Tellus: (tel’us), n. 1. [Latin] earth, soil, and the land; a country; the world. 2. a collection of Willamette University student’s insights, stories, photos and thoughts from their experiences studying abroad.

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Top of the Santa Maria Duomo

Sept 17

Florence! Firenze!

Today, Cybelle and I traveled to the beautiful city of Florence. We took the train from Termina to Florence and it took about an hour and a half. The train went really fast a total speed of about 250km/h which is equivalent to one of Andy Roddick’s serve or 150mph. The train was really nice and super comfortable. Our seats were in groups of four with two on each side and a table in the middle. Also we went with Brooke! We were finally reunited after 3 months apart. YAY! The first thing we saw was Santa Maria Novella. You had to pay to go in so we didn’t get to see the inside. But the outside was pretty. It had nice architecture. Then off we went to the biggest and most famous religious church in the world, the Santa Maria del Fiore. For 10 euros we were able to go into the crypt of the church, the baptistery, and the top of the dome (463 steps, no lift). The baptistery was absolutely stunning, with the gold doors, the gold ceiling, and all of that art and architecture. It’s definitely a must see. Off we went to inside the church. Which was beautiful too. The stained glass work was my favorite part. Whenever the light shone through the colors would pop and it would be absolutely brilliant. Loved it so much! Then we went to the underground crypt. Saw some of the things that pots were made out of. The mosaicy floor, some bones placed in a certain way. The tombs of priests and other important people. After that we went to the museum that had a lot of statues that were once in the church and the actual golden/bronze doors of the baptistery. The doors symbolized the old testament and the artist put his own portrait into the doors. It was massive and magnificent. After, we went to the Palazzo Vecchio. It’s the symbol of Florence and the city hall. There were a lot of statues surrounding the place. Statues of roman myths and gods. I took a picture next to a lion! ROAR! It was right next to the Galleria degli Uffizi which is the biggest museum in all of Italy. We didn’t go into any museums, next time I am there I am definitely going to the Leonardo Da Vinci museum and the Galileo Museum. Outside were all of these statues of famous peeps, like Donatello, Michelangelo, Dante, famous knights and kings, and artists, and scientists. This was right next to Ponte Vecchio on the Amo River. The bridge is known for gold and selling gold jewelry. I wanted to buy some earrings but didn’t sigh. Next time. Palazzo Pierte. It was pretty, but we didn’t go inside. However, it houses very beautiful gardens though. Off we went to Santa Croce another magnificent church. The outside had so much detail, that it was hard not to stare at it for hours. Even if we were we would never be able to fully notice every single feature part of the church. Now it was 5:50 and we were rushing back to the dome to go inside of it. Off we went to the top of the dome, which had no line whatsoever so we were able to quickly walk up the 463 steps. Well however fast it takes to walk all the way to the top. The stairs were fine at the bottom but towards the top the stairs get scarier and scarier. They start getting twisty and smaller. Then towards the very top they got super steep. But on our way up we got to see the top of the dome, where are all of the paintings are. Looking from the floor makes them seem so tiny but there is so much detail in each and every person/ creature and they are so massive! Then we made it to the top and boy was it beautiful. Look throughout Florence on top of the Santa Maria Fiore dome. Truly an incredible experience. Best way to end our trip to Florence. And off we went back to Rome. We only have a few more days in Rome, before heading off to Leicester, England!

Denise Poltavski

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