by Sadie Holmes, Florence '14
Today was quite the site-filled day in Florence! We started the day with Latin before walking to a cafe downtown for lunch. From there the group reconvened by the carousel and together we headed towards the Accademia di Belle Arti Firenze right downtown, where generations of artists studied and created dozens of the Renaissance masterpieces we enjoy today in the Accademia museum, converted from the old classrooms. Among these artists was the famous Michelangelo, and his highlighted work is the David. In the peripheral rooms are hung the religious works and portraits of lesser-known artists who studied during the years of the Accademia, and in the hall leading up to the David, the centerpiece of the museum, are four of Michelangelo's unfinished slave statues. The art was breathtaking and each student took something different from the experience. After that the group split into two: one group went to shop and the other went to climb the Duomo, the city cathedral designed by Renaissance artist Brunelleschi.
Though the line was huge, the wait was worth it: after the 463 sweaty, steep steps, the five of us reached the top of the Duomo and what seemed like the top of the world. On the way up we met a variety of people, ranging from an American family on vacation to Australian college students abroad for the summer to a number of Asian and European tourists, all of whom chatted with us and were very friendly. On the way back down, as we entered the inside of the cathedral, we could hear a mass being sung and all the climbers become silent - it was truly beautiful. Looking up at the ceiling adorned with paintings, hearing the mass, being among people from dozens of cultures in the artistic capital of the world - it was Florence as it was meant to be, as it was centuries ago.