As an architect, a building isn’t just a building. It is made of angles, curves, various materials and structure. All of these components make the building have a purpose, a function, and a special representation of that public space.
When I visited Florence, Italy over the holidays, I learned to appreciate this concept. Back in 2005, I was a young college student, studying abroad in this lovely city. Upon arrival, we were given a handbook of all of the churches, museums, and historical landmarks one should “not miss”.
I knew I should explore these museums, because you can’t find them anywhere else, and they contain some of the most famous artworks in the world. While I appreciated art (I studied it in college), I never really took the time to study the architecture. I just wanted to say I saw them and then nosh on delicious Italian food.
Seven years later, my husband and I returned. Since working at an architectural firm, I’ve learned just how tedious the process can be, and how an architect must know what they are doing or else the design will not be successful. How else would those famous churches or museums get designed?
During our visit, we visited 7 churches and 1 museum in 7 days, expanding our minds to as many historical priceless artworks and different architectural designs as possible. Of course, I was always thinking about how we would be eating homemade Italian pasta in an hour, but I was actually interested in what we were seeing. Here are some highlights:
One our favorite churches in Florence is Santa Croce. The 19th century style architecture is prominent on the exterior and interior of the church, with cascading archways on both sides of the interior. Beautiful fresco paintings decorate the inside of the church.
Of course, we could not ignore the Duomo, one of Italy’s most famous churches. Proudly located in the hustle and bustle of Florence, the Duomo and Bell Tower overlook the residents and businesses. There’s a reason it’s a tourist magnet. The Dome was designed by architect Brunelleschi, the Church by Arnolfo di Cambio, and the bell tower by Giotto.
Across from the Duomo is a museum, where you can learn about the steps it took to build this magnificent structure. Drawings and models of the Duomo are displayed throughout the museum, which were submitted by hopeful architects, thinking that maybe their design would be chosen.
Like I said earlier, I’m all about the food, especially in a place where the people are just as passionate about their architecture as they are about creating fresh, seasonal food. Our stomachs filled up with cured meats, housemade focaccia bread, lamb ragu, and my favorite, local gelaterias. It took me back to 2005 when I discovered it all for the first time. For me, there is an architectural component to making perfect food – picking the right ingredients, making sure they blend well together, and not rushing the process of cooking. Okay, maybe I’m stretching it a little bit, but as I have learned at Antinozzi Associates (and as those Italians have known for several centuries), it is all about quality.
By Lindsay Sacco