I know, I know...I said definitively that I was NOT coming to shop. Oh but I am surrounded by leather in this place...leather belts, leather accessories, leather purses...leather coats. Who can resist? Not I obviously! So now I need to hide from Greenpeace because I am wearing a lambskin jacket. It is so softy-soft and smells good. It is a short, fitted jacket of coffee brown and tan trim. (Coffee brown as in almost black, not that pale milky shade often called "coffee" in decorating-speak.) Er, I also got a purse. What can I say, the jacket was priced at 370 euro and the purse had a tag of 175 euro...I got both for 210 euro, so am thrilled.
Happy to report, no drink invitations last night! Woohoo! (Actually I didn't really mind the other invitations, the men were persistent to be sure, but polite and not at all aggressive...was just surprised to find myself the target of attention.) A man did stop me to ask the time, and then tried to strike a conversation about where was I from, but I just strolled away (feeling a bit rude, I have to say, but oh well.) And in the afternoon while I was sitting in the Loggia writing in my journal, a man was hovering around and kept looking at me, then he sat across from me and seemed to be staring...no doubt just my imagination because of the other attentions, but I closed up my journal and wandered off. Or maybe he was a pickpocket just waiting for me to turn careless (but I keep a very close eye and grip on my bag, sorry dude!)
I did a quick tour of the Uffizi yesterday near closing time...
I had my pass so just slipped right in. I don't know if it was because of the pass, or what, but when I came through the entrance, the guard by the elevator hopped out of his chair, murmering in Italian and waving me over to the elevator (ignoring the few other tourists behind me)...he ushers me in, presses the button and up I go. Special service is ok by me! (Except that this elevator is not for the faint of heart, it bangs and shudders and there was knocking noises behind one of the wood panels...plus it went on forever, my goodness I was starting to wonder if I was in a time warp when the thing slowed to a halt and the doors opened!)
I mostly just floated around to see a few favourites...the 3 huge maestas (Giotto, Cimabue, Duccio) and the Duke and Duchess of Urbino by della Francesco (I think?). On to the Botticelli room where I largely ignored the Botticellis and instead focused on a couple Ghirlandaio's...don't know what it is about his work, but Ghirlandaio is one of my favourite artists. There's a humour, a warmth, a real human-ness to his subjects that greatly appeals to me. Botticelli on the other hand, although they are beautiful and luminous, I find his women rather passive and too serene. I slipped along to admire Leonardo's Annunciation and a couple works by Andrea del Sarto. My gosh the brilliant colours in many of the Renaissance paintings are astonishing!!! Speaking of brilliant colours, I "found" a tiny little painting by Cimigli (or something like that...must check my book) called Fuge al Egitto (or something like that...) that I found quite stunning. Too bad one cannot take photos.
Afterward, I walked around some more, then went to La Spada for takeout supper (seemed the thing to do to break my pattern of the previous two nights!) I had a dish of turkey, zucchini, mushrooms in a tomato sauce, and some spinach souffle...and wine (was there ever any doubt?!) Then went for another walk after eating...even though it was after nine. I walked over the Ponte Vecchio and sat in the Piazza Repubblica for a while, listening to some musicians playing string instruments, plus on the other corner a woman was singing with an amazing voice. A few turns around the Duomo (where I called home saying "guess where I am right this second?"), then slowly meandered back "home", where I gazed out the window for a while, then went to sleep.
I slept until 10am again this morning - must be more tired than I thought. Should try to go to bed a bit earlier tonight so I don't keep missing the mornings! It's SO hard to retire at night though, I just want to keep lingering in the streets, in the Piazza Signoria, in the Loggia...basking in the golden light, the rhythm of Italian conversations going on around me, feeling awestruck by the statues gleaming white in the night air. There's a myth about the huge Neptune statue coming to life under a full moon and strolling around the piazza...that does not seem so hard to believe when actually seeing these statues at night. They do have a different quality of life to them at night than by day.