Basilica

Mr L braced himself for a queuing day today – today was the day when we planned to join the queue to get into the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower).

The queue was not too long and in fact quite fast moving so it only took us about 10 minutes max before we were in the cathedral.  I treated myself to an audio guide but Mr L didn’t so my time in the cathedral lasted just on the hour whereas he was finished somewhat before me and was to be found waiting impatiently on a bench outside the cathedral!  The cathedral is the main church of Florence and most commonly known as Il Duomo di Firenze.  Building began in 1296 and was completed 140 years later in 1436.  The magnificent dome which dominates the Florentine skyline was engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi and was the first octagonal dome to be built without a temporary wooden supporting frame.  The external facade of the Duomo is faced with pink, green and white marble and is currently undergoing a process of being cleaned and restored to its true glorious colours.

Il Duomo - looking up into the dome

Il Duomo – looking up into the dome

The Santa Maria del Fiore is the 4th largest cathedral in the world after St Peter’s in Vatican City, St Paul’s in London and the Duomo in Milan.

Next basilica to visit was the Basilica de Santa Croce (pronounced as ‘crotch’ with an ‘a’ on the end); Basilica of the Holy Cross is the English translation.  We had to pay to get into this church, €6 each, and I didn’t go do the audio guide this time.  Santa Croce is the principal Franciscan church in Florence with many famous folk buried here as mentioned in an earlier post.  Within the church there are 16 chapels many of which are decorated with frescos by Giotto and his pupils.  To the south of the church are the remains of a convent and we were able to wander throughout all of these area including the cloisters and outside gardens.  The 1966 flooding of much of Florence caused significant damage to the church buildings as well as the many art treasures within; it has taken many years to repair all the damage.

Florence Nightingale plaque - Santa Croce

Florence Nightingale plaque – Santa Croce

Santa Croce - outside area near the cloisters

Santa Croce – outside area near the cloisters

Santa Croce gardens and statue

Santa Croce gardens and statue

We then met up with Miss A and Mr D for a beer at a bar on Piazza Poggi overlooking Florence’s city beach, La Spiaggina, on the banks of the Arno.  It was our turn to cook last night so Mr L and I went home via the supermarket.  Dinner, wine and music and was followed by a walk up the road to the Gelataria Cavini for our ice cream dessert – packed as ever with people of all ages doing the same thing and eating gelato!

There was no item of the day purchase today…….yesterday’s jacket probably covers 2 days allowance…….or perhaps tomorrow I could purchase 2 items……..

Steps walked = 17,271 / 12.7km

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