Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Religious Landscape

It's astounding that I have posted so many Italy pictures and have yet to comment on the numerous churches. No matter where one goes in Italy, churches dominate the landscape. They are front and centre in every city, village and town no matter how large or small. They are also, in many respects, walk in museums. Art works that are hundreds of years old are open on display.

The following pictures are of the Santa Maria del Fiore Duomo in Florence. Above the dome is visible through a narrow side street. Although I took some pictures of the whole church, it really is quite immense and a picture just does not render it justice.

The construction of this Gothic cathedral commenced in 1296 and was completed by Brunelleschi in 1436. The frescoes that cover the dome (seen above) were painted by Varsari and Zuccari. The paintings on the lower part of the dome depict the depths of hell. As you move up, you come to earth and then finally at the top the heavenly realm.

As many churches this age, there are narrow passage ways and steep stair wells. Going around this one (I no longer remember how many steps...but quite a few) left me dizzy and breathless, and not just because of the view.

Finally, the dome as seen at a lower level. This church was unique in that taking pictures of the interior was not an issue. In many of the churches, because they are considered sacred places of worship, cameras are not welcome.


jb3ll3 said...

ah, Carla. sigh. You are a girl after my heart. Wonderful pictures. And actually, it's the light that damages the frescoes. The mosaics in the churches are fine to photo. Did you get to Venice?

Carla said...

JBelle, Yes, I did get to Venice (very lovely), but was not aloud to take pictures of the mosaics in St Mark's, the outside ones, yes, but not inside. Pehaps that's a new thing. And yes, I do realize that light is damaging to much art. The new digital cameras, however, are able to take some great indoor shots without the use of the flash.

Anonymous said...

I have yet to visit Italy, and seeing your excellent photographs certainly increase my desire to do so.

Spain also has some splendid churches. Did you visit Spain as part of your European travels?

Cheryl said...

I loved the churches in Italy. They were so much fun after the austere English and French ones (which were also beautiful, don't get me wrong). The gold ceiling in St. Mark's is totally over the top!

Carla said...

Barnes, how nice of you to drop by. Spain was not part of my most recent itinerary, but I did make a brief visit to Valencia in 05. I definitely desire to go back.

Cheryl, I was totally impressed with the churches and frescos. And yes, St Mark's was totally over the top.

The Fool said...

Stunning. It must've felt wonderful to be there. Thank you for sharing.

Spinning Girl said...

wow, that is beyond lovely.

Carla said...

Fool, It was most wonderful, indeed.

Spinning Girl, It really was breath taking. Thanks for stopping by.