Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Florence: Day one

Our hostel in Rome

Hello to all:
 By the time we left Rome I felt as if I had been there for a month.  It was sad to leave.  But we left knowing we had done Roma. We took a train to Florence and got here yesterday afternoon.

On the train riding through Tuscany

  We were looking for our guesthouse on Fra Bartolomeo.  It was the Michelangelo Studio (everything here is the Michelangelo this or that).  We were across the street when I found the building number.  I walked up to the door wondering which button to push when a voice came out of the wall and said, "Zecond floor,"  and the door buzzed.

I wasn't sure who the voice was talking to, so I just stood there when the voice said, "Zecond floor," and buzzed the door again. 

 This time I opened the door and walked three flights up stairs to meet the man behind the voice. He was an elderly gentleman. He beckoned me to come inside but I told him that I had to tell my friends.  He said, "Zey are comink.  Zey must uza this."

He pushed a button on a cage that went down to the bottom floor.  It came up again with Lisa and Derek and the luggage inside.  Ethan had climbed up the stairs.  This elevator was so small and narrow that Lisa and Derek had to stand sideways to fit in it. 

I refuse to use it but Derek gets in it every time.

Lisa later told me that they were standing on the other side of the street when the man called to them from the window to come up.

We all wondered how he knew who we were.  He is very nice and, according to Lisa, makes a killer cappuccino.  He made her two this morning and tried to persuade her to have a third but she demurred.  I didn't have one because I went to the supermarket and bought three meals worth of food for the price of a couple of breakfasts here.  I would like to try one of his cappucino's, though.

Derek and Lisa's son, Ethan, tower over a European car.

The best restaurant we've been to so far is a hole in the wall around the corner from our room.  Last night I had the Penne Deco which was incredible and twice as much as I needed (I ate it all anyway) and today I had the Linguine alla finghi e porcine (linguini with mushrooms and pork).  Fantastic.

 Perseus with the head of Medusa in the Loggia del Lanzi in the Pilazzo de Signoria in Florence.  This was an outdoor museum with a number of famous statues.

I have been indulging in a totally carb diet here and am swimming in my clothes because we walk 7 or 8 hours a day. 

The Rape of the Sabine
 Woman at the Palazzo

Back then "rape" meant literally "raptio" "to abduct".  The history is the Romans kidnapped the Sabine women after their king refused to give them women to marry.  The Romans then took the women anyway, but offered them full status as the wife of Roman citizens.

Today we went to the Academia Galleria.  It has mainly medieval art and the David, plus several unfinished sculptures by Michelangelo as well.  It didn't take an hour to see the entire museum, which was disappointing. Mostly a lot of beautiful medieval art and David.  At least we saw the David.  I think maybe the Vatican spoiled us.

We were not allowed to use our cameras in the Academia so I can't show any photos.  However, Michelangelo's David (of David and Goliath fame) is easily accessible on the internet.)

Portrait artist near Amo river in Florence

I could have stared at the David for hours.  I did look at it for several minutes, walking all around it a few times.  There's so much to notice.  The muscles, the veins, his hair.  Even his feet and nails.  Each angle made the statue look different.  And...not that I was looking that hard....but I noticed that the model for Michelangelo's awesome statue...well....he wasn't REALLY Jewish.  

    Did you know that Michelangelo created David out of a block of rejected marble?  Anyway, after all these years I'm glad to finally get to see it.

The following photos are of the Basilica di Santa Maria del fiori which means St. Mary of the Flower

View of Florence out of  the bell tower of the Basilica

We also went to the Basilica di Santa Maria di Fiori, which is a gigantic church.  We climbed up the bell tower and walked around the inside which was huge.  Also walked across the famous bridge.

As we were passing through the Piazza della Signoria a huge procession was taking place.  

Men all dressed up in medieval costume with horns and drums.  Very solemn.  I wondered what was going on.  The procession lasted a long time.  Who was coming?  The pope?  A cardinal?  A bishop?

No!  Four soccer teams getting ready to play tonight.  They came at the end of the procession. 

Some of them were friendly, taking time to stop and kiss some of the younger, prettier women in the crowd before continuing the march through the square.

Tomorrow, Lisa and Ethan are taking a motorcycle tour through Tuscany and Derek and I are remaining to walk around Florence to see whatever interests us.
Take care to all!


Brian Joseph said...

More incredible pictures Sharon!

It seems like you have a nice chunk of time to to really explore which is nice. That really is the best way to travel.

Sharon Wilfong said...

Thanks, Brian. I just got a new computer, a Mac, and it took twice as long to figure out how to download everything. It also seems that my blog isn't publishing to my e mail list. Lots of stuff to figure out. Take care!