The first week flew by and the second week is looking like it is going to pass even faster! After our trip to Rome there was no rest for the weary and we started directly back into our routine. On Saturday we went to the Uffizi and saw a tremendous amount of art that ranged from medieval altar pieces to Caravaggio's paintings of Medusa and a young Bacchus. There were also paintings that related directly to the readings the students were working on in Latin. For example Botticelli's Primavera was paired with Lucretius' Invocation of Venus and Bronzino's depiction of Pygmalion and Galatea was a beautiful visual representation of Ovid's story, which the students also read in Latin.
Sunday, after lunch, we visited Santa Croce and the beautiful Giotto frescoes. Buried in Santa Croce are many of Florence's prominent citizens, such as Michelangelo, Rossini, and Machiavelli. However, the monument most pertinent to the students' reading was Dante's cenotaph, as they were reading Vergil's Book 6 where he describes the entrance to the underworld.
On Monday we braved the extremely long line to enter the cathedral, designed by Brunelleschi, known as Il Duomo. Though, much of it was closed off, we were able to see parts of Vasari's frescoes on the inside. Outside is the cathedral's baptistry and its famous, opulent doors designed by Ghiberti. After the cathedral, we visited the Medici chapel, an enormous statement of the Medici's power which was not only political, but also religious. There we saw the twin tombs of Lorenzo and Giuliano Medici, designed by Michelangelo.
Tuesday we visited the Bargello museum where we saw Donatello's David, which is considerably more youthful and less pensive than Michelangelo's representation as well as Gian Bologna's famous bronze Mercury. At the Bargello, we also saw the panels submitted by Ghiberti and Brunelleschi for the competition to design the baptistry doors of the cathedral. We also saw, what is most likely, the only surviving depiction of Dante created during his own lifetime, created by Giotto.
Thursday we visited the former monastery of San Marco and the Fra Angelico frescoes. In the bookstore of the museum we saw a fresco depicting the last supper by Ghirlandaio. This paired nicely with the students' reading of Petronius' Cena Trimalchionis. After San Marco we took the bus all the way up to Fiesole, originally an Etruscan site on a hill above Florence. There we saw the remains of Roman theater, baths, and the remains of an Etruscan temple and tombs.
Friday the students will have a full day of Latin to look forward to!