Off to meet David, chiao!
Good morning Yuma!
It's 6:15 a.m. here, 9:15 p.m. to you at home.
Yesterday we passed across the Po River delta area. The Po is the longest river in Italy less than 400 miles long. It's a prime bird watching area with heron, waterfowl, and an occasional flamingo this time of year - I didn't see any, but we did see a lot of green vinyards, farms, and a few cows cooling in a marshy area by the side of the road.
Today we will go to visit Michelangelo famous statue of David and our guide is reputed to be one of the best in the world for a walking tour of Florence this morning. We will also be visiting Bruneleschi's famed Duomo, the picture postcard cathedral domed with the first Renaissance dome.
You see, as Flavio explained yesterday, and you may have studied if you have taken an art history class, this duomo was the first to be built in modern times. The Greeks and Romans had the knowledge necessary to build a dome, as evidenced in the famed Pantheon. This knowledge was lost over time as the country was invaded an the dark ages fell. It was a time of plague and sorrow and the church became even more important as the beauty of the afterlife was looking kinda good to some.
Churches also began to use art as a way to accentuate the importance of the life after. The mosaics we saw at Ravenna yesterday showed both the older Roman style of building shadow for a more realistic image and the later style of the images of Justinian and his queen, who, by the way, really needed a public image makeover. Before becoming queen, she was an exotic dancer. Her image on the walls of the Basilcia de San Vitale served as a publicity poster in that regard.
Back to the duomo, the story goes that Bruneleschi visited the ancient monument of the Pantheon and got to thinking, why can't we do this now? How could we build a dome that is self supporting? He couldn't leave the problem alone and the Duomo is the result, a beautiful structure that is unique with it's seamed construction that rises over Florence. There were gasps all around the bus as it was it was spotted way off in the distance while we were driving into town - you can see it from very far away if the weather cooperates.
As an art lover, I know I'm going to wear myself out today staring slack-jawed around the various museums we are to visit, and as a result, I will probably only post some photos and hopefully some video later tonight. My video camera and I have been locked in a battle of wills - seems we both have jet lag and it just won't give up the files of the beautiful concerts sung along this trip.
It likes them too much, and it has reason to!
The choir has done an admirable job spreading smiles in every church and cathedral they have visited. Today will be a very long day with walking tours all day, dinner, and then an hour-long concert tonight. Our guide Flavio and bus driver Guiseppe have been telling us they are really looking forward to the performance.
So long from Florence for now! Ciao!