Wednesday, May 13, 2009
florence-land of a billion plasic davids
i have come to the conclusion that there are just to many churches, ruins, and museums in europe for me to a. afford to go to b.be able to be interested in and c.count. therefore my new strategy is to just go to the ones that i really feel i need to visit and just appreciate all the beautiful city, landscape and architecture i can from the outside, and all the great free stuff as well, instead of rushing around like a crazy headless chicken trying desperatly to cross everything off some sort of list of 'all the things one should do' in any given city/country. it is just to harrowing, i am here for too long and seeing too many cities and i cannot stand it at this point. they sort of pass by you and your eyes glaze and it isn't good to waste money on something you will not appreciate. not when it is a choice between that and a mean for sure.
so while in florence i narrowed it down and decided that i needed to see the inside of the duomo rather than the maria del fiore church to which it is attached, and that a visit to the galleria degli uffizi was also a nessicary trip, all full of sculpture and rubens and botteceli and durer and other glorious things. but when i arrived i found an alarmingly lengthy and disorginized line which i placed myself, and after about forty minutes of waiting i was finally in view of the sign instructing people that the wait would not exceed two hours. really?!!!! but i had some good music on the ipod and the line was in the shade and i really wanted to see those rubens so i waited my turn paciently and even relinquished my almost new water bottle at the door (what am i gonna do, throw water on the paintings?) and then the gallery twisted around and had tons of steps and no where to go and NO signs and i got in trouble going through a door i apparently wasn't supposed to but there was a sign next to it with an arrow and so what was i supposed to think. and when i finally go to the main floor where most of the galleries were i discovered that both the rubens and durer rooms were closed for renovations, and upon arriving in the botticelli galleries there were such large and constant crowds around the famous venus arriving via half a shell that it was almost impossible to get a good look at it. the pushing and shoving was rather extreem. like life depended on standing in front of some paint on some canvas and looking at it and saying, i saw that. weird. over all i think i am getting a bit jaded about marble statues of gods and amazons, and byzantine-and-beyone madonna and child tryptics full of worried eyes and profile halos. it is getting repedative. i do LOVE the gold leafing though. can't get enough of that.
most of the rest of the day i wandered the streets of florence, just admiring the buildings all in ochre and saffron (makes me hungry just thinking of it) smelling all that glorious italian 'p' food trifecta (pasta, pizza, panini) in which i cannot indulge, but sampling as many gelaterias as possible, and doing a survey of florance risotto. the four cheese with truffles was the clear winner. cheestastic for sure.
and today was all for the duomo. i spent much of the morning walking around the entire maria del fiore church observing and appreciating it from every possible angle, then paid at the side entrance ( no line ) to climb to the top of the duomo. three hundred steps and change of very tight spirals and marble smoothed by billions of feets struggle upwards in dimly lit graffiti splendor. years of people cataloguing their visit. i began to count max's but gave up when it went over fourty. and there were two places to step out into the balconies running around the painted domes interior, to see the cracks and flaking you were so close, then it was one last desperate sprint with the handrails being completely nessisary, and into the fresh air and sunshine and all of florence spread out below like some sort of map. or puzzle of red roofed buildings all fit together at impossible angles. you could see the tents of the street vendors, the scooters moving about in herds, the scruffy plants growing inbetween the tiles as the roof curved downwards. it was amazing. and i made a spot in the shade and settled myself and drew groups of buildings happily for almost an hour. just enjoying the feeling of the air and the above it all sort of location, and the school children on organized holiday filtered away and it was just me with this whole place like rug below me. and i thought. i could totally live here, more than any place i have seen in europe, get a flat, and a bike and go to language school and sell little florence paintings on the side of the road. had five people speak to me in italian today, just assuming. hung outside the piazza de' pitti for a while as well, after wandering around the bridges and ponte vecchio, watched the pidgens filling every crack in the stone wall, seeing what shade they could. felt the heat like a blanket settling over and got some gelato for medicinal purposes. not the worse life this.