18.11.2014 - 18.11.2014
Previous entry: [Florence] I paid 10 Euros to go window-shopping at The Mall
The Duomo, also known as the Florence Cathedral, is very near our hotel, so we simply took a morning stroll over.
We passed a street bazaar on the way. It was selling all kinds of trinkets, souvenirs, clothes and accessories.
So many stores! It was hard to resist the temptation to shop.
At one of the souvenir shops, run by a friendly Bangladeshi migrant, we found calendar magnets for 1 Euro.
These are mini calendars with a magnetic strip at the back, with 12 pages, one for every month, each with a photo of a famous attraction from the place. I actually bought the Milan one (bottom right) from the Milan Malpensa Airport, but they're all about the same and can be found at quite a lot of souvenir shops around the cities.
Now, the il Pisello is different. It's a not a city-themed calendar but a penis themed calendar, with each page featuring a penis-themed artwork from Italy! But aside from David, all the artworks are quite bizarre and comical.
Pages from the il Pisello.
Ivy goaded me into buying it. She bought 2 herself, and then started acting like a promotor. I can't remember what rationale she used, but they were very persuasive. Something along the lines of not being able to find this anywhere else. The storekeeper could not stop laughing when he wrapped up our purchases. After that I lamented about buying it because I don't know who I could give it to! But I need not have worried because when I showed it to my mum, she cackled merrily, photographed every page and sent them to people @_@ I don't wanna know who she sent them to. David's pisello is now proudly stuck on our refrigerator.
In all honesty, these make great souvenirs because not only are they cheap, but easy to carry in bulk and are practical. Also, the back clearly states that they're made and printed in Italy instead of "Product of China". Nothing against China products but obviously you want a souvenir that is truly unique to the country you visit. The pictures inside, albeit small, are vividly coloured. The quality isn't so great though. A couple of weeks on my refrigerator and they're already coming apart. I would suggest keeping them flat instead of using them as magnets. The only exception is il pisello. Perhaps by some strange power of the pisello, it is still in flawless condition despite being from the same manufacturing company as the city calendars.
Streets and buildings along the way to the Duomo:
The Duomo's signature dome is visible from a distance.
Behold picture spam below of the beautiful Duomo with the adjoining Giotto Bell Tower. It really is an intricately designed masterpiece of an architecture with lots of detail.
The amount of details on the facade in the forms of small sculptures and reliefs is really quite intense.
At the time when we went, it was mass, and the church would not be available until after. The guard informed us the time that we could return, but for whatever reason I forgot, we didn't go back, so we didn't explore the church >_< Admission was free too, d'oh!
The clock tower does require an admission fee and the ticket office is right at the entrance. The building is really small and narrow. When we went inside to hide from a sudden spray of rain, we ran into Mr Cowboy hat whom we met in Riomaggiore. He was totally recognisable by the hat. We exchanged hasty greetings and then he was on his way.
Ivy took a really nice close-up of the dome. But oh... scaffolding.
It was a huge challenge to try to fit the majestic cathedral into my camera lens, let alone try to fit people in. But there were benches in front of the dome, void of people after a short shower of rain. So uhh, we helped ourselves.
The Florence Baptistry is also within the cathedral complex of the Duomo, but alas, it was undergoing renovations. The Duomo, Florence Baptistry and Giotto's bell tower are all in one complex and recognised as a Unesco Heritage site.
Loving how all the construction companies in the Italian cities take great pains to replicate the design of the building on the scaffolding, then screw it up with an ad billboard -_-
Fortunately the Baptistery doors are still visible. This is part of the bronze South doors by Andrea Pisano.
The East Doors, also known as Gates of Paradise (nicknamed by Michelangelo), by Lorenzo Ghiberti.
Other buildings at the Piazza di San Giovanni near the Duomo:
The Loggia Del Bigallo. a Gothic structure with a small museum, but we didn't go in.
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