Baroque Pearls From Italy
Cordoned off from the burgeoning crowds of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, is the octagonal Tribuna; a "treasure house" designed by Bernardo Buontalenti in1584 at the bequest of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Francesco1de'Medici. Considered the first museum of Europe, it was created to house the precious jewels, paintings, furniturnishings and ancient sculptures of the Medici. The four elements are represented in the design by an intricately inlaid marble floor, symbolizing Earth, the walls upholstered in red velvet for Fire, the "rose of the wind" (compass) on the top of the lantern for Air and last but not least the huge nacre dome, pictured, created with 6000 mother of pearl shells - symbolizing Water. This "Room of Wonders" enchanted and inspired the great thinkers, leaders and artists of the Renaissance and now delights the throngs of us today.