You come upon it suddenly,
Meandering through the narrow streets,
Past the beige, time-coated buildings,
Turning down the curve of Via de Martelli,
Casually drawing near to the street's end
And then you gasp.
You come upon it unprepared,
Seeing at first only the soaring facade
And the enormity of its tower,
But turning into Piazzo Duomo
You see its length, the immensity of its domes,
And again you gasp.
You come upon it in amazement,
Seeing it as entirely marble, glistening white
With geometric patterns in pink and green,
Embroidered, scrolled, balanced, harmonious,
Exquisite in scope and detail,
And you must admire.
You come to it in awe.
The front is a composition in threes.
Three great doors rise in elegant curves.
Above them are three circles spoked like sunbeams.
Always the one in the centre is highest or largest
And you think you understand.
You come to its details.
There are complex, embroidered patterns in stone,
Colourful paintings above each door, surely in stone,
Lines of sculptured figures in porticoes of blue
And circular inlays glinting with gold
And you feel overwhelmed.
Perhaps later you will walk through the doors
And again feel its power and artistry,
Or you will climb the narrow stairwell
To the dome's dizzying height and power.
Perhaps you may, at some later date, question
To whose glory this buiding was made,
But now, in this first sudden moment
You are overcome by its beauty
And, dimly realising its complex grandeur,
Praise the vision that conceived it,
The capabilities that built it,
The artistry that embellished it,
The materials that adorn it
And you stop, stand still, and stare.
|Front with part of the tower.|
|Front door detail|
|Partial view of dome from baptistry.|
|Detail above side door|