November 21, 2005

11.23.05-- The Best Day!

What a wonderful day I've had! I was awakened at 8:30 to breakfast in my room which included the best cappuccino I've had so far! I then meandered down to the Uffizzi-- the home of many of Florence's Renaissance paintings. I thoroughly enjoyed the walk down because the city is so easy to navigate. One only needs to have an idea of where to go and it's easy enough to find. The Uffizi was actually quite boring. The art was no different than anything else I've seen in my travels. The Boticellis were neat-- especially Primavera-- but overall it was just another museum. I almost found it a bit pretentious-- the galleries often had names like "Sala di Michaelangelo" but there would be 40 paintings in the room and only one by M.A. Hey, I'm all for flaunting it if ya got it, but ya don't really got it so much if you've only got 1 painting by the guy... After the Uffizi, I decided it was time to go to Prada. After Prada, I had a mission to carry out. My friend Marie from work lived in Firenze for many years and has a very good friend here, Carmela. Marie asked me to bring Carmela a few things from the states. I was happy to oblige. Carmela and her husband, Pino, own a hotel on Via Guelfa. I wandered over to the hotel and chatted with Carmela and another of her American friends for a bit. She was fun, very Boston, and she invited me to dinner tonight. I'm excited, cause she said Pino's a great chef! After Carmela's, I went to the Duomo. I expected more out of this lovely Cathedral. The outside is a mosaic of colorful tiles and marble. The inside is quite similar, with the addition of a few paintings. The only truly noteworthy part of the Duomo is the ceiling of the altar. Painted in scenes with angels, martyrs, Jesus, Mary, the apostles and I'm sure many more important people, it was stunning. To really capture the whole scene, you must turn around and around and around as you view further up the domed ceiling. It's really intricately drawn as to capture the attention. (I wonder if Priests ever looked up while leading a mass and got lost? "Holy, Holy.., Holy... wait, where was I??) Before I left the Duomo, I decided it was time to bring my family to Italy. Because this cathedral is directly across from my Inn, I decided to light candles in this church for Papa and Uncle Ray. I said a small prayer, and told them that though neither was here on Earth, I know that they're both watching over me on this journey and protecting me. Especially Papa. Uncle Ray's probably pissed that I haven't done some Sambuca shots yet... Standing there with the flickering candles, it didn't seem quite as cheesy as it does writing it now, but cheesy or not, I know it was something I needed to do. After leaving the Duomo, I walked to into the building next to it, which I thought was more Michaelangelo works. Yeah, not so much... 414 steps later (yes, that's an exact count) I was at the top of the Duomo's Bell Tower, overlooking ALL of Florence. Oh, the views!! The breathtaking views! I had climbed the stairs behind an asian couple who were aparently NOT from Japan (I tried saying "moshi moshi" and they looked at me like I had 17 heads...) She took my picture and I took theirs. [I later accidentally erased my picture on the night train back to Venice. Oh well, just take my word for it, I was up there.] Then I took some nice American lady's picture. I tried to take pictures of the view, but at that moment my camera died. What a time to lose the ability to capture an image! For miles, all I could see were red tile roofs and the terra cotta apartments. The hills surrounding the city were a lucious green, filled with tall, thin, compact pines, green, bright grass, and bright white homes, a la Tuscany. The steeples from the churches stood tall and proud and seemed to rise to meet these hillside homes. It was windy and cold, but exceptionally lovely from up above the city. And, though my camera wasn't able to capture it, I will be able to share these images! At the bell tower, there was a girl taking pics by herself. I asked her if she wanted me to take her picture, which started a long conversation about whether there was really even a point in taking a pic up there since wire encased the balcony. (I believed there was, she didn't.) She was travelling alone, too. Her name was Leslie and when I told her about my camera issues, she offered to e-mail me her pics. So nice!! From Quebec, she's been traveling through Europe for about 2 months before she goes to Paris next week to begin teaching conversational English for teachers. We continued chatting as we made our way back down all 400 steps, during which time we both learned the other had been unimpressed with the Uffizi. She was on her way to a little pottery shop she'd spotted yesterday, and so, she asked me to come along. With nothing to do until my appointment at the Academia, I gladly joined her.

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