After an amazing night in Florence, the FSP gathered this morning in the Piazza Santissima Annunziata, which was a classicizing portico of the 15th century (built between 1419 – 1425 CE) designed by Brunelleschi. It was a beautiful portico with the familiar interplay between squares and circles, characteristic within the Pantheon and other ancient structures that we studies throughout the term. The blue disks between the arches of the arcade (called rondels) were meant to be empty, but these were filled with pictures of infants wrapped in swaddling clothes. This was because the buildings associated with this Piazza served as an orphanage for abandoned infants, the innocenti, evoking the Biblical story of the “Slaughter of the Innocents.”
In good FSP fashion, we visited the National Museum of Florence at the end of the Piazza. Several of the items were of note. Iron stakes that were actually fire dogs from the Tomb of the Fans (2nd half of the 7th century BCE) from Populonia were amazing to see because they indicated an aristocratic burial; whoever was buried here had the capability to host large feasts and feed many people.
Finally, at the LAST formal day of the FSP, Katelyn got to give her talk on Etruscan granulation techniques, evident on a gold-granulated pin from a 7th century tomb in Marsiliana. Both the sides of the golden beads and their craft in creating this fibula (pin) were spectacular to see firsthand.
We saw several bronze statues: (1) of Minerva of the 3rd century BCE from Arezzo, (2) “Arrigatore” bronze of the 3rd century BCE from Perugia, and (3) the famous Chimaera statue (a lion with a snake and goat emerging from its body) of the early 1st century BCE from Arezzo.
The Amazon Sarcophagus showed Hellenistic painting that could have been sketched by a Renaissance artist or even a modern artist; the painters’ abilities were shown by the preserved figures of soldiers and Amazons! We also saw the Francois Krater of ca. 570 BCE from Chiusi, which had an encyclopedia of Greek myths painted all over the krater, including a centauromacy, the return of Hephaestus, funerary games for Petracolus, the liberation of Athens, and the death of Ajax.
Outside in the garden we visited tombs imported from Etruria including the Tomba Diabolino and a tomb from Volterra. After class, the FSP scattered around the city to eat the famous steak of Florence, go shopping, visit the various museums (including the Ufizzi Gallery), and appreciate the duomo.
It was a bittersweet end of the FSP in beautiful Florence. Time to play, then finish that final paper! Thank you all for following us on this amazing journey. For the last time, Ciao!
Emmanuel J. Kim
Photos by Bridget-Kate (she'll give anyone extra points if they get all the song references in quotations):
“Srgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band.”