Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Florence on $85 a Day – The Duomo Up Close

David and I waited in line for about ten minutes today to finally see the inside of the dome that dominates every view in this town. It's easy to understand why the architect, Filippo Brunelleschi, is considered a genius. Even Michelangelo was said to be in awe of it.

As beautiful as the Duomo is, there's an interesting surprise waiting downstairs. In addition to Brunelleschi's tomb and the inevitable gift shop, 3 euros earns you admission to the excavation of Santa Reparata, the original cathedral of Florence. This cathedral, which is seen as proof that Christianity existed in the 3rd century, was named for Saint Reparata, a virgin who was martyred when she was twelve years old for refusing to denounce her Christian faith.
We enjoyed seeing this early cathedral that seemed to serve as the footprint for the more modern Duomo as much as the Duomo itself. A one-euro video/audio presentation (There are two of these “stands” in the excavation with one screen and two hand-held earphone sets per stand.) told us about the history of the cathedral and its importance to Christianity.

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