Tag Archives: Duomo

Through His Words: Day Twenty-Four (2nd letter)

29 May

Reflections From and About My Grandfather
Alexander Capraro, Architect


Hotel De Rome

August 8, 1938

Hello Darling

Well I sure got my fill of walking today. Florence is filled with art treasures of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Rafael, etc. There are three large art galleries: Galleria Pitti, Uffizi, and Museum of San Marco. They are blocks long and filled with paintings and sculptures of the famous old masters.

Outside the Uffizi -blogginginitaly.com

Outside the Uffizi -blogginginitaly.com

Dante’s house, the Cathedral and Ponte Vecchio all date back centuries and yet they are here and used as if they were built only yesterday.


The Duomo – blogginginitaly.com

The Duomo - blogginginitaly.com

The Duomo – blogginginitaly.com



Baptistry doors - blogginginitaly.com

Baptistry doors – blogginginitaly.com

My feet actually ache and I just got through taking a bath and treating my feet to soothe them a little. I am glad in a way that Joe was not with me, because he could never stand up under the strain, especially with a bad heart. It is just impossible to see everything worthwhile seeing in only a few days. It takes at least a week and I can’t spare that much time. I leave one place thinking it has the best in sculpture, painting, tapestries, etc., only to find the next place is richer than the one before. It actually makes you dizzy trying to take it all in.

Ponte Vecchio - blogginginitaly.com

Ponte Vecchio – blogginginitaly.com

I intend on leaving for Pisa and Montecatini at 8:10 in the morning and coming back to Florence later in the evening. Then I shall get to Siena for a half day and then Rome.

Pisa - blogginginitaly.com

Pisa – blogginginitaly.com

Pisa - blogginginitaly.com

Pisa – blogginginitaly.com

So much for my activities, now how about you? I still haven’t had word from you and I am actually starving for want of something from home. What in the world has happened? If you wrote me even after I landed here, I should have received your letters by now. Fortunately, I have met many Americans who are traveling about the same itinerary as I am, and it has been a comfort because as long as we are Americans when we meet here, we have a feeling of being neighbors.

It’s easy to understand Alex’s growing concern for news from home, especially after more than three weeks. His tone now had a slight edge to it that came across even on paper. Fortunately, there was much to keep him busy and distract him, at least until writing time, which was usually late at night when he was tired.

I have given up hope of hearing from you until I get to Rome now, but I hope to God I’ll get mail there, otherwise I’ll go nutty. I am starting to miss you more every day and the only medicine good for it is a letter from you. So good night and pleasant dreams. Love to the children and a big kiss for you, Al





29 May

Just returned from two wonderful days in Firenze.

Yesterday, we took the 1.5-hour train ride from the Cortona/Camucia station, dropped our luggage at a small B&B,

Ricotta fresca

and headed to Piazza della Repubblica for lunch at Le Giubbe Rosse. The pizza was delicious and the fresh ricotta and tomatoes… simple and delicious!

From our table, I could see the balcony of the room at the Savoy where we celebrated my parents’ 50th anniversary. On either side of the balcony is a statue – one male, one female. When I see them, I always think my parents are smiling down at us, happy that we are still celebrating their lives and the legacies they left us.

Savoy Hotel, balcony upper right

After lunch,  we walked to Piazza del Duomo, Firenze’s historical center containing the Cathedral, the Baptistery (correct spelling!) and the Campanile, or bell tower.  The magnificent façades consist of an intricate pattern of green, white and reddish pink tiles, which you can see better if you click on Benita’s photo.

Duomo facade

As summer months go, May is definitely a tourist’s paradise, especially on Mondays. Crowds are lighter as kids are still in school and the big galleries are closed, so fewer tour groups crowd the city.

That said, we were able to walk right into the Cathedral, also known as Santa Maria del Fiore. The cathedral’s dome, engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi and built between 1420-1436, is considered the most impressive feature. Benita is able to stitch shots together, providing this impressive view of the dome and altar.

Duomo altar and dome

The  Baptistery is one of the oldest buildings in Florence. Until the 19th century, all Catholics in the city were baptized in the octagon-shaped Baptistery. Some of the more notable baptisms include Dante and members of the Medici family. The bronze doors of the Baptistery include copies of 28 reliefs depicting scenes from the Bible. The originals are in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo.

Today we had reservations (no waiting in long lines!) for the Uffizi Gallery, world renown for magnificent works of art and the Accademia, home of Michelangelo’s David. So much art and culture in one city…truly overwhelming, each and every visit.  Both galleries now prohibit any photography, but did not years ago when I was a student in Italy. I am reminded once again to pull out the hundreds of slides I took back them and convert them to current media.

On a sad note, there was another earthquake today in northern Italy. When we were at the train station returning to Cortona, they were talking about the difficulty getting to and around Bologna. Fortunately, Firenze and its treasures were not affected.

On a lighter note, at the exit of the Accademia in the garden across from the bookstore, there is a David that can be photographed. I must admit that after being in the trance that David causes, I felt the outside David was a bit sacrilegious. But since this David is provided by the museum, I guess you should  see it!

Also at the Accademia!

A wonderful trip!



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