Don’t Forget to Look Up: Ceilings in Florence

It is easy to walk through Florence without looking up – too many famous sculptures and paintings, too many chic items in the shop windows, too many wonky cobblestones ready to turn your ankle, too many tourist groups to pass. But do stop and look up. Looking up is worth the effort and holds rewards here in Florence – the ceilings are sometimes as enchanting if not more so than everything else closer to the ground.

Since many museums are in sometimes very grand palazzi, the ceilings in museums are especially worth a look. One perfect example is the Museo del Bargello in Florence. It houses sculptures (for example Michelangelo’s Bacchus as well as Donatello’s David), china, weapons, and also religious icons. And the sculptures are impressive, but the ceilings are also noteworthy I find:

The Museo Stefano Bardini is not the most famous museum Florence has to offer and has an interesting mix of items from sculptures, to columns, to carpets, to religious icons, but it also features fascinating ceilings since it is also housed in a palazzo:

Of course, churches always offer impressive ceilings:

San Miniato al Monte

Interior of San Miniato al Monte

But the motto of always looking up also applies outdoors:

Loggia dei Lanzi

Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence

Even in the classrooms where I teach, the ceiling surprised me (and I think back to the white dropped ceiling tiles common in American office buildings and shudder – after all, a fresco in an office seems perfectly normal):

Even a meal or aperitivo in a restaurant or bar means a ceiling worth looking up to:

The famous sculptures and paintings I expected of Florence, but the gorgeous and varied ceilings were a nice surprise.