Florence is really the mecca for museum goers.  We  have been trying to pace ourselves because too much at one time is not fun.  After awhile you forget what you have just seen.  We just had one more museum on our Friends of Uffizi card to see before the card expires December 31.  So we set out this morning to get that done.  It is the San Marco Museum which features two important people of the Renaissance – Fra Angelico‘s radiant paintings and Savonarola‘s moral reforms, fusing medieval faith with modern reforms.  In 1439, Cosimo the Elder hired the architect Michelozzo to build this monastery, and invited Fra Angelico’s Dominican community to move here from Fiesole.  Fra Angelico became prior (head monk) and quickly began decorating the monastery walls with frescoes.  The monks that lived here – including Fra Angelico, Savonarola, and Fra Bartolomeo – renounced money, sex, ego, and pop music to follow a simple life meditating on Christ’s ultimate sacrifice.  Fra Angelico considered painting to be a form of prayer and most of the paintings and frescoes we saw today are by him.  The monastery living quarters with cells of the monks that lived there all have a fresco painted by Fra Angelico.  Fra Bartolomeo was a generation later than the “Angelic” brother.  He did a portrait of Savonarola which I took a picture of.  Savonarola was quite an historic figure here in Florence.  The Medici family was thrown from power by this austere monk, who made Florence a constitutional republic.  He organized huge rallies lit by roaring bonfires on the Piazza della Signoria where he preached. While children sang hymns the devout would bring their rich “vanities” and throw them in the flames.  But not everyone wanted a return to the medieval past.  Encouraged by the pope, the Florentines fought back and arrested Savonarola and burned him on the same spot where his followers had built bonfires of the vanities in the year 1498.  We were able to see the cell Savonarola occupied and some of his belongings.  A really interesting time in history!  While we were in the area we went over to take a look at Michelangelo’s David again.  This time I got some excellent shots with Bruce protecting me from the photo Nazi’s.  Close by was a piazza we had never seen so we detoured over there before we walked back through the Duomo Piazza on our way back to the apartment after a late lunch/early dinner.

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