Pisa & Florence

When the wind blows hard, it requires some effort…

But without wind, no problem…

Germans, Mexicans, Filipinos, and plenty of Americans taking each other’s pictures in such poses.

Seems unfair to the tower, which still does its duty: holding the bells aloft, to summon Christians to Mass in this magnificent Duomo next door.

St. Ranieri presides over the south trancept.

Pisa’s “Palazzo Blu” has a collection of interesting paintings like this one, artist unknown…

Which brings us to another town, further up the Arno…

Arno in Pisa
Arno in Florence

The cloisters of Florence abound with paintings of St. Thomas Aquinas.

This last one adorns the wall of a cell in the Museo San Marco, where Fra Angelico produced the most breathtaking collection of paintings I have ever seen, for the spiritual benefit of his Dominican brothers.

One cell has this painting, which has inspired me for over twenty years. I never knew where the original was, until now…

The ghost that haunts Fra Angelico’s San Marco most intently, however, is Fra Geronimo Savanarola. He ruled as prior at the time of his arrest and execution in the Piazza della Signoria.

I will have more to say about Savanarola when I get home and have a real keyboard to work with. I think he is both less of a hero and less of a villain than his lovers and his haters make him out to be. He was, without a doubt, an eminently learned Thomist.

The thing he did that I find most charming: he appealed to an ecumenical council against the corrupt Borgia pope and proposed that Florence replace Rome as the Holy See.

(Savanarola wasn’t as kooky as you might think there; an earlier pope lived for a decade in Florence–and presided over an ecumenical council there– earlier in Savanarola’s 15th century.)

…I did not realize until I saw the statue in person that Michelangelo’s David holds a stone in his right hand–to use against Goliath, I suppose.

On the south side of the Arno, you can see this crucifix by the same artist.

6 thoughts on “Pisa & Florence

  1. Re: Leaning Tower
    But Father Mark, the wind sock on top of the tower is the same in both pictures. Just sayin’. Bless your little heart.
    I’m just happy you’re having a good trip. Are you going to be back to be present for any of the stops on the Bishop’s “Masses for Hope and Healing” Tour? It might be netter to call it “Masses for Hope OF Healing”.

  2. Thanks for sharing . Hope you enjoyed your visit as much as I have, seeing these beautiful pictures.

  3. I’m glad you posted the picture of the leaning tower with the Duomo. Until I saw it in person, I had never understood that the leaning tower is a cathedral belltower. They always just show the picture of the tower itself, as if it’s some pagan monument to the goddess of gravity, rather than something that calls the faithful to prayer and to mass. But maybe it’s for the best that they do this, or that beautiful cathedral might steal the show! Glad your back safe.

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