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Dante and Michelangelo: Saturday, March 13, 2010

The boys' Saturday in Florence can be summed up with just two names: Dante and Michelangelo. Led by our Florentine guide, Ignazio, we departed the Kraft around 9:30 after a hearty breakfast, and walked east across the center of Florence to the Accademia and Casa Buonarroti, Michelangelo’s “home.”  En route the boys passed the Baptistery and Duomo, Piazza Repubblica and Via Roma—all roads lead to Rome, or in the case of Via Roma, from Rome. 

On arrival at the Accademia on Via Ghibellina, the boys examined Michelangelo’s “incompiuta” slaves with the help of Ignazio, learning first hand how he approached the marble from only one direction, digging in, to “release what is already in the block.” 
Casa Buonarroti was our next stop—three adjacent houses joined—just like Saint David’s!  Two pieces that define the Casa collection: the low relief sculpture, Madonna della Scala (of the stairs), and Battle of the Centaurs—both completed by Michelangelo in his teens—were the focus of our visit.  The first depicts Michelangelo’s study of Donatello, and the second his love of classical art.  The boys also sketched at Casa, choosing between the wooden model fa├žade of San Lorenzo or the River God

Lunch was at Finisterrae, the end of the Earth—unusual name, great food!  Being now content with stomachs full, and having just visited Michelangelo’s home, we moved on to his tomb.  Before entering the Franciscan Santa Croce, the boys heard a little from Ignazio on Dante while standing under his statue in the Piazza.  After exploring the tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli within the walls of Santa Croce, we moved outside to the Pazzi Chapel where the Chamber Singers performed a Gregorian chant—a highlight of the day.  The magnificent sound resonated throughout the sacred space transporting all those listening back to another time.  Incredible!

Following a quick change, the boys were off to sports.  Football, soccer, catch and relaxing in the park on a picture perfect day defined the late afternoon.  All are healthy and happy.  Camaraderie is high. 

On Machiavelli’s tomb are etched the words "TANTO NOMINI NULLUM PAR ELOGIUM." Loosely translated it says: For such a name there are no sufficient words of praise.  I think for many of the boys, these words could easily be used when describing their Italian Study Tour.

Ciao.

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