My friend Liz bought a fabulous book for me…Secret Florence, by Niccolo Rinaldi. It is full of interesting details that you might not notice on your wanderings in Florence.
We set off, book in hand, to discover some things we had not seen before. The first secrets were hidden around the Duomo. I never tire of standing in front of this magnificent building.
The beautiful baptistery is under scaffolding at the moment, but the Porta del Paradiso, Gates of Paradise, so named by Michelangelo, is visible. This is where we discovered our first secret. On the left-hand door at the 5th level is a self portrait of Lorenzo Ghiberti, the artist who created the door. Who could blame him for wanting to be part of this magnificent work of art?
The next one is on one of the front doors to the church. On the right of the doorway on the far right of the Duomo’s facade is the blasphemous angel. This naughty angel is giving us the finger. It is said to be a reference to the sodomy that was widespread on the banks of the Arno.
We had trouble finding the next secret high above the Porta Della Mandorla, which leads to the top of the gigantic cupola.
It took a bit of searching, but we finally located the bull looking towards a house opposite. It is said that this was the work of a master mason, who placed the bull there in order to mock a man who was jealous of his young wife.
I wonder how he got away with it.
There are many more secrets to be discovered in Florence. I will bring them to you as I find them. We have a Secret Venice too, thanks Liz.