Started off the morning with laundry. What?? Where did that mundane bit of business come from? Alas, my clothes do not miraculously stay clean here in Italy, much as I detest hand washing clothes normally. Even that chore is ok over here - it ain't nearly so bad washing clothes when one gets to gaze out the window at the red terra cotta roof tiles and the dome of Santo Spirito - why can't I have this view at home??! Had some breakfast, stopped at the bar for espresso, and then away I went to check out Chiesa di Santa Felicita just literally around the corner. It is one of the oldest in Florence, and although there was not much to see, it was very peaceful and lovely. The altar and side chapels were roped off, so all I could wander was the main section (nave?).
Afterward, across the Ponte Vecchio I went. This time I actually looked in the windows of the jewelry shops. WHOA, check out those prices!! Too much for me to handle. Which was too bad because I saw such a perfect gift for a friend of mine...it was 410 euro. It's the thought that counts, right? So she'll have to be satisfied knowing I was thinking of her...cause all she's getting is the thought of this beautiful piece!
After viewing all that bling, I decided I needed a Ghirlandaio fix, so along to Santa Trinita I went to gaze upon the Sassetti chapel with the Adoration of the Shepherds (I think that is the name of the painting I love in that chapel) and frescoes of the life of St. Francis. Ahhh, I love the Adoration painting! The colours are vibrant, and I get such a kick out of the self portrait - Ghirlandaio painted himself as the "stock" figure who points to the baby Jesus (apparently there is often a figure pointing to the baby Jesus in Renaissance paintings...um, did they think the viewers would get confused over which figure is Jesus?) Anyway, this self portrait figure is pointing to the baby...but only sort of. Really, one hand is pointing toward his own self, and the other is pointing in the direction of Jesus, but more at a garland decoration. As in one hand saying "this is me"...the other hand saying "my name is Ghirlandaio" (aka 'garland') Funny. I love this guy's sense of humour!
I spent over an hour in Santa Trinita - I really love that church. It feels comfortable, personal somehow, plus nothing is roped off so I could wander around to my heart's content...sit in the choir stalls...stand behind the altar...sit in this pew to admire the stunning stained glass window above the high altar...sit in a different pew for another angle of the Sassetti chapel.
Then I just wandered through the market stalls around San Lorenzo. What a sensational feast for the senses these stalls are! An absolute rainbow of silk scarves and pashminas, vibrantly coloured leather purses, Murano glass jewelry, many hued belts and wallets...gorgeous! The sound of vendors luring people in...the sound of customers striving for a better bargain than the vendor is willing to give. The earthy smell of leather, the scent of sweaty tourists (it was HOT today!) I picked up a couple little items, but nothing major. Then I remembered a shop on via Ricasoli where I had seen an item the other day that I wanted to get for my mom, so I wandered off in that direction. Oh first stopped at a rosticciere (sp?) for lunch...penne with salmon and asparagus in a cream sauce. Mmm!! Tasty and cheap too - gotta love these hole in the walls, especially when full of Italians cause that's usually a good sign the food is good and less expensive than the tourist traps. After my shopping, I thought...hmm, what to do in the via Ricasoli area for an hour or so, I wonder? (This is a rhetorical question...for those unfamiliar with Florence, via Ricasoli is home of the Accademia des Belles Artes...which in turn is home to the David.)
Guess where I went?! :) MVH (the daughter formerly known as Miss Ninja, I'll add once more for those who pay attention to these things) told me that she does NOT want to hear of this gross statue...too funny. (Giant naked guy is all her eleven year old eyes saw last summer.) I on the other hand am enraptured of this sculpture.
Oh David...the curve of your thigh makes me sigh!! I don't know what it is about the curve of the lift thigh muscle on this statue, but it is so beautiful...the whole statue is so beautiful. I sat around him for an hour (and by "around", I mean that I keep circling around the benches to sit and stare from this angle, and that angle.) I know there is lots of other art in the Accademia, but I couldn't bring myself to look at anything else today...couldn't tear my eyes off the David until the bells starting ringing for closing time. Reluctantly I leave.
Back to the apartment to sit for a little bit, then out for supper. I saw a trattoria earlier that looked good, so went there - Trattoria Bordino on via Stracciatella just near Santa Felicita. No problem with the seating for one, they were very gracious. Soon they seated a couple beside me, just as I was taking a photo of a lovely glazed terra cotta wall decoration (a replica of a della Robbia piece). So the man offered to take my photo - cool, I have now one photo of me that I did not take myself (have several of that odd angled self-portrait style photo - cause sometimes I just wanted 'proof' I was there!) Anyway, the couple was from Virginia (actually he was from Peru originally), travelling first on business then extended the trip for pleasure. We had a very pleasant conversation and they were thrilled to learn about the chanting at San Miniato...I think they are going there tomorrow. My meal was great too...scallopini with white wine sauce (which was not scallops, but veal), and asparagus with lemon, plus a 1/4 litre of white house wine (for 2 euro, how could I refuse the wine?), a bottle of water, tiramisu (heavenly - was thinking of you, Sara!!) and espresso...all for 22 euro. Pretty good deal, I'm a-thinking. I will surely return another evening.
Oh and I had a gelato somewhere in there...from Gelateria La Carraia, my favourite. Big size too...nocciola, crema, mente...yum!!
Also think I forgot to mention that I went to another concert last night (I think last night...time runs together over here.) WOW, this soprano was incredible. She sang with passion and expression in not just her voice, but her whole body. It was amazing the difference from the first night. I had goosebumps and really got a sense of the emotion that each aria was meant to portray, even though I understood none of the words. Magnifico!!! Brava!!! Worth every cent of the measly 10 euro I paid to get in! There are still a couple more concerts before I head home, so I might go back. Mozart's Magic Flute is one (will be thinking of you again, Sara!!) and Vivaldi's Four Seasons is the other. I might have to go to both because I'm not sure I can choose between them!
Buona sera amici!