After breakfast, we parted ways. The Vallantes took a cab to Florence Airport to search for Tom's missing luggage (and were ultimately successful), and the Pashleys spent the morning around the Duomo. We started at the Museo Dell'Opera Del Duomo, which is an absolutely awesome museum dedicated to the history of the cathedral, and the artists that have contributed to it. This museum is considered to be second only to the Vatican Museum in its religious treasures.
The treasure of the museum is the original Ghiberti Baptistry doors.
The facade of the Cathedral has changed as it has expanded, and the museum displays many statues that have been removed and preserved.
One part of the Cathedral had panels depicting the different professions of the Florentines. Here is the shepherd.
Famous Italian figures, like Leonardo, enjoyed a cameo at one time.
There were rooms of gorgeous vestments...
...and how about this solid silver altar?
Donatello's statue of Mary Magdalene is heart wrenching.
Another treasure is the Pieta that Michelangelo designed for his tomb. He imposed his self-portrait as the face of Nicodemus, but did not complete the work, as he was unhappy with the marble. It is here in the museum.
Here is a choir loft, and a panel from della Robbia's singing children.
There was a highly informative film on the architectural wonder that is the Brunelleschi dome, with loads of architectural drawings and models to illustrate what a marvel it is.
The top floor of the museum provides a great vantage point to admire it.
We walked across the Piazza to enter the Baptistry, which is under indoor renovation, but we were able to view most of the beautiful ceiling.
Here is the floor and the baptismal font.
Next on the religious tour was a return to Orsanmichele; you saw Doubting Thomas on the outside, and now you can see the inside of the church.
We climbed the very narrow staircase to the museum upstairs, which housed many statues, some under renovation.
Then, one of us climbed to the next level, which afforded beautiful views of the city.
At this point, we received a text message that the Vallante luggage reunion had occurred , and we met to celebrate with lunch at La Prosciutteria. These guys were very friendly, and the meat and cheese went from the slicer onto the sandwiches (which were enormous and delicious)!
After lunch, we walked back to Santa Croce. Maureen and I visited the Cathedral, which is the resting place of many of Italy's most famous sons, including...
and Machiavelli, to name a few (more in the photo gallery)
Santa Croce Cathedral was beautiful.
The church sustained serious damage in the flooding of 1966, and Vasari's Last Supper needed significant restoration.
The most significant damage was the destruction of Cimabue's Crucifixion. It hangs in the museum, and was restored to the best of their ability.
We did a little shopping on our way back, and had gelato for dinner.
Photos are tagged Florence and Italy