Buongiorno from Arezzo! This is our last full day in Arezzo; we are leaving tomorrow for Rome. On Tuesday, most of us will fly back to the United States, though some are continuing their travels in Europe. The first three days after my last post here were the most exciting, because we commuted to Florence on each of those days. On the first day, we visited the Galileo Museum of Science and Il Duomo, the cathedral of Florence. We walked in the rain to get to the museum. This was unfortunate because I, when I had looked at the weather that morning, had seen that the rain wasn’t supposed to start until we were at the museum. With this in mind, I left my rain jacket at the hotel so that I wouldn’t have to carry it. Alas, it began raining early, and I got wet. On the bright side, I dried off quite nicely. The museum tour was very nice. The highlights were a gigantic armillary sphere and a collection of historical maps. Afterwards, we broke into smaller groups to find lunch, then met outside Il Duomo to tour the cathedral and accompanying baptistery. Obviously, the most impressive feature here was Brunelleschi’s dome. Many members of the group went to the lantern at the top of the dome. I made it part way up, but fear got the better of me when I made it to the first balcony overlooking the interior of the cathedral. On the next day, we visited the GE Oil and Gas Nuovo Pignone facility. The facility was very impressive and clearly represented the sum of a great deal of ingenuity and effort. On the third day, we visited the Opificio delle pietre dure (or, workshop of semi-precious stones), a leading center for art restoration; the Academia which holds, among other works, Michelangelo’s David; and the Uffizi, which has one of the world’s leading collections of Renaissance art. At the Opificio, we learned about some of the methods used in art restoration. For example, when restoring a painting the restorer might use a cross hatched pattern of fine brush strokes to allow later restorers to determine the original work from the restoration, while still maintaining the appearance of the original work when viewed from a distance. The Academia was, as sites containing notable works of art tend to be, packed with people. The Uffizi, however, was much more tightly packed with people, probably because it had many more notable works of art. It was also vast, and filled with stairs. Another notable feature of our third visit to Florence, is that there was a train strike during the majority of the day. This meant that we had to take a bus to Florence, and return on a later train than we had in the past. On Thursday and Friday, I primarily worked on classwork (we have three projects to complete for this study abroad class, the first two are done and the third is due about two weeks after returning to the US) and on Saturday, I attended class in the morning, and didn’t do much for the remainder of the day.

The armillary sphere in the Galileo History of Science Museum.
The armillary sphere in the Galileo History of Science Museum.
The exterior of Brunelleschi's dome, as seen from a nearby area.
The exterior of Brunelleschi’s dome, as seen from a nearby area.
The exterior of Brunelleschi's dome, as seen from the Uffizi.
The exterior of Brunelleschi’s dome, as seen from the Uffizi.

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