The Edmond Sun

Features

September 6, 2013

ON TRAVEL: A trip down a Florentine memory lane

EDMOND — I just finished reading Dan Brown’s latest book “Inferno.” It’s not my favorite — the threat in this one is just a bit too close to reality for me. But what I did love was the detailed tour of Florence. Brown did his research and his descriptions are vivid. And so are my memories of last fall’s trip to that glorious Italian city.

The Duomo, the Baptistry, the Uffizi, the Ponte Vecchio, these all figure in the novel. These are sights every tourist must see. Here are some more of my favorite Florentine spots.

To me, no stop gives more of a sense of place than a market. The San Lorenzo market is made up of two components — the Mercato Centrale, an indoor food hall, and a street market selling leather goods, clothing and souvenirs.

The Central Market is a symphony of sights, sounds and smells. Aromas of cheeses, salamis, fruits, vegetables, cooking pizza and paninis and fresh flowers all blend in olfactory overload. Products are displayed with all the art of the Renaissance masters. Their booths specialize in condiments and spices. We bought sea salt blended with truffle bits — a nice souvenir and small enough to bring several home for gifts.

Outside, Jack was tempted by a soft leather coat, while I bought a pair of good leather gloves. This isn’t a place noted for high quality, but if you shop carefully, you can pick up a good bargain.

Close to the San Lorenzo Market is the Church of San Lorenzo with its oddly naked façade. Beside the church is the Medici Chapel begun in 1520 by Michelangelo. It was designed to be the mausoleum of the Medici family. After completing the New Sacristy, Michelangelo turned his efforts to the sculptures and sarcophagi that were to be installed in the chapel. He completed a number of the works, which are on display here.

Adjacent to this area is a veritable jewel box known as the Chapel of the Princes, another mausoleum. This room is highly colored with a variety of marbles and semi-precious stones. The effect was stunning adding to my frustration at the total ban on photography. You will truly have to see this one for yourselves.

Often overlooked by tourists is the Convent of San Marco. I was anxious to see it because of its paintings by Fra Angelico, an early Renaissance artist. I particularly wanted to see his “Annunciation,” a painting long familiar to me from pictures.  

The convent is old — what isn’t in Florence? It sits on a site that has housed religious buildings since the 12th century. The present building only dates back to 1437. Fra Angelico and his assistants decorated with walls between 1439 and 1444.  

We could see little of the church as we approached; the façade was covered with scaffolding. Inside, we wandered through a courtyard into another part of the complex. Following signs, we turned down a hall and up a staircase. There, at the top, we were face to face with this marvelous painting. Pictures don’t do it justice. We took in all the details: Mary and her heavenly visitor with wings like a rainbow; the arches and columns of the building where she sat — a small window, like those in the monk’s cells, visible in the interior of the structure; Italian cypress trees behind a wooden fence; small flowers blooming in the grass. Magnificent!  

Every visitor to Florence goes to the Duomo (cathedral), the central landmark of Florence. Its heavily ornamented façade and the adjacent campanile are familiar to tourists, but the interior of the church seems oddly empty. Many of the treasures have been moved to another of my favorite places, the Museo dell’ Opera del Duomo behind the famous church.

Here is the last of Michelangelo’s four Pietas. Unlike the detailed, silky finished Pieta in St. Peter’s, this one is roughly fashioned. It actually was broken during the sculpting and discarded. Later repaired by others, the statue evokes more emotion than the more polished early work. The figure supporting Christ, perhaps Nicodemus, bears the likeness of the aging sculptor.

Among the other masterworks in the museum are the original doors to the Baptistry (the doors on the Baptistry now are copies). The Museum of the Duomo is frequently missed by tourists — giving those who venture in a chance to see the real doors without the crowds of people who swarm outside the cathedral.

My list of favorite places in Florence is long — longer than this article permits. And I haven’t begun to tick off all the treasures the city has to offer. Until I can return, I’ll enjoy the city vicariously with Dan Brown — glad that when I go again, my trip won’t be as harrowing as that of his hero, Robert Langdon.   

ELAINE WARNER is an Edmond-based travel writer.

1
Text Only
Features
  • Screen shot 2014-04-18 at 4.44.15 PM.png Paint, doodle and sketch: 3 apps for art lovers

    In the absence of a palette of watercolors and a sketchpad, these three apps can fill in as your art supplies of choice.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 19, 2014

  • Crazy spring weather brings frantic pleas

    It was a bright and sunny Saturday morning. Tulips were blooming, squirrels were all a’skitter, my allergy-prone nose was running ninety-to-nothing, and workmen were in my yard leaning on rakes at $18 an hour. You might know I’d be anxious to remedy that! They were waiting to get started on spreading 60 bags of mulch, which I was belatedly on my way to reserve and pre-pay so they could pick it up and get started. Rush ... rush ... rush, and oh my aching back.

    April 19, 2014

  • Oklahoma History Center new home for Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame

    The Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame has a new home at the Oklahoma History Center. Created in 1999, the hall of fame, operated by the Oklahoma Military Heritage Foundation, has been housed the past several years at Oklahoma Christian University but there was no available space to display photographs and information on the inductees.

    April 18, 2014

  • pink.jpg Local children win Edmond Sun Easter coloring contest

    Two local children were named winners of The Edmond Sun’s Easter coloring contest. At left, Madsion Porter, 4, daughter of Tracy Porter, won a princess Easter basket, which included a tiara, tea set, stuffed bunny rabbit and chocolate rabbit. At right, BriAnna Harbaugh, 9, daughter of Leslie Haubaugh, won a Hello Kitty Easter basket, containing art supplies, a Hello Kitty stuffed animal and a chocolate bunny.  The families also received a three-month subscription to The Edmond Sun. For your own subscription to The Edmond Sun, visit edmondsun.com, call 341-2121, or visit 123 S. Broadway.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Annual Turkish art and food festival set for April 26-27

    Raindrop Foundation is a nonprofit cultural organization that seeks to promote friendship and understanding through shared understanding and community experiences. This free event is set for 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. April 26 and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 27 at 4444 N. Classen Blvd., Oklahoma City.
    This year Raindrop Foundation will bring cultural entertainment and education to Oklahoma City area by presenting the Annual Turkish Art and Food Festival. The festival will feature Turkish folk dances, traditional music, water marbling art, whirling dervishes, calligraphy, traditional art of felting, China pieces as well as original arts and crafts for sale to the public.

    April 18, 2014

  • Health seminar focuses on Oklakhoma’s high suicide rate

    OU Outreach and Norman Regional Health System are offering a new health seminar titled “Circle of Care Methodology: Risk Assessment and Prevention of Suicide.” The seminar will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 24 at the Norman Regional Hospital Education Center. Suicide touches many people’s lives. This seminar focuses on the Circle of Care Methodology, which engages a holistic and mitigating approach to the issues and care that is required to address suicidal ideations, attempts, completions and the aftermath.
    The cost is $45 per person, and seating is limited. There will be free parking onsite for all seminar attendees. For more information, visit https://pace.ou.edu/en/programs/health-seminars/.

    April 18, 2014

  • Film documentary explores hunger in America

    The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma will host a screening of the 2012 documentary, “A Place at the Table,” at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Food Bank Volunteer Center, 3355 S. Purdue, Oklahoma City. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. The story documents the struggle of food insecure people in the United States.
    Author Joel Berg will be present as a featured guest. Guests also will have the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion about the issue of hunger in our communities. The screening is free, but seating is limited to 275 people. For more information, go online to www.okchurches.org.

    April 18, 2014

  • Nominations being accepted for Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame

    The Oklahoma Military Heritage Foundation is accepting nominations through June 1 for inductees into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame. Oklahoma veterans including Medal of Honor recipients have been being honored by the hall of fame since 1999. A banquet and ceremony honoring those selected this year for the hall of fame will be Nov. 8 at the Tower Hotel, formerly Marriott Hotel, at 3233 Northwest Expressway in Oklahoma City.
    Nominees can be living or deceased. Nomination forms can be obtained by writing to the Oklahoma Military Heritage Foundation, P.O. Box 30658, Edmond, OK, 73003; or on the foundation’s website at www.okmhf.org.
     

    April 18, 2014

  • Annual wheelchair basketball tournament set

    OU Medicine will present the 6th Annual Wheelchair Basketball Tournament, benefiting the Greater Oklahoma Disabled Sports Association, April 24 at Oklahoma City University. Teams from OU Medicine administration, anesthesiology, neurosurgery, nursing, otolaryngology, surgery and urology, and a team from 180 Medical will compete in 10-minute exhibition basketball games against wheelchair athletes from GODSA. All participants will compete in wheelchairs.
    The free event will begin at 5:40 p.m. at OCU’s Freede Wellness Center, 2501 N. Blackwelder Ave. Fundraising activities including a silent auction, baked goods sale and more. Funds will help GODSA athletes purchase sports equipment and travel for national basketball tournaments. For more information, call 271-6900.

    April 18, 2014