Thursday, March 7, 2013

Florence: 2005

On our way home from Rome that first week of 2004, I started to plan a trip to Florence for the following year.  No one was more surprised than me when it actually happened very literally 51 weeks later.

We flew into Rome New Year's morning again, stayed there a night and a day, and then we boarded a train for Florence.  Since we felt very familiar with Rome, Florence felt so different to us. Most noticeably, Florence is tiny.  It's a city--certainly not a village or a suburb--but it's a fraction of the size of Rome.  You pull into the train station behind Santa Maria Novella, and you're right there.

Our hotel--a converted home that used to be owned by the Pucci family (i.e., Emilio Pucci).  Our balcony is above the front door.
My "OMG we have a balcony!" face.
View from the balcony by day ...
... and by night.
It meant so much to me to be in Florence at this time because I was so hopped up on Italian classes.  By this point (halfway through my senior year of college), I had taken Italian Civilization I and II (a combo of geography, history, art history, religion, philosophy); Dante's Inferno (OMG: changed my life); several other Italian literature classes; and a semester of art history offered by the Art History department where we spent several weeks focused on the Italian Renaissance.  I was so steeped in all of this stuff, and in my head Florence was the only place to be.  I had memorized hundreds of paintings, sculptures, arches, domes, colonnades, towers, cathedrals, basilicas, and frescoes.  I knew who had made what, when it had been completed, and why it was so important.  I needed to see all of it in person before I forgot any of it.

(Before you ask: Yes.  I have officially forgotten all of it.  It's a tragedy.)

Erin told us we had to have one meal here because they had the best papa al pomodoro soup in the whole city.  Alas, I used to know the whole convoluted political story behind i guelfi ed i ghibellini ... ma non piu'.  Non ricordo.

One of the major drawbacks of APS film: extreme yellow when under fluorescent lights.
During our week in Florence, I saw it all: every painting, sculpture, arch, dome, colonnade, tower, cathedral, basilica, and fresco on which I had been tested.  The problem (for one who is recalling this nearly a decade later)? You're not allowed to take pictures of any of the stuff in the museums ... so it's pretty hard to remember clearly what felt special and why.  But, that's ok: combing through that stuff would've been pretty boring anyway.  (Arguably, this is pretty boring ... so what's the difference ... ?)  We went to nearly every museum the city offers and every hole in the wall church with internationally studied chapels ... we loved every bit of it.  However, by the end of the week (when we finally got around to visiting Michelangelo's "David"--yes, THAT "David"), we finally looked at each other and I said, "I'm sorry. But I can't look at ONE MORE MADONNA. I want to leave this museum right now." And Ron goes, "Me too."  One can only take so much of young women in blue robes.

Mid-day on the Ponte Vecchio
Santa Maria del Fiore (il Duomo)

Rome has the Borghese Musuem and surrounding gardens.  Florence has the Pitti Palace and the surrounding Boboli gardens (which require admission, unlike the Borghese gardens).  The Boboli Gardens are like a miniature Versaille.  In January, they are pretty much empty.

Kathleen: "People do really stupid things in foreign countries." Frank: "Absolutely. They buy leather jackets for far more than they're worth, but they don't fall in love with fascist dictators." (You've Got Mail--1998)

Many people who go to Florence go for the shopping, but you have to have a lot money to really be serious.  The Italians pride themselves on their artisans and craftsmen--when you buy jewelry or gloves or clothing, you're buying art.

I love nothing more than leather gloves, but mine are always from Marshall's.

Good thing I couldn't crochet back then or I would've stuffed my suitcase full of this stuff.

Of course, bread is an art. Ovviomente.

Oh, the bread.

More tomorrow.  And if you're bored--it's ok: I get it.  (But I have nothing else to post, so more Florence stuff tomorrow.)

"This stinks!"

Before I sign off ...

Happy Birthday, kid.  You can't be 25 ... I'm 25.


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