Florence and Arezzo
We arrived in Florence on Friday. Recognizing the importance of religion and politics during the Renaissance, we began our stay in Florence with visits to the geographic centers of both in the city: first to the Palazzo Vecchio and second to Santa Maria del Fiore (the Duomo). We concluded Saturday with a climb up 468 steps to the top of Brunelleschi’s dome, a masterpiece of engineering completed in 1434. Snaking our way up between the double-shelled structure, we felt with our hands the bricks, laid by master masons in the ingenious herringbone fashion, that support the massive structure and allowed the dome to be vaulted without scaffolding or support. We have also investigated the convent of San Marco, the church of Santa Maria Novella (to see what is considered the first one-point perspective painting – Massacio’s Holy Trinity), Orsanmichele, Dante’s home and the Ponte Vecchio.
Today, we took the train to Arezzo to see Piero della Francesco’s fresco cycle, The Legend of the True Cross, in the church of San Francesco. As we meandered through the narrow streets, the late afternoon Tuscan sun poured into the medieval town, lighting up the small town square and its surrounding brickwork, giving us our first reprieve from rain in four days.