>I wrote this on Thursday, May 11 but was not able to post it due to lack of wi-fi or other internet access that my laptop could access. Sorry this is a bit out of order as a result.

The weather in Florence held steady for our entire 3.5 days there. Every morning, it has been wet and gloomy when we wake up, but by mid-morning, it is sunny and nice (except for Tuesday when it rained in the afternoon). When Dr. P, Future Dr. H (FDH), and I headed toward Il Duomo this morning, it was still gloomy and overcast. We climbed all 463 stairs to the top, which was a spectacular view of Florence. The way down was a bit scarier, as the stairs were quite steep and I have a slight fear of heights. I have some awesome pictures of the stairs, though.

On the way up and down from the top of the dome, there is a diversion inside. You can walk around the top and get a spectacular up close view of the fresco at the top of the dome. As per usual church art, it depicts scenes of heaven and hell. Also as per usual Renaissance church art, the pictures of hell are disturbing beyond belief. One scene depicts two demons, each with a long fiery torch. One demon is using the torch to rape a man, and the other is using a torch to rape a woman. The woman is grabbing another man’s penis as she tries to flee. . I have pictures, which I will post when I get home.
Dr. P noted that this is what happens when people live such repressed lives. I could not agree more. Fanatics are scary.

After our trip to the heights of Il Duomo, we waited in line to see the main floor. As we were waiting, a group of middle-aged and older Asian tourists (I think Japenese, but possibly Korean) got in line behind us. At least originally they were in line behind us, but their leader gestured that they should cut in front of us, so they began pushing their way in front of me. This did not sit well with me, so I tried to block them. When that did not work, I stepped on the backs of their shoes as they walked in front of me. I could tell it was annoying them, so I was pleased. I told FDH and Dr. P that of all the times to have one of my horrible gas attacks, there would be no time like the present. I figured I could directly fart on several of them, possibly burning a hole in the pants of the woman shoving around me. Oh man, that makes me laugh to think about. Unfortunately, I remained gas free the entire time.

When we finally were able to enter Il Duomo, we headed down to a sublevel where some excavations in the 1970s revealed an ancient church below Santa Maria del Fiore (the actual name of the church that Il Duomo is attached to). It was incredible. Large swaths of mosaic tiled floors still existed, as did many older tombs. We also found several exciting relics on displays in two niches. The smaller niche held three shoebox-sized reliquaries, two with bone fragments from several saints. The only one I recognized was St. Bonaventura. The other reliquary had a big chunk of bone from St. Reparata, for whom the ancient church was named. The larger niche had two reliquaries with skulls in them. They were set fairly far back, so I am not sure who they once belonged to.

It was a very pleasant morning. In the early afternoon, we caught a train back to Roma. We will be in Roma until we leave in the morning on the 15th.