Genius of Florence

For my genius of Florence class, I have to keep and update a reflective journal each week. The course is about the history/genius of Florence, and we spend each class in a different and significant place in the city. The journal shouldn’t repeat what I heard or describe what I saw, but rather reflect on what it means to me and how it helps my understanding of Florence.

Week 3: Feb. 8, 2012

Touring Palazzo Vecchio was cool, but I wish we could have toured all of the secret passageways. The palace where the Medici once lived holds dozens of secret staircases, hidden rooms and even a passage that extends for miles through other buildings and across the Arno River. Even just imagining the escape route illustrates the family’s influence/importance. Still, seeing rooms in their home, especially smaller, private rooms, made time seem to stop. I imagine it would be relatively similar to standing in the bedroom of Martin Luther King Jr., or another American icon.

Week 2: Feb. 1, 2012

First, it’s pretty cool that Fabrizio was in a National Geographic special.

Second, it’s crazy that one family (the Medici) could have so much influence on world history. Without the Medici’s money, works by Galileo, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo may never have been commissioned. We basically owe the Renaissance to them. I’m also pretty amazed that architectural experts still can’t figure out how the Duomo was built. The dome, completed in the 1400s, was the largest in the world before the age of modern construction, and it remains the largest brick dome. In a way, the fact that researchers are still dumbfounded by the dome validates the Renaissance commitment to math, science and art.

Week 1: Jan. 25, 2012

Today, as we sat in Piazza Signoria, it hit me that I am living in Florence. I let the music of the street performer carry me away as Fabrizio talked about various statues, the Medici family and the Palazzo Vecchio. I imagined life during the Renaissance, when town hall meetings were held right where I was sitting, and when guards would dump things on townspeople from the high windows of Palazzo Vecchio if things didn’t go well. It’s very surreal because places in the U.S. don’t hold that kind of history.

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