Episode Fifty Eight – Farewell to Florence

I’m beginning to notice a pattern here: the further behind I get in writing my blog, the more random thoughts I come up with and just have to write about immediately. I have ideas for posts on a whole range of subjects, not least on languages which I’m becoming more and more enthusiastic about as time wears on; but for now I think I’ll hold them back.

I expect this was an old guard tower from the former city walls.

As a fundamentally creative person, there is little more difficult for me than suppressing the desire to write about those thoughts that periodically surface in my brain; but in the long run, here’s something to think about. What if I finally finished telling you all about my recent adventures in France, Italy, Luxembourg, Switzerland? What if I put those “revelations” to one side for now? (I use inverted commas because I have a sneaking suspicion they are less the spontaneous changes implied by such a word than long and gradual changes that have led up to a moment where I’ve simply translated it into brainwaves). I’m sure they’ll still be there when I’m done, and I’m sure there are plenty more where they came from.

Florence is a relatively small city, but its concentration makes it vast in its territory.

But I always just feel as though I’m ‘behind’ in telling you about things, and maybe if I weren’t then I would be able to spontaneously post actual current events instead of keeping you all a month behind the times. What if I posted all the notes I have on Florence and Rome, got on to Grant’s visit and finally brought this thing up to date?

I was so taken by the way the houses and their people seemed to have crowded in over the centuries just to be near Florence.

Well, I don’t want you to think I’m lazy on the writing side of the blog, but at the same time, I’m no poet: my words couldn’t explain to you what the view was like from the Piazzale Michelangelo. Luckily, my camera is far more capable in this respect than I am, so I’ve been integrating the photos I took from up there into this post as I go; until now, the photos of the view itself, and from here on, photos which I feel evoke the character of the day we spent just playing with our cameras and enjoying the Italian surroundings and the feeling of elation that came with the experience.

It was strange wandering around a graveyard in the blazing sun: strange but beautiful.

Florence’s museums are closed on Mondays, which had a freeing effect on our schedule that day. With no formal events to organise, we meandered between the weddings on the hill and snapped away, chatted over another bread-and-cheese picnic, bought Italian pashminas for 5€… the usual. Sitting up there on high, looking down at a city so Tuscan it blended seamlessly with the olive-tree countryside even for a first-timer like me, I had a strange moment of appreciation and acceptance that if, at the age of twenty, my eyes had already experienced the most perfect combination of points of light and colour possible, I would not die disappointed.

I think this was the Santo Mario church: there were several up on the hill.

Beautiful, it was.

Nicole and I had a grand old time with the typical touristy self-portraits.

We spent the best part of the day up there, unpressured, in awe, before reluctantly descending back into the view, from where the view was hidden. A reminiscent pizza with Nicole’s high school friend concluded another very differently perfect day, and an eye-opening visit to Florence, before we went to bed and prepared to say our goodbyes the following morning.

During our explorations, I discovered a 'Film Grain' mode on my camera.

The Uffizi Gallery opens at 8:15 am on Tuesdays: we were up and out of the hostel by 7:40 that morning, ready to devote a good couple of hours to the museum before our departure by bus later that morning. This is where I reveal a dirty little secret of mine: old art doesn’t really move me. I’m much more drawn to more enigmatic pieces that really challenge me to see something: I’m not saying there is less complexity to more classical art, only that I don’t feel forced to find it since there’s already a pretty image in front of me, and without formal study I feel incapable of doing so. Consequently, for me the Uffizi visit amounted more or less to the humbling experience of viewing Botticelli’s ‘The Birth of Venus’ (which I did know enough about to be wowed), Caravaggio’s distressing but powerful decapitation scene (which I didn’t know anything about, as illustrated by my careful evasion of any attempt to name it), and some others I didn’t recognise but which caught my interest and I’m sure somehow contributed to my general feelings towards art as a whole.

I turned my head and this popped out of nowhere. Italy can be like that.

The gallery taught me that, even though it’s possible for the Italian Renaissance to not be your ‘cup of tea’, things like the Uffizi really are unmissable; also that Italy needs to design its museums better because we wasted a good 15 minutes trying to find the darn exit, almost costing us our bus to Rome.

And what a pity that would have been because, as you’ll see, Rome was fantastic as well.

Our goodbye to Florence was a sad affair; but we were already anticipating the wonders that awaited us in Rome.

Happy Hump Day, everyone!





Filed under France

6 responses to “Episode Fifty Eight – Farewell to Florence

  1. Florence is definitely a favorite city of mine. Did you get to Sienna? Another city “so Tuscan…” (lovely line!)

  2. Sounds like a great day! And awesome that you actually made it into the Uffizi! (we never did.) I’m sure the Rome pictures will be gorgeous too! :D :D :D

  3. This post makes me want to go back to Florence! :-)

    Did you get to go to the big street market? That place is full of interesting trinkets and people!

    • We did, yes! I only just noticed that I’d barely mentioned it before, but if you’re talking about the same market as I am (I think it’s the ‘main’ one), I did and it was fantastic! There was a magician who totally perplexed me with his ring-and-chain trick: when I finish that video montage I think I might buy myself a WP video upgrade and show you. (Of course, finishing the video montage would also require starting the video montage, which I have not done :S)

      Thanks for your comment! Visiting Florence made me want to LIVE in Florence.

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