Florence – Day 5-7: Red meat and musea

Welcome to Florence.

Giotto’s bell tower.  The hotel is very close so I can hear the bells clearly.

The new Museum of the Duomo is open and it is stunning.  After a few hours in this exquisite museum I understand much better the interplay of architecture and faith.  There are preserved many inestimable treasures.

They tried to recreate the space between the baptistry and the facade of the Duomo as it was before 1557 when it was dismantled and redone.

You get a real sense of the “paradiso” that that space invoked, as you would move from the baptistry to the doors of the cathedral, from the font to the altar, from cleansing to Eucharist.

Some items, details, in the museum.

The singing gallery!

This museum really takes it out of you, so it is important to keep up your strength.

And did I mention AD ORIENTEM worship, above?  Oh, yes… I did.

We had Mass in the Church of San Marco before visiting the cells painted by Beato Angelico.

Here is what is called the pulpit of Savonarola.  I think that’s a little optimistic.

Wow.  It takes my breath every time I see it.

And then there’s this guy.

And there are these things.  Pasta stuffed with pear.  The sauce is from taleggio, with a little truffle.

These things were dressed in saffron, porcini mushrooms and sausage.

There might have been bistecca alla fiorentina more than once.

And so it is off to Venice today.  Every one is having a good time and they’ve had some edifying experiences.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    I had no idea of the new museum – lovely and fascinating – thank you!

    There was just an interesting interview in The Catholic Herald with Robert Harris about that book. (I thought, ‘Which Harris? – the cannibalism one?!’ – no, the Fatherland and Enigma one, I see.)

  2. JabbaPapa says:

    That Fiorentina seems small — the one I’ve had there (only one, sadly) covered the entirety of a very good-sized plate ; on reflection, I think they may possibly have given me a larger one than usual pursuant to expressions of shock of women ’round the table that I might actually want to order it !!

    OTOH, yours is quite thicker than mine was …

  3. Melissa Johnson says:

    I love your travelogues! I doubt I’ll ever get the chance, so for me it is travel by proxy. Thank you!

  4. NBW says:

    Thank you Fr. Z.! The photos are beautiful. My Aunt and some of our family is from Florence. The art and architecture are incredible. The food was very good and a bit different from other regions of Italy. The pasta stuffed with pear must have been exceptional.

  5. James in Perth says:

    I should probably go to confession after having entirely inappropriate feelings about the food you photographed. I am still drooling.

    Otherwise, I am curious about the artwork with the priest celebrating Mass ad orientem. What is the animal portrayed at the bottom of the work and what does it signify? It seems out of place.

  6. iamlucky13 says:

    Stunning cathedral!

    A friend’s travels to Italy made me want to know more about the Florence cathedral, and I recognized your photos instantly.

    Its dome is an engineering masterpiece. Not only is it the largest brick dome in the world (and was the largest dome of any kind for 400 years until iron framing became common), but it achieved that record without the use of massive buttresses which were the architectural staple of the waning Gothic era, and was octagonal to boot! (circular domes are easier to restrain against the tendency for the base to spread).

    Donatello assisted with some of the construction design, and da Vinci was at the time an apprentice to the sculptor who crafted the bronze ball that crowns the structure. As I understand it, that model dome you photographed in the museum is the scale prototype Brunelleschi and Donatello built before tackling the final masterpiece.

    And that marble facade is really striking. I’ve never seen anything of quite the same style elsewhere.

    I know less about the art inside, but I’ve seen photos of a very extensive scene of the Last Judgement on the interior of the dome.

    Mass there will have to be on my to-do list if I ever have the chance to visit Italy.

  7. un-ionized says:

    At first I thought it said, Red meat and nausea! I am glad it didn’t and just turned out to be nice pictures and stuff.

  8. Mariana2 says:

    The new museum looks absolutely splendid! As do the tortelloni with pear and taleggio sauce, swoon, swoon. And the bistecca! Thanks, Father!

  9. jameeka says:

    Beautiful bells! How often do they ring? I read one place that said 11:30 AM every day, and another that said every hour during the day…..

  10. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    James in Perth asks, ” What is the animal portrayed at the bottom of the work and what does it signify?”

    It looks like a lion to me, and so my guesses as to signification would be St. Mark or Our Lord.

  11. benedetta says:

    Bistecca alla fiorentina? Great choice! San Marco, Fiesole, Santa Croce, Santo Spirito and that side of the river were my old haunts. A beautiful time of year to be in Firenze.

  12. mlmc says:

    the new museum is fabulous- I loved the altar from the Baptistry. The Baptistry itself was stunning and I didn’t realize how beautiful it was.

  13. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Well, if there are four of those plaques, the lion is St. Mark. If they all have baddies at the bottom, it’s a warning to go to Mass in order to avoid the devil and “the lion’s mouth”.

    Otherwise, here’s my guess. It’s a reference to Hosea 11:10 — “They shall walk after the Lord; he shall roar as a lion.”

  14. wanda says:

    Thank you for sharing all the sights, bells and smells.

  15. Rich says:

    The Bosch exhibit at the Prada has been extended for a couple more weeks. The Garden of Earthly Delights rocks.

  16. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Further re. the Ad orientem lozenge with lion: is there something about lozenges and Evangelists? The Book of Kells has a lozenge with all four around it, the Lion of St. Mark at the bottom, and a pectoral cross (c. 1000-1050) from (near) Saint-Omer, now in the Met, has the Lamb of God in a sort of lozenge with the Lion of St. Mark below (and the Eagle of St. John above: the other two may have been left and right and now lost).

  17. James in Perth says:

    Thanks to Venerator Sti Lot and Suburbanbanshee for sharing your thoughts on that one artwork. Now I do see the resemblance to a lion. Your speculation is greatly appreciated.

  18. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    James in Perth,

    It’s always enjoyable to be set noticing and pondering and trying to look into things like that – and to hear what Suburbanbanshee knows and thinks about it!

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