By Morgan Gariano
On Monday, January 21, we went as a group to the cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore, or the Duomo, in Florence. I had previously read about the construction of the dome; however, I don't think that anything could have fully prepared me for the breathtaking beauty of the Duomo.
I believe what I found most surprising about the Duomo was how nestled it is into the bustling city. I wasn't expecting to walk down a couple streets and be at its threshold - unlike London and Berlin where we had to travel a ways to see much of anything large and attention assuming like the Duomo. However what was also surprising was the exterior of the cathedral. I had seen pictures of the dome, but I suppose the exterior had been left to imagination that could not do the cathedral justice. What I first noticed was the vaguely black and white, horizontal stripes (low contrast) that adorn the facade, but at the same time blend into the rest of the ornamentation.
What I especially found entertaining to look for while exploring the cathedral were the images of sheep. Back in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries when the cathedral was built the wool guild was the funding behind the project and so I felt like I was on a scavenger hunt for sheep - early renaissance advertising!
By far the most impressionable memory of the experience was climbing the hundreds of steps to the top of the dome and taking in the incredible view of Florence. The air was sweet, the weather beyond hopes for January, and the satisfaction unmeasurable. Even the most exceptional imagination could not do it justice. Climbing the Duomo is just something that everyone must do at least once in their lifetime.