August 04, 2014

Dan Brown's Inferno: More Florence in Photos

My trip to Italy last month took me back to Florence and Venice, two major locations in Dan Brown's novel, Inferno. Earlier blog posts included photos of some of the sites in Florence and Venice featured in the story but after reading the book, I was eager to visit the sites I hadn't explored before. My first stop was Florence, centre of the Renaissance and birthplace of Dante Alighieri.

The Skyline of Florence

The skyline of Florence is marked by the large red dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, also known as the Duomo, and some towers familiar to readers of Brown's novel: the spire of the Badia, the tower of the Palazzo Vecchio and the Campanile.

The Spire of the Badia

The Crenellated Tower of the Palazzo Vecchio
and the One-Handed Clock

The Campanile, Giotto's Bell Tower

Florence is home to some of the greatest art of the Renaissance period and on my third visit to the city, I finally squeezed in some time to tour the Uffizi Gallery. (My visits to Florence have always been too brief!) Here are some of the paintings referred to by Robert Langdon in InfernoThe Birth of Venus and Allegory of Spring by Sandro Botticelli (two of my personal favourites) and The Annunciation by Leonardo Da Vinci.

The Birth of Venus, Botticelli
Uffizi Gallery

Allegory of Spring, Botticelli
Uffizi Gallery

The Annunciation, Da Vinci
Uffizi Gallery

The Accademia Gallery is where you'll find Michelangelo's sculpture of David.

Accademia Gallery, Florence

Bronze Bust of Michelangelo, Daniele da Volterra

Upon entering the gallery you're first met by Michelangelo's unfinished sculptures, the Prisoners (Prigioni), struggling to free themselves from blocks of Carrara marble. These sculptures were intended for the tomb of Pope Julius II (who commissioned the painting of the Sistine Chapel ceiling).

The Young Prisoner, Michelangelo
Accademia Gallery, Florence

The Bearded Prisoner, Michelangelo
Accademia Gallery, Florence

But there's no doubt who the crowds have come to the Accademia to see. At the far end of the hall beneath a dome in an alcove stands what may be Michelangelo's most famous work of all, that example of Renaissance perfection, David. And he does not disappoint.

David, Michelangelo
Accademia Gallery, Florence

A replica now stands in the sculpture's original location in front of the entrance to the Palazzo Vecchio on Piazza della Signoria.

Copy of David on Piazza della Signoria

Why is Inferno set in the city of Florence? The plot evolves from The Divine Comedy, an epic poem written by Florentine Dante Aleghieri in the 14th century and Dante's presence is still seen around the city today. This statue stands on the steps of Santa Croce, one of the oldest churches in Florence and where Michelangelo is buried.

Statue of Dante Alighieri
Piazza Santa Croce

Santa Croce Church

The Ponte Vecchio, Florence's most famous bridge, is an important location in the novel. In 1565, the powerful Medici family added the Vasari Corridor, a protected elevated passageway over the top of the bridge that connected the Pitti Palace on one side of the Arno River with their offices in the Palazzo Vecchio on the other.

The Ponte Vecchio, Florence

The Vasari Corridor Connecting with the Uffizi Gallery

The Vasari Corridor Over the Ponte Vecchio

Viewing Portals in the Vasari Corridor

Gold Shop on the Ponte Vecchio

Arno River View from the Ponte Vecchio

Another key location in the novel is the Baptistery of San Giovanni, which sits across from the entrance to the Duomo. The exterior of the building is currently undergoing restoration work (expected completion in 2015) but despite the scaffolding, visitors can still see the "Gates of Paradise", the Baptistery's famous doors. The interior is not affected by the work.

The Baptistery of San Giovanni, Florence

The Baptismal Font

Tomb of Antipope John XXIII

The Altar

Upon entering the Baptistery your attention is immediately drawn to the Byzantine-style mosaic ceiling made of Venetian glass tiles. The gruesome scenes depicted in The Last Judgement may have influenced the writings of Dante, who was baptized here.

The Last Judgement on the Baptistery Ceiling

The Figure of Christ

The Fate of the Damned

Detail of Satan

Related Posts:
Dan Brown's Inferno: Florence in Photos
The Palazzo Vecchio, Florence
Dan Brown's Inferno: Venice in Photos
Dan Brown's Inferno: More Venice in Photos
Dan Brown's Inferno: The Art

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