Two of the World’s Most Beautiful Churches Are Found in Florence

After visiting St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Peggy and I travelled on to Florence where we were awed by the Duomo and Santa Croce churches, which we found even more beautiful than the Basilica. These two churches are the focus of my re-post today from our 2015 trip to Europe and are part of my armchair travel in the age of Coronavirus series.

Note: Peggy and I are off on another adventure. This time we will be exploring the back roads of America. Carefully. Covid-19 continues to rage across the country. We have our face masks along and enough sanitizer to bathe in. Even Bone and Eeyore are wearing their face masks! I apologize for not reading posts and comments the past few days but will catch up. One challenge of remote America is the lack of good Internet service. Yesterday, for example, I was in the middle of the Nevada desert on “America’s Loneliest Road” following the route of the Pony Express. I have several more posts in my Adventure Travel series and will then start my Backroad series. Peggy, Eeyore and Bone say hi and urge you to be safe! –Curt

Looking up at the magnificent dome on Florence’s Duomo Cathedral.

There are at least three reasons for visiting Florence’s Cathedral, commonly known as the Duomo. First is the Church itself, second is the magnificent bell tower, which stands next to the church, and third is the octagonal-shaped Baptistery, which stands in front.

The dome of Duomo was one of the great works of the Renaissance. (The church had been waiting since the Middle Ages for its top.) Filippo Brunelleschi, who built the dome, first studied the ancient Pantheon in Rome. Like so much of the Renaissance, the dome represented a return to, or a rebirth of, the Greek and Roman cultures that had thrived 1000 years earlier before the Dark Ages had arrived along with the Barbarian hordes.

A view of the Baptistery on the left, the front of the Duomo in the center, and the dome on the right.
A front view of the Duomo. The bell tower is looming on the right.
Looking up at the Duomo’s intricately painted dome from inside the church.

The 270-foot tall Campanile or Giotto’s Tower, which is located next to the Duomo, was actually completed 100 years before Brunelleschi put his finishing touches on the church. Many consider the bell tower to be among the most beautiful in Europe.

Giotto’s bell tower.
A close up of the top of Giotto’s bell tower. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
Looking up at Giotto’s bell tower.

The Baptistery features Ghiberti’s bronze doors. Michelangelo believed these gates were so beautiful they could have served as “the Gates of Paradise.”

The top of Ghiberti’s Bronze Doors on the Baptistery in Florence. Tourists blocked a lower view. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson)
A closer look.
And a detailed look at one of the panels.

The Basilica of Santa Croce, a 14th Century Franciscan church, also had some great doors but is better known for the people buried inside including Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Rossini and Galileo. As we stood in front of the church admiring its doors, a man sent bubbles floating into the sky.

A bulb floated up past the carved wooden doors of the Basilica of Santa Croce.
I’ll wrap-up today’s post with a view of the the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence caught in the glow of the afternoon sun.

NEXT POST: Exploring a tiny bit of Florence’s art.