I think I left off at suppertime yesterday (as usual - just before supper seems to be when I stop into the internet place!) So I couldn't settle on anywhere to eat...here is one problem with eating along in Italy: the places off the beaten path are soon filled up and they are not so thrilled to give up a whole table for one person unless I eat early (relatively speaking, here early is 6 or 7pm) and yesterday it was more like 8pm before I was scouting out a trattoria. So no luck. The tourist places did not appeal to me...it's just not the same eating experience when surrounded by English speaking people! So I decided to get something from La Spada, eat at the apartment and then head back out for an evening stroll. For 12.40 euro, I got a roast chicken (one of those flattened ones), peas and zuchinni/tomato mix...I have enough for two meals, well actually the chicken itself is enough for 3 or 4 meals...unless I snack it all away, of course! (Which is a distinct possibility, it is quite tasty!) Need I say that I had wine with this meal...I am so coming home an alcoholic after this trip!
After supper I popped along to the Ponte Vecchio, sat and listened to a man playing his guitar and singing. Soon I moved along to Piazza Signoria to sit in - you guessed it - the Loggia, one of my absolute favourite spots in this city full of gorgeous spots. There are never too many people around because they do not allow food, music, other things up here...it is just to sit and enjoy - yay! I was sitting on one of the upper stone benches, noticing that I was looking at Giambologna's Rape of the Sabine from a whole new angle, thinking again what an incredibly dynamic statue this is (by the way "rape" here refers to the older pillaging meaning, not the modern sense, for anyone unfamiliar with this work.) Also listening to a musician playing songs like James Taylor's "You've Got a Friend", a couple Paul Simon songs, U2's "One"...I could hear the music clearly but with the added bonus of the singer and crowd being off to the side by the Uffizi and not surrounding me. As I sat here, awestruck by the experience, I got thinking about how amazingly rich and blessed I am to be sitting here, in this place...thinking of family and friends who said things like "go and enjoy yourself, we will be fine" and "we will look after each other"...this generosity was such a gift to me. My heart felt so burstingly full of love, both given and received, that I literally cried (tears of joy, I promise.) I went to bed and slept a sleep of comforting dreams!
I awoke to a rather more jarring atmosphere! The garbage truck outside was so loud this morning - Dave, this is the 7am noise one of the other apartment reviews mentioned! So far it hasn't bothered me...and didn't this morning either, but I suppose had I wanted to sleep in, I might have been annoyed. Probably not though, I don't have trouble getting back to sleep normally in the mornings (in fact my ability to drowse has made it hard for me to get out of bed nearly every morning all my life, until I lost this ability sometime during the past year...maybe it will come back after this trip!) Anyway, up I get...shower (in the teeny tiny shower stall), flop around for a while, have more of the yummy cereal I bought the other day, a banana, some yogurt...out for espresso, at the bar where they seem to be recognizing me now. Eventually I decide to check out the Galleria Palatina, except that when I put on my lovely leather jacket, I see that a stitch has come loose - horrors!!! Back to the shop I go. "oh no, this should not have happened" wails the clerk, " let me have it for only one hour, I send to the tailor"...that sounds ok to me. I left the store thinking er, maybe I should have gotten a receipt for leaving it, but I feel no alarm bells so carry on. While waiting I decided to check out the Palazzo Vecchio, since I was right there and had a ticket alread. I had bought a combo ticket the other day, when visited the Capella Brancacci - seemed an odd combo, but saved me 2 euro, plus I didn't need to wait in the ticket line at the Palazzo, just straight on up the steps to the entrance. I think this place might benefit from a tour guide, no doubt there is much history and many stories that would bring the place to life more so than just wandering through in relative ignorance. There were some lovely madonna tondos scattered throughout, and the Hall of Five Hundred is quite impressive (as one might expect from such a name!) Worth seeing though. Oh and a ceiling painting titled "Gualdrada, a Florentine maiden, Refuses to Kiss Emperor Otto IV" cracked me up, what a great subject matter!
I retrieved my jacket, all fixed up and better now. (Have I mentioned that I love this thing?!) And on to Pitti Palace.
In Galleria Palatina, I have met my match in my insatiable desire to see more art! I'd said in an email a couple days ago that I was happily drowning in art over here...well, someone throw me a life ring because I have just sunk!! Whoa, this gallery is mind bogglingly full of art, everywhere, on every surface, and in absolutely no order whatsoever. Galleria Palatina is UTTERLY OVERWHELMING... As I wandered awestruck through room after room...after room...after room...of paintings, paintings, paintings, ceiling frescoes and statues, I could only be thankful that Pitti Palace is covered by my Uffizi pass, so I can return another day, and another, just so I can absorb some of the wonders here. Several paintings by Andrea del Sarto, Raffaelo, and Cigoli (sp?) drew me today but there were certainly tons more I would like another look at. I near staggered out into the Boboli Gardens, in desperate need of quiet nature to collect my thoughts. I found an oh so peaceful, deserted section of paths and trees...alas, not quite deserted. Many a tiny biting insect descended on my bare ankles (I knew I should have worn shoes and socks instead of my sandels today!!) So along to the sections crowded with people instead of insects. I lay flatout in the grass, in the sun, listening to faint murmering voices from the group of students having their lecture in the grass nearby instead of a classroom today, and hearing also church bells from time to time. An hour or so of pure bliss!! I also explored the gardens a bit, although huge as they are, I will want to return and see more.
And that brings me to now...just before supper, as usual. Hope everyone is doing well at home...virtual hugs to all!!!