Friday, 26 September 2014
We did two very different things today, morning and afternoon. Morning was Florence’s archaeological museum (local, old stuff, and Egyptian and Greek stuff, plus a fantastic exhibit of OLD Sardinian artifacts, with some interpretation). Afternoon was a bus trip to Siena to stroll the old town.
Here’re a couple of Etruscan goodies. The ceramic dates to 575–550 BC. Loving the creatures and the shapes filling in the band they’re in.
This fan of bronze is a fancy version of an item that was likely in daily use, but made of mundane materials—probably plant leaves. They both came from burial tombs, the ceramic from Vulci and the fan from Populonia.
In Siena, we strolled with the crowds to the Cathedral. It’s huge and on a hilltop, with a piazza around it that allows photographers to get back almost far enough to capture the entire façade.
I used pano to get the width of the façade, dome (peeking), bell-tower, and a transept that extends to the right in the photo and never was finished. Apparently, the building was in use by around 1200, with the façade still under construction, and the fancy stuff in the second shot is generally dated to 1360–70. You can see the light was perfect for our brief sojourn.
After the duomo, I was on an “up” search. I think of churches as being on the high point, and this one is on a local high point, but not far away is a higher knob, and I was curious. So, we (Patient Guru and I) wended our way through narrow Medieval streets to find a strange spot by another small, modest church (closed for renovations, with workman shoveling broken chunks of cement into a wheelbarrow in the doorway as we passed), that was as high as we could go. So there was a church on the highest point here, too, and a little space we could see through an iron fence and across an angular array of rooftops to spot the top of the duomo façade and bell-tower just barely visible. [There’s another famous church in Siena, the basilica; we skipped it. Don’t get me started on St. Catherine’s partial body parts on display here….]
We dropped down from the high-point, empty of tourists, to rejoin the masses in the large, fan-shaped, Piazza del Campo. We ate food we’d snagged at a nearby shop, and watched/listened to a band sound-check we assumed for a concert this evening. People were flocking in, and the sound-levels were…substantial. I tried to decide if the drummer was playing with the echoes in his tempo when it was his turn. Off to the right, someone was inflating a small balloon, and one of the ubiquitous pigeons dove into this shot. That’s another bell-tower I cut the top off of…. Anyway, this was not a Roman forum or amphitheater, we are told, but a Medieval market area that drains even today into a special drain at the piazza’s low point.
Loved the archaeological museum; loved Siena. A fine day all around!