Italian Adventures–Part I

Since we’ve been living in Germay, Russ and I have really been looking forward to making our way towards Italy.  Russ’s family has visited Italy on several occasions, and his family origins lead back to the island of Sicily.  For me, Italy has always seemed…I don’t know, fantastical.  Beautiful countryside, legendary cuisine, boisterous people who celebrate living.  Not to mention all the history and culture.  This time (yes, this time, meaning there will be another trip in the future!) we hopped a plane to Florence; toured through the Tuscan countryside visiting Pisa, Sienna, and Orvieto; and ended our 6 days in Rome.

First, though, how about a little flight over the Swiss Alps.  Breathtaking!

Flying over the Alps

I was stunned to see people on the plane NOT looking out of their windows!

Russ enjoyed envisioning driving on those roads; I did not partake in that fantasy

We arrived in  Florence in the afternoon, picked up our rental car, and nervously made our way through the city to our hotel.  One thing is for certain; driving in Italy is nothing like driving in Germany!!  Lanes seem to be optional as everyone just inches forward to get the closest position; traffic circles are chaos; and drivers on scooters are EVERYWHERE, dodging in between cars and lanes.

Nevertheless, we made it and soon headed out into the city.  We traveled first to the city’s largest landmark–the Duomo.  Just to be clear, Duomos in Italy are large cathedrals.  They are deemed, “Duomo” because of the large dome on the top.  The Duomo (Santa Maria del Fiore) in Florence, the city of the Italian Renaissance, was originally built with a big gaping hole where the dome would eventually be.  They didn’t even have the technology to complete a dome, but they held faith that they eventually would!  Hence, the Duomo in Florence was the first dome of the Renaissance.

Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral

Santa Maria del Fiore

The Dome

Intricacies of Tuscan Marble Design

Most of the Duomos in the region follow this same color scheme; pink, white and green marble that comes directly from the Tuscany region.  (Mom–anytime Uncle D makes fun of your color scheme in the living room, you just need to tell him that you modeled it after Tuscan marble ;)).

Tuscan Marble Color Scheme

The inside of the Duomo was underwhelming.  Its vastness was apparent, and it felt downright empty.  (Rightly so, as there were no seats or pews at all and the majority of the artwork had been removed and placed in museums).  The beauty of the outside completely made up for it.

The rest of the afternoon we wandered around Florence, venturing down narrow streets and wandering into Piazzas.

The Streets of Florence

Russ enjoys the streets of Florence

Oh yeah, and we ate gelato.  I’m pretty sure twice in one day.

Yum!

When we weren’t eating ice cream, we were visiting the Galleria dell’Accademia, the home of Michelangelo’s famous sculpture, David.  The David was amazing.  You just cannot fathom how large it is until you are standing under it, gazing upwards at all the human features, sinewy muscles, and veins that were carved in stone.  No pictures allowed, and so we have none.  Sorry!

Our last stop of the evening was once again back at the Duomo.  Florence really seems to be the most beautiful when hit with the rays of early evening light.  The orange light cast an ethereal glow on the sides of the Duomo and it was relaxing watching the rays hit the buildings in the narrow side streets of Florence.  I felt like exhaling, “Ahhh, now this is Florence!”  Ok, I may have actually said that.

Florence

The Duomo

Duomo

Duomo

Duomo

Ahh, Florence!

Please check back in for more from Florence and the rest of our Italian excursion! 🙂

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Pam Wible on March 28, 2011 at 12:39 am

    Astounding Alps! Dominating Domes! Fascinating Florence! Picturesque Photos! and Captivating Commentary by my very favorite blogger!

    Reply

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