Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Flourishing of Florence

View from on top of the Florence Cathedral Duomo

           Climbing 463 steps up a semi-claustrophobic spiral staircase to the top of the Duomo’s cupola was the last thing I wanted to do after catching an early train to Florence, going on two tours, and eating four slices of pizza, but I did it. Once up, the view was staggering. I couldn’t have imagined such a view if I studied Florence and its cathedral for years. Admittedly, I knew nothing about the Duomo until earlier that day. The dome was designed and engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi after he won a contest for it’s commission, and no one, to this day, knows exactly how it was constructed. The inside is filled with ten-foot tall angels and demons, all immaculately proportioned by renowned artist Giorgio Vasari. From the bottom, inside the colossus Florence cathedral the dome is build upon, it is difficult to accurately understand how wondrous the figures in the dome, and the dome’s architecture itself truly is. To do so, you must climb.
            But in my opinion, the most remarkable feature of this historic place was not the vast, intricate detail in the structure. Neither was the grandeur of it all. The most remarkable part of the Duomo was the weeds I found growing in the cracks of the railing lining the top of the cupola. At least they were the most thought-provoking. These tiny weeds had grown here of all places, on the top of the most prominent feature of Florence, and they had no idea what they were doing. They simply grew. This city had stood the test of time and still came out thriving, just like these plants. I have no idea how they ended up there, hundreds of feet in the air, but I couldn’t help but think of them as a metaphor for Florence itself. A resilient place where life cannot be stopped, continuously growing upon itself despite pressures unimaginable. Everyone and everything here climbs upward and forward. It doesn’t matter what happened previously, or what has happened below. They must climb.
Kaylee Platz-Panico

Weeds growing on top of the Florence Cathedral Duomo

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