By Sarah Glasfeld, Florence '14
Today was our tour around "Dante's Florence" as we are about to translate book six of Vergil's Aeneid in which Aeneas is led into the underworld, in the same way that Dante was led by Vergil himself.
Our first stop was the Church of Santa Croce where Dante's empty tomb is located. It's empty because Dante found himself on the "wrong side" of an argument between the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor and was exiled. Also buried in this church is Michelangelo and Galileo, and both of their tombs were incredible. On Michelangelo's tomb there were statues of three women representing painting, sculpture, and architecture. Similarly, on Galileo's tomb, there were two women representing geometry and philosophy while a bust of Galileo himself held a telescope to represent astronomy.
Next we went to a small little church, outside of which Dante met Beatrice, his famous love, when he was nine years old. This church is also where Dante was married to a another woman. It was simple and quaint with very dim lighting, and fortunately we beat the crowd of tour groups.
That much cannot be said about our luck with the Duomo. However, the line moved quickly and soon enough we were inside the immense building. We remarked on how the exterior of the Duomo is breath-taking with beautiful motifs of green and pink marble and the corinthian styled doorways with spiraled columns on either side. By contrast, the inside of the Duomo is unexpectedly and refreshingly simple. The floor continues the same amount of detail put into the exterior, but the walls and columns were nice and subdued. It brought all of your attention to the dome, constructed by Brunelleschi and painted by Giorgio Vasari.
After the Duomo we were able to get some delicious sandwiches and our daily "solo un gusto" of gelato before starting our Latin session in the afternoon.