Emily and I were up early and accompanied Ben in the taxi to the airport and waited while he checked in to send him off with tearful hugs as he went to security. It was really wonderful having him here for almost 2 weeks, but in many ways, it was exhausting for me. I am very used to riding a lot, and am probably relatively addicted to it, so with a fraction of my normal riding time, it was at times a struggle to maintain my normal attitude. Also, we enjoyed many meals out, eating lots and lots of excellent food, a fair amount of wine, and that catches up with me these days. So, after we saw him off and returned home, the weather was cold with showers, so Emily and I went into the center to use the remainder of the 24 hour ticket that they had bought yesterday to climb to the top of the Duomo cupola. We were able to see Santa Reparata and the Baptistery, as you can see below. I also was able to replace my bedside clock that Vittorio had sort of destroyed while visiting 4 or 5 days ago.
It has been getting kind of cold, and I was pretty chilled after my last ride. Today, I decided on a shorter ride and kept to roads that were a little lower down, but was still able to get in quite a bit of climbing while staying close to home. I also suited up in my warmest clothes, and if anything, I was a little overheated. I enjoyed the ride up to San Domenico, over through Maiano to the Vincigliata climb, then down to Florence through Fiesole. 21.2 kilometers in 1:10 to average a slow 18.2 kph with 514 meters of climbing. Good to be back on the bike.
The amazing mosaic on the ceiling of the Baptistery here in Florence. Stories encircle the ceiling and the baptistery font is directly below the center. It is covered now, but you can easily imagine it when it was filled with water for the baptisms. We also visited the excavated remains of Santa Reparata under the Duomo. I don't think I have been there in over 10 years, and it is fantastic now. Lots of didactics, models, videos, etc. to explain where Santa Reparata was, the Roman building that preceded it, and when and how it was demolished as the current structure of the Duomo was built. Really interesting and just a great job of presentation.