At the Duomo in Orvieto

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The Duomo at Orvieto, Italy

 At the Duomo in Orvieto on a fall afternoon, the low sun touches the gold mosaics and pours out a liquid radiance carrying the brilliant red and blue figures, so bright it presses us back as it draws us closer. Later, at night, the piazza is empty and waiting. It will wait long for a truly religious crowd again. The next morning, in shadow, the facade is subdued but still assertive. Policemen and shopkeepers prepare for the tourists, and don't stop to read the facade. Then come the tour groups. The facade mosaics and sculptures offer texts to be read in a size and variety that rebuffs simplicity.