It is a little overcast this morning as we make our way to the Baptistry in the Piazza del Duomo. The Baptistry consecrated in 1059 predates the cathedral. The building is octagonal signifying the six days of creation, the day of rest, and the rebirth of baptism.
The inside is amazing! The ceiling is filled with mosaics. In the center is Christ with his attendant angels, prophets, and apostles.
Around the dome are scenes from the Old Testament, Christ’s Passion and Redemption, and other Biblical stories.
There’s also a gruesome mosaic of what is waiting for you if you don’t lead a good life. The devil is munching on people! Imagine what this all must have looked like to the people back then many of which lived hard, colorless lives. These mosaics are amazing to us today!
After leaving the Baptistry, we head to Orsanmichele a building from 1359 that started as a place to sell grain and morphed into church when miracles were associated with it. The outside is decorated with large statutes of saints by such art luminaries as Donatello. Due to increasing damage from being left out in the elements, the original statues are inside their museum which is only open on Mondays. Yay! It’s Monday!
After a quick stop at the Duomo (which tbh is a lot more impressive on the outside than inside) we head to Santa Croce.
We would love to eat lunch first but we have not timed things quite right. A lot of restaurants do not open for lunch until 12:30 PM. It is only 11:45 AM. We decide to visit Santa Croce first but need a little sit-down first to re-energize. The benches around Piazza Santa Croce are a fine place to sit for a bit, bask in the sun, and people watch.
Okay, crew, on your feet! Let’s do this!
Santa Croce is a very large church filled with art. The complex includes the church and museum. Unfortunately they are out of English guides, too many American visitors. In addition to the religious works, there is also a presentation about the incredible damage done by the flood of 1966. In the church the water was 5 meters high (over 16 feet!) and the church and its artwork were covered in mud and muck after the waters receded. Sadly we saw evidence of the flood, not everything could be restored.
Here are some of my favorites from Santa Croce.
By the time we are done it is around 2 PM. We stop at Trattoria Alfredo on the way back to the apartments.
We tell Sarah to go do something else if she likes. John and I are done for the day. But instead everyone just falls asleep. It has been a busy day! We have snacks for dinner down at the pub, Caffe Megara, where you can have free crostini if you buy a glass of wine or beer.