Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
By: Dr. Bruce Helming
Our last day outside Florence was intended as a rest prior to back-to-back games and a very busy three days in Rome. A small group of us took the morning to return to Florence and do some more sight-seeing and shopping.
I took the opportunity to go to the top of the Duomo. While waiting in line I chatted with a very nice family from Tennessee, and we swapped travel hints since they were going to Venice and had just come from Rome. The climb up is impressive, over 400 steps, in twisting spirals and staircases. The design of the dome in the cathedral was revolutionary at the time, with a dome inside a dome that is largely self-supporting and completed in 1465 by Brunelleschi.
The interior is covered by Vasari’s vast fresco, and as you walk across a walkway inside the dome you find yourself just a few feet below the beautiful images and hundreds of feet above the floor. Another climb up narrow passages and stairwells leads to the incredible Florentine panorama of hills, churches and rooftops. The time and effort of the climb are powerful reminders of the amount of work and engineering that went into the construction of these incredible churches.
Lunch in Montecatini was another fine Italian four-course meal, and we even had a brief thunderstorm to remind us of Tucson’s summer storms before heading off to Rome and our evening game. The game itself was in a hillside gymnasium near the scenic cathedral of Orvieto, and we had a few exciting moments getting our tour bus up the switchbacks and through the small town on single lane roads. On our drive we found out that coach June Daugherty from Washington State had been hospitalized, and our thoughts are with her. We arrived in Rome late at night, ready for a rest and more of beautiful Italy.