Saturday, March 25, 2017
Pilgrimage to Florence, Italy
That's "Good Day" in Italian! Steve and I are in the midst of a week in Florence. Why? Well ... it's all Sims Patton's fault. She wanted to spend her spring break from Clemson University in Italy. Her mother, Dolly, is our best friend ... the wonderful person who watches our cat Max when we travel. Dolly asked Steve to keep a look-out for affordable airline tickets. Early on Thanksgiving week, Steve found them and couldn't help himself. He booked Dolly and Sims early in the week to Rome; he booked us mid-week to Florence. Truly, the price was amazing, impossible to resist! Dolly and Sims spent half their week in Rome and then traveled for a couple days to Florence ... where we met them on our first day for an extravagant lunch near the Bargello Museum.
Since that lunch, Steve and I have been going full force. Of course we are! This is Florence1 To do Florence properly, one needs more than a week. I know! For me, this is a pilgrimage. The last time I visited was during the summer of 1980. I had just graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in Medieval and Renaissance Studies (concentrating on early Italian Renaissance art). I turned twenty-one years old en route to Florence (in Padua ... at Giotto's Arena Chapel ... truly a profound, spiritual, and ever so memorable experience.) I still have my 1963 art history guide book and the very detailed journal I kept during the trip. Steve, however, had never been to Florence. Sure ... we once went "to Italy" in 2003 but I insisted that we NOT drive into Florence for a mere afternoon. Florence can't be done in a day ... or even the week we now have ... but I'm giving it my best effort. We are up and at ticket counters (using our Firenze passes) before the typical 8:15 tourist opening hours. We are going hard until everything closes.
Thus far, we've visited The Palazzo Vecchio, including the tower, the Museo Nazionale del Bargello, San Lorenzo, San Miniato at Monte and the historic cemetery, Piazzale Michelangelo, Santa Maria Novella, Santissima Annuniziata, Santa Maria del Fiore (the Duomo) ... including the cupola tour, the archeological remains of the prior structure, the museum, the Baptistry, Giotto's campanile (bell tower) ... and the church itself (all separate tickets!!!), The Chappelle Medicee, the Galleria Dell'Accadmia, the Museo di San Marco, the Ognissanti Church, and walked through too many gorgeous public squares to list.
Please don't get me wrong! Although I'm dragging Steve to all my most beloved haunts from thirty-seven years ago, we are having FUN! Steve posed for me ...
... and I posed for him beside the bronze wild boar. Why? Well, on the Chinese astrological chart, I'm a boar. Don't we look alike? LOL! Steve and I have a full agenda for tomorrow which is before our three-day Firenze card expires. We have other locations to visit on Monday and Tuesday before heading home.
Because it is already late here in Florence, I had to select just a few of the over 800 images I've already shot for this blog post. Thus, below are some of the images from the past three days with brief captions. We'll be up early tomorrow for the Uffizi, Santa Croce, and to see Bill Viola's installation/video exhibition at the Palazzo Strozzi ... before Orsanmichele and the Pitti Palace on Monday. When I return, I'll blog more images ... as I'm obsessed with graffiti, doorways, and unusual details. Enjoy the rest of this post!
Much has changed since the eight or nine days I spent in Florence in 1980. The Duomo Museum is unbelievable! Totally new and an architectural masterpiece to rival the Duomo itself! It was wonderful to see Lorenzo Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise in a protective, conserved state ... up close ... personal and with school groups studying them while guides explained the Biblical stories and Renaissance achievements!
(Above: Patina on a bronze angel at the cemetery near San Miniato.)
On our first day in Florence, we walked up the steep hill to see the city from Piazzala Michelangelo. We also went to vespers at the nearby San Miniato del Monte which is beside a gorgeous cemetery. Yes ... we will return here on Tuesday as I didn't have enough time in this fabulous final resting place.
I am also inspired by the many craft media traditionally associated with the city. From marbleized paper to fine leather goods, artisans are at work everywhere. One turn down a less traveled street brought us into a furniture restoration workshop ...
... with people working late into the evening ... like professional artists everywhere. Like me, these hard working creatives are struggling to make a living ... and living to work their magic!
Well ... tomorrow the Uffizi calls. I can hardly wait. My very favorite painting ever is there. Gentile da Fabriano's Adoration of the Magi, the height of the International Gothic period (and the fabrics depicted are as fabulous as the many pieces of liturgical textiles I saw today ... for real!) I look forward to posting more photos when I return or perhaps from our last evening here in Florence!
Posted by Susan Lenz at 4:42 PM