Santa Croce was our destination this morning. This Franciscan church holds “name bragging rights” as the site of Michelangelo’s, Machiavelli’s, Gallileo’s and Dante’s tombs, amongst other famous Italian glitterati of the past.

The church itself is immense — funded by the Medici and with chapels furnished by some of the most important families of the Florentine renaissance including the Bardi and the Baroncelli with fresco cycles by Giotto and Taddeo Gaddi.

The Museum of Santa Croce is especially interesting, with frescoes, sculpture and panel paintings by the likes of Cimabue, Bronzino, Allori and others. The Pazzi Chapel in the corner of the cloister, designed by Brunellschi, is a haven of visual harmony (only slightly disturbed by the nearly ear-splitting noise of workers hammering inside!)

After the museum, the students set up outside in the piazza to work on their drawings and water colors. They were instructed to try something new — a different angle, a new palatte — to build on their previous work.

Our plan to go to Lucca tomorrow for the Feast of the Holy Face (two days worth of activity around the veneration of a wooden crucifix with the unusual image of Christ with eyes open) was thwarted by a railway strike.

A rainstorm, complete with hail, arrived in the late afternoon and brought the temperatures down considerably. Whoo hoo!

We had a social hour in our studio with pizza from La Mangiatoia in the early evening. Some students braved the rain to go out a little bit in the evening.

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