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Eric: Duomo & Tuscan Cooking Lesson

May 25, 2010

The most noticeable landmark in Florence is obviously the Duomo. It is the center of the city and attracts way too many tourists in the locals’ minds. Today we climbed it. Now the word “Duomo” doesn’t actually mean “dome”, but refers to a cathedral, in this case, the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. Pretty much every city of decent size in Italy has a Duomo. The dome of the one we climbed today was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi in the 1400s. The cathedral itself was finished in the 1200s, without a dome, as there was no technology at that time to build a dome of that significant size. Brunelleschi solved the problem by building a dome within another dome, and the dome was finished in only 14 years, the largest in the world since the Pantheon in Rome.

On a side note, there was a lot of stuff on the wall of the Duomo written by tourists and visitors. I can see the temptation to leave something on another thing that has been here for so long, but seriously, it just ruined the beauty of it being there for so long. No wonder many Italians don’t like tourists that much. Imagine someone else writing XXX loves YYY on the center of your religion, I can’t really think how happy one would be.

After the climb, we went back for a little lecture/discussion on food sustainability, and then it was a free afternoon spent on food, napping, and strolling in the markets. Around 6 pm, we got our Tuscan cooking lesson, taught by an Australian guy from Perth who has been in Florence for two years. He was really funny, and a pretty good instructor too. We all got an apron, and we made Pappa al Pomodoro (tomato soup, top left), Zucchine Ripiene di Funghi (zucchini stuffed with mushrooms, bottom left), and Zuppa Inglese (English trifle, bottom right). The one on the top right is a Minestrone soup, which has a lot of vegetables in it and was made by the instructors. Seriously delicious, and not that hard to make either. I will post the recipe along with my pasta alla carbonara later 🙂

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