Wednesday, September 30, 2015

FLORENCE: THE DUOMO

Note: My wife and I just returned from a trip to Italy, and I plan to put on this blog a series of posts of photographs of our trip.  Our trip took us first to Florence and then to a series of beautiful towns and cities in both Tuscany and Umbria before concluding in Rome.  My plan is to organize the posts by city in roughly chronological order.  These posts are not intended as a documentation of our trip but as a personal reflection of what I happened to catch with my camera along the way. 

Anyone who visits Florence will be familiar with the Duomo.  It dominates the skyline, and in fact by city ordinance all the construction must be lower than the great cathedral's elegant but massive dome.  Here's a shot I took from a park overlooking the city.


Not a great shot, as the sky was hazy, but you get the idea.  The tall structure to the left of the Duomo is the campanile, the bell tower.

Construction on the Duomo began in 1296, but the dome was not begun until 1418 because no one could figure out how to build such a massive structure, and it was not finished until 1461.  The dome was conceived by the great architect/engineer Brunelleschi.  The facade for the cathedral was redone in the 19th century and reflects what we see today.  Here are a few shots of that facade.




The cathedral poses challenges for photographers.  For the most part it is surrounded by other buildings, so efforts to get a clear shot of the overall structure, including the dome, are nearly impossible, except for shots from an elevated position, such as the one at the top of this post.  My thought (fantasy, really) was to climb the campanile to get some lateral shots of the dome.  Here is a shot of the campanile looking up.


Yup.  There are "only" 414 steps to the top of the campanile, and my wife and I didn't get that far.  Here is the one shot I did get from the campanile through one of the slot windows on the way up.


I like this shot but, frankly, it is not of the central dome but of one of the smaller auxiliary domes.  Still, the stone walls serve to frame the dome nicely, I think.

I thought the following was the best of the exterior shots that I did get.



The shot nicely frames the Brunelleschi dome between the front facade of the cathedral on the left and the campanile on the right and provides a nice sense of depth.

In the end I had to content myself with photos of details, including these of statuary on the exterior.



the interior of the Duomo appears strangely barren and to some extent uninviting.  Perhaps it was the structure's enormous size coupled with the fact that much of the art originally held in the interior has been moved to the cathedral's museum.  I did take one shot of the central dome's interior.


Sort of an odd shot, resulting from the fact that I was not able to position myself directly under the center of the dome.  It should be noted too that the murals on the dome's interior, done more recently than the dome itself, while lovely, are a long way off.

John



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