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  Cornell University

Cornell in Rome

College of Architecture, Art and Planning


Students gathering in the piazza in front of the Florence Cathedral (credits to Oonagh Davis)

We departed early in the morning from the Roma Termini train station, to arrive to Florence at around half past nine, with the whole day ahead of us. The first day was designated to the visit of the perhaps most iconic structure of Florence; Brunelleschi’s dome. Some of us already having had the experience of climbing up the hundreds of stairs leading to the top of the dome of St. Peter’s basilica in Rome and thus assuming we had practice, we were nevertheless all very happy to finally find fresh air and forget the claustrophobic feeling of walking between the two domes when finally at the top.

resting at the top of the dome of the Florence Cathedral and enjoying the views (credits to Ihwa Choi)
A food market in the middle of Florence (credits to Ihwa Choi)

Unfortunately one of the other locations (Santa Croce) that we planned to visit has not long before our arrival killed a tourist, more specifically a piece of the front facade has fallen on one of the by standers. This led to the temporary closure of this location, and we thus visited other, but also exciting locations, and after more churches we eventually ended up at the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo from where we have finally finished the planned visits for the day, and were left to explore Florence a little bit on our own.

Our group inspecting the floor decorations in the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana (credits to Ihwa Choi)

Some of us have gone out to explore the city’s food scene, others perhaps the music scene while some went straight to sleep as the day was exhausting. Personally having explored the food scene, the music and other venues all one after the other until very late into the night, it was more than a challenge to wake up the next morning.

student taking notes and sketches inside of the Medici Chapel of the Princes (credits to Ihwa Choi)

But a hearty breakfast and some other remedies among which of course the fascination with the new city, we have all made it to our first location the next day, the San Lorenzo complex. Most importantly we made it to the exquisitely decorated Chapel of the Princes.

discovering Florence through the eyes of prof. Jeffrey Blanchard (credits to Ihwa Choi)

Having then toured the Galleria dell’Accademia, with its famous sculpture of David, we finally paused for lunch, only to continue until the very last hours of the day, when we arrived to the Opera di Firenze where we attended¬†L’Elisir d’Amore. Many being in complete disagreement in certain cases with certain portrayals in the performance or plainly too tired, many headed back to the hotel or to explore Florence during the last few hours there. An intensive, instructional visit, with which many agreed and disagreed but one thing was certain: every one wished for more time to explore the city on their own, as Florence at least to me really did seem to have a slightly different attitude and personality, compared to all the other cities in Italy we have visited by now.

by Matej Dlabal

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