May 24, 2003 — We took a taxi ride to the station in Siena and got on a bus to Firenze. There we saw all the most famous sights, such as Michaelangelo's David and the enormous duomo above. I later saw a documentary about how impossible it seemed at the time to build this huge dome that dominates the city's landscape.
Inside the enourmous duomo I couldn't help but think it absolutely paled by comparison to the duomo in Siena. This was bigger than big, but it seemed somewhat bare.
The paintings on the inside of the duomo were so lifelike that it made me dizzy looking up at them. If you look at the people painted in the darker ring of this photo, they all seem as if they're about to fall off their high perch. The realism was astounding. As I look at this photo now, the people seem so three dimensional that it's hard to believe the surface is smooth.
I believe this is the baptistery adjacent to the duomo which boasts a huge, three dimensional brass door that people were crowding around to see. It and the tower shown below are made of pink, green and white marble that is far more beautiful than these pictures can attest to.
In this photo the gorgeous blue sky dominates, the but multi-colored marble made it hard to look away.
The famous old bridge—il Ponte Vecchio. I just love how the little buildings, which are the backs of the many shops that line the bridge, look like outcroppings and manage to represent the colors and architecture of Italian villages. After we left the Uffizi art gallery (which was somewhat of a disappointment because many of the major attractions were closed or out on loan), we crossed the bridge and had a lovely lunch in the first restaurant we saw. This was the view from the large picture window at our tableside.
This building was directly across from our table. I couldn't quite imagine what the little structure was on top, but I wished I was there. After lunch our waitress brought us a free glass of the liqueur we'd first heard about on the plane: Limoncello. It's grain alcohol, lemons, and tons of sugar. Outstandingly delicious! We always have a bottle of it in our house now.
After lunch we walked back across il Ponte Vecchio where I posed in this one little clearing. All the rest of the space is taken up by jewelry shops.
Here I pretend to care about jewelry as I gaze at all that gold. If you look right above the shop window, you can see the front of some of those bridge "outcroppings". Right above me are the two colors that represent Italy to me: mustard yellow and terracotta.
When we returned to our hotel in Siena that evening, we weren't hungry enough for a meal, so wine in the courtyard was the perfect thing. We would be really sorry to leave Siena.