Tuesday, December 16, 2008


"They're dogs! Playing poker!"

- Homer Simpson, one of the Halloween episodes

The Duomo looks like a big stick of green-red-and-white striped candy cane.

It's strangely appetising. From the side, it looks festive and happy, as much unlike an cathedral in Europe as I've seen. There's an adjoining bell tower that's about seven stories high and made of the same coloured marble. I had to fight the idea of licking the building to see if it tasted as sweet as it looked.

There's a dome atop the Duomo. It's impressively vast and awe-inspiringly beautiful. Climb to the top (and 468 steps later), you've got panoramic views over all of Florence. The dome's the barrel-vaulted egg-shaped thing that Brunelleschi built. He got the project by crushing a hard-boiled egg on a table in front of the Medicis. Strange way of winning probably the most difficult project in Renaissance Italy, but there you go. Sometimes, you've got to present with flair to win the client.

Got to say, the Medicis had good taste in architecture, and sculpture, and paintings, and art in general. I think the Renaissance would've turned out a whole lot different if the first Medici prince had a penchant for vivid pink and puke green, and a liking for cute puppies and fluffy kittens. We'd have a giant marble Cheshire cat instead of the David. And a painting of dogs playing poker instead of The Birth of Venus.

Actually, the last wouldn't have been too bad. I like Dogs Playing Poker - it's freaky and disturbing and tres avant-garde. I remember watching this video presentation in a park in Manhattan once, with dogs dressed as humans, going activities normally associated with a park - gardening, serving hot dogs, sitting on a park bench.... it's oddly disturbing.

As Homer Simpson would say, "They're dogs! Playing poker!"


Anonymous said...

Florence does sound very nice. I think I spent a lot of time up on top of cathedrals being very scared and trying not to down. Amused your sister in law no end.

Your brother

Connolly's agent said...

The stairs do take it out on you. Duomo had about 468, and you really do feel it. Makes you wonder if those Renaissance princes intended to climb for the view as well.