Posts Tagged ‘Duomo’

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Anna: Vireggio, Famiglia in Prato, Venice

March 2, 2011

Last week, my Italian class brought us to a market which isn’t too far from my apartment. It is called Sant’ Ambrogio market. There was fresh meat, fish, cheese, fresh pastas, bread, fruit and vegetables. I decided I am doing all my grocery shopping there from now on! Everything is so delicious looking and not very expensive. I am excited to take my mom and dad there. My mom will die and go to heaven; it is truly a cook’s paradise.

I thought the weekend would be fairly low key for me but it ended up being very busy and exciting! On Friday, some friends were in town visiting Florence from Rome, so we decided to meet up and I would show them a few spots. We ended up doing a full power tour seeing almost everything there is in Florence. We walked to the top of the Duomo (well the thing next to the Duomo), saw Piazza Michelangelo, San Lorenzo market, got lunch, and did the whole Uffizi.

On Friday, Frank Lupia, my dad’s cousin, picked me up to visit another cousin (Cesare) in Prato, a city near Florence. Frank does not speak English, and I don’t speak Italian. It was very interesting, but it wasn’t too bad! We had to call Alessandra a couple times about questions he had for me, but overall it was not too bad and we got through it together! We couldn’t visit Cesare until later in the day so Frank too me to Vireggio, a small beach city famous for it’s Carnivale and seafood. I was really excited he brought me there because I was planning a day trip there anyways! You could see beach from one angle and sea from another. Frank and I had a HUGE lunch together of seafood carbonara. I tried clams, mussels, these little fish that looked like baby octopus, and I liked it all! None of it tasted fishy. We also had fried fish which was really delicious. I told him “no me va” that I was full but he proceeded to order two desserts, a caramel panna cotta and pistachio cake and gelato.

After Vireggio, we visited Cesare in Prato. Cesare is very sick. He has brain cancer and they are not sure how much longer he will make it. It was hard to meet someone for the first and last time all together. He seemed very optimistic and excited to see me. His daughter Tina can speak a bit of English but does not remember much since she only learned in school. We had a very nice time talking together. It was funny because the one thing everyone understood was how my dad can only speak Belcastrese (small Calabrian town dialect) and not proper Italian. All of the relatives get a kick out of that. They sent me off with cheese from Belcastro and Tadods (spelling?) a biscuit that my Nana Ida used to make. I am really lucky to have so much family in Italy that are willing to pick me up and bring me places. I might be planning a trip to Genova to see Frank’s family again in March.

On Sunday, I woke up early and met a tour group called Florence for Fun for a day trip to Venice. It was a very, very long day. Unfortunately it was  cold, windy, and rainy. I hate letting weather affect my feelings about a city but it is difficult to do. I tried to be as optimistic as I could and enjoy my time there. Venice was very pretty and I enjoyed seeing all of the people dressed up in their Carnivale outfits. One woman was kneeling behind a stroller so you couldn’t see her body and all you saw was her head on the body of a baby in a stroller! As people passed it was hilarious because as people would pass she would cry or smile or blow kisses. I never got to ride a Gondola because it cost so much…80 for only 3 people, but I took lots of pictures of people in them! Overall, I would love to see Venice again in the summer time without the crowds or cold weather. The city was pretty in the rain; I can’t imagine how it is in the sun.

This is my last entry until March 13th! I am going on Spring Break on Friday to Istanbul, Athens and Santorini Greece. I also have plenty of midterms and things I have to be planning for. Trying not to stress is difficult but once Friday hits I know I will feel much better.

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Eric: Duomo & Santa Croce

June 10, 2010

Churches are everywhere in Italy. Every city has at least one church, those more significant in size have a duomo (cathedral), and those like Florence are likely to have streets with several churches on them. The Duomo of Florence, otherwise known as the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Florence. I walk past it almost everyday to get to class, but I have not been to its ground level until today. To be honest, I wasn’t really impressed, as the interior of it is pretty much white walls, as opposed to frescoes or paintings in other cathedrals.

Walking around the inside of the cathedral, it really wasn’t as peaceful as Pisa’s cathedral, as there were a lot of tourist groups inside, and people talked a lot. The most impressive part was the dome, which I had already seen when our group climbed the dome. But it still looked amazing, just imagining how the painter actually managed to cover such a large above him. Overall, it was a good thing that it’s free to go into the Duomo (one of the very few places in Florence), otherwise I don’t really think people would pay to see blank walls. There is a section below the cathedral the features some archeological sites and Brunelleschi’s tomb that requires a ticket to enter.

The next church I visited was much more interesting. Basilica di Santa Croce is the world’s largest Franciscan church, founded by St. Francis himself according to legend. The church is the burial place of many famous Italians, making it also known as the Temple of the Italian Glories. As suggested by Rick Steve’s book, I didn’t enter from the visitor’s entrance, where there is usually a long line waiting to get into the church. Instead, I entered through the leather school at the back of the church, which practically has no line, got a ticket there, and immediately started to stand on tombs. Literally the floor of the church is full of anonymous people who have been buried underground. There are shapes on the floor that suggest their presence.

Famous Italians that have been buried in the church include Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Foscolo, Gentile, Rossini, and Marconi. Dante, a Florence-native, was not buried here as he was exiled from his hometown. Someone must have regretted that decision, as there is a huge statute of Dante outside the church, and another one inside in between the tombs of Michaelangelo and Vittorio Alfieri. The church also has an amazing collection of artwork by Giotto, Visari, and other artists.

Machiavelli & Rossini

Michelangelo & Galileo


Visiting tombs may not sound that fun. I mean, it’s not like they are there to talk to you (but they are definitely there!). I think seeing the tombs just made me appreciate more what they have done or contributed to the society. Machiavelli’s Prince, Rossini’s operas, Michaelangelo’s artworks, and Galileo’s discoveries in science are all things we learn about, and seeing where there are buried just confirms that someone was here a few hundred years ago and came up with the knowledge we learn today. It kind of blew my mind, and I think that’s what study abroad allows people to do: you get see things found in textbooks with your own eyes…

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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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Kate: Just Don’t Push Me Out the Window

July 2, 2009

dsc01204This past weekend we traveled to Tuscany to the Castello Bamfi winery and then on to Florence for a long weekend. Monday 29 June was a holiday in Rome so we were able to have quite a fun weekend in Tuscany. Castello Bamfi was started by two Italian Brothers from New Jersey and is now one of the most popular and awarded wines in the world. The winery has over 700 hecacres and includes a luxury hotel and 2 different resaurants. We took a tour of the grounds, which included a castle, and then did a wine tasting before going into the plant where everything is manufactured. Castello Bamfi easily has the largest wine cellar I have ever seen.

Then we took the train from Bamfi to Florence. The train was extremely busy but we were able to find a couchette. As we traveled the rain was pouring down and we decided this was much like if we were to travel to Hogworts on the Hogworts express. Sara, Clare, and Kati acted this out. It helped make the trip go faster. Just so everyone knows, Italian trains are vastly different from German trains.

Our hotel, Hotel California, no I did not pick it out, Micah did, was located only 2 blocks from the Duomo and is highly recommended by our group.  That is unless you want to use their wireless internet which does not work very well. I have never seen a man so protective of his wireless internet and unwilling to admit his wireless method may not be the most effective, but that is a story for a rainy day. Speaking of rainy days, we had 1 rainy day in Florence, but it worked out quite well because we dubbed the hour of rain nap time. We started Saturday by attending the leather market and then walking along the river and over the bridge. We saw the fake David, and the place where David was originally. We stopped at Salvatore Feraggamo and I bought my shoes and then went to a leather store Micah loves. Micah bought a new wallet, with his initials custom printed in gold leaf and a leather jacket. The next day Sara bought a leather jacket there and both of them look amazing in their jackets. There really is no better place to buy leather than in Florence. Saturday afternoon Clare, Micah, and I went to the baptistry which was beautiful and quite ornate for only one family using it. The funny thing about the baptistry is that the ceiling is beautiful in gold leaf and tells different stories from the Bible but the actual Baptistry fountain is not very large or decorated, and blends in with the walls. I almost didn’t notice it on the way out.  And then there are the beautiful gold doors that have parts of the Old Testament on them. Clare was determined to take a picture by the doors. So determined we stopped by at 2 a.m. so no one would be near them or running in the pictures.

Saturday night was spent at some Space Club which included 2 dance floors and karaoke. Sara and I sang “Don’t Stop Me Now” even though it is not a karaoke song. They didn’t have Under Pressure so we chose a different Freddie Mercury creation. Micah and Kati attempted to sing “The Way You Make Me Feel” but dropped out in the middle and handed the microphones to Sara and myself, who did our best MJ renditions. Read the rest of this entry ?

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