Yesterday I went with my Italian class to an exhibit on Galileo. There are a lot of special events this year dedicated to Galileo because it has been 400 years since his first major discoveries using his telescope. The exhibit traced the origins of astronomy and astrology from Ancient Greeks and Romans. It was really well put together, with a combination of technology, art, books and interactive videos. I enjoyed it. Some of my favorite pieces were illuminated manuscripts depicting the constellations. They were GORGEOUS! There were a couple books which had moving pieces to show how the stars move in relation to the calendar, etc. It was not only beautiful but cool to see some of the first versions which I later saw in Children’s books with moving parts. There was also a tapestry from a church in Toledo depicting the Earth being moved by God through angels using a turning lever-i’m spacing on what that’s really called. There were also Galileo’s telescope (well a replica because the real one is at the G8 Summit this week in L’Aquila), his watercolors based on observation of the moon which were incredibly accurate and his finger-displayed like a Christian saint’s relic. It was fascinating. There were also tons of astrolabs-which were how people envisioned the world/calculated things, and Copernicus’ Revolution. It was sooo cool to see all of this stuff in person.
Today for my Masters & Monuments class we went to the duomo and baptistry. They are both beautiful. We did not go inside either, as they open later than we got there and then the lines are very long! But we did go to the Museo dell’Opera, or the Museum of the Cathedral’s Office. It’s where they planned the construction and artwork for hundreds of years. When they decided to change the facade and now, when they go to preserve the originals, they keep the originals in the museum. It was really interesting to see all of these statues up close, especially since many of them are way above eye level on the duomo. There were so many relics, including John the Baptist’s finger, St. Jerome’s jaw, other random bones from other saints, it’s crazy! But the pieces that that the relics were placed in are gorgeous gold and silver works. The marble statues by Donatello, Michalengelo and many others were also on display-it really hasn’t hit me yet that I just saw these great masters works in person! The Gates of Paradise are also on display. It’s amazing the craftsmanship that goes into making a bronze door. The panels are so intricate, so I can only imagine how much time Ghibertti spent on the molds for each. It was truly incredible.
I also had lunch at the Mercato Centrale, which was delicious! I had a pork panino, which was a roll, olive oil and pork. It sounds plain but it was delicious! I have no idea how they cooked the pork but it was tender and flavorful with many different herbs. Hopefully one day I can make something that delicious! I’m trying to remember all of this great food that I’m eating so that I can try to replicate it all at home. *crosses fingers*