Where Halterman Goes, I Go

Culinary Post #3: Florence

Florence is the epicenter for art and engineering. (Okay so this might be debatable but hear me out, I have a reason—or two). Florence can be described as the happy medium between the overcrowded city of Rome and the quite suburb of Arezzo. Yet it houses some of the finest painting in the world—works like the original da Vinci’s Annunciation, and Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and even Titian’s Venus. From works of the early Renaissance done by Giotto to the later words during the Baroque done by Caravaggio, Uffici hosts them all. Furthermore, Florence is the city where Brunelleschi’s dome resides. One of the largest domes in the world and built during the Renaissance. Brunelleschi was bound to rebound from his lose to Lorenzo during a former sculpting contest for the doors to the baptistery. With the lack of the architectural knowledge, he conquered the task of building upon a dome (a daunting task that had never been done on such a large scale before especially with the technology–or lack thereof–they had). Nonetheless, when people asked him how he was going to conquer the task he asked “if you can get an egg to stand on its own, then you will understand.” No one could get it, so finally he showed them the answer by firmly placing the egg on the table, crushing the lower quarter of the egg but sustaining the shape of the egg for the upper three quarters of the egg. Thusly, the egg-shaped dome is now a prominent feature of Florence.

After stopping by Brunelleschi’s dome (or Duomo for short) we walked into the Uffici (art museum) and explored on our own. I, however, stuck with Halterman to see/hear what he had to say about the chemical background of the paintings and sculptures. Because this was my second time there, I desired to learn more in depth instead of the merely peering at the facades. So all around the museum and the city we ventured together through gelato shops, graveyards, churches, and even a short stop by the leather market. Seeing all these grand aspects of art and culture throughout Florence was truly eye opening. I gaped at all the fascinating architectures from the past–because even with the technology we have nowadays our buildings/monuments pale in comparison. The history and knowledge behind each element is truly worth learning.

My awing and gawking aside, Florence truly symbolizes the hard work and dedication into the making everything they do. Tempura on wood, which took hours to dry, or frescos that took days to complete, or even the dome which took years to construct are just some of the many feats that I truly yearn to emulate. The astounding features that make Italy so great lies within the heart of the people. How fitting; as I am currently traversing through a tough path learning organic chemistry, I hope to have the mindset of these Italian artists. Perseverance, patience and most importantly the drive to succeed.

Italian word of the day: excuse me/sorry – scusa

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