapel, and a painting of the Assumption
St. Francis receives the Stigmata
More beautiful artwork inside Santa Croce:
Ponte Vecchio Bridge
Shortly upstream was the Ponte Santa Trinita (Ponte means “bridge”)
Santo Spirito Church
Entrance to Santo Spirito
Copy of Michelangelo’s Pieta by Nanni di Baccio Bigio
The main altar and tabernacle
Santo Spirito interior
There were many beautiful pieces around, and it became a case of overload to record all of the very beautiful. This one of a side altar was relatively simple, but delicately beautiful.
A neighboring altar was dedicated to a saint who had been a nun
One of a pair of beautiful winged angels
A beautiful altar was dedicated to Our Blessed Mother
A beautiful stained glass window entitled Pentecost was nearby
I wanted to find Michelangelo’s famous crucifix, which I knew was in this church, but did not know what it looked like. This crucifix was so well lit, I thought it must be his. It turned out not to be his after all, but it was beautiful anyway.
An arch contained this beautiful painting, so I added it to my collection also.
Michelangelo was the guest of the convent when he was 17 years old, after the death of his protector, Lorenzo de Medici. Here he could make anatomical studies on the corpses coming from the convent’s hospital; in exchange, he sculpted a wooden crucifix which was placed over the high altar. Today the crucifix is in the octagonal sacristy. Unfortunately, it is kept closed, to all but tour groups. Roseann and I noticed a tour group being guided around the church, and when they left by a particular door, we joined them, unnoticed, and found ourselves in front of Michelangelo’s crucifix. The other tourists listened to the tour guide, but Roseann and I stayed behind when the others left and grabbed a few pictures before we could be told that it was not permitted.
Brunelleschi’s façade was never built and was left blank, giving the front of Santo Spirito a very plain look, which hides the beauty inside. I almost made the terrible mistake of not going in. The church remained undecorated until the 18th century, when the walls were plastered. The bell tower from 1503 was designed by Baccio d’Agnolo.
The exterior of the building was restored in 1977-78.
As we left, I quickly snatched this picture of the church exterior. It was a wonderful surprise to find so much beauty inside such a plain exterior. Santo Spirito is not as well known as other churches, but holds so much beauty!
We were not very far from our apartment, but as we crossed this bridge, we stopped to admire the sunset.
The sunset on the Arno River was especially lovely this evening, with its reflections.