San Marco and the Long-Awaited Duomo

Hello once again, it’s Sara here! My time in Italy has been wonderful and I’m so sad it’s coming to an end. This time next weekend, I will be home, which makes me incredibly sad, but also makes me appreciate my time here even more. Today, Saturday, May 27th, we did our tour of Museo di San Marco and finally the long-anticipated tour of the Duomo Cathedral.

San Marco dates back to the 14th century. This convent holds historical significance and has been essential to Florence’s spiritual and intellectual life. However, the renowned Renaissance painter Fra Angelico left an indelible mark on this convent and its museum. Fra Angelico was an artist who lived during the 15th century. He was commissioned to decorate the convent’s cells and halls with his paintings, which have become the main highlights of this museum. We were able to see paintings such as the Annunciation, Crucifixion, and Last Judgment. My favorite part of San Marco was the preserved library. It contains numerous illuminated manuscripts that showed us the Dominican order. It was so amazing to see how they were able to make these manuscripts with so little. As we continued throughout San Marco, we had the opportunity to explore the convent’s cells. We were able to see a glimpse into the lives of the Dominican monks who had once lived there.

The Duomo, officially known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, is a witness to the rich history and artistic brilliance of Florence. Its construction began in 1296 and took an estimated 140 years to complete. When you walk into the Cathedral, you are faced with VERY high ceilings. Gothic arches, towering pillars, and stained glass windows are enough to make you take a step back and really take it all in. On the stained glass windows, there are scenes from the Bible and the lives of saints. The way the light shines through creates a kaleidoscope effect across the interior, filling the room with a glow. At the end of the nave, is the altar which is the center point of the cathedral, and here we were able to see vast sculptures and stunning marble work that illustrated Renaissance artists. Above the altar is the dome. The dome’s artwork depicts the Last Judgment and it was something that I have never seen before and it was quite astonishing.

Attending my class at FUA has been one of the highlights of my experiences here. I am an online student through IUE, so going to an actual classroom and seeing my professor face to face and my classmates, has been so refreshing. While attending class, I have gotten the opportunity to see how many luxurious retail stores such as Dior, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and so many others operate. My classmates are all so wonderful and each day we split up into different groups to work on assessments and it has been so nice witnessing all different personalities from all across the world. My time here has taught me how to be independent, resourceful, and how to soak up all moments, because we only get them once before they are a memory. I will be sad to leave Italy, but I will take all the things that I have gained home with me and utilize them in my everyday life. Also, being here has only made me want to travel even more so I’m excited to plan my next trip out of the states already! Thank you all for taking the time to follow along with our journey and my wish for you is to step out of your comfort zone and do the things that scare you, because you learn about yourself and the world.

San Marco – Saint Dominic Adoring the Crucifixion
Duomo Cathedral: Last Judgment created by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari
FUA Fashion Retail Management Tour: Louis Vuitton

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