This morning, in the quiet and the calm, I obtain a good photo of my favorite painting. That’s not to say that aren’t more worthy paintings in the church. I like Joseph about to place his hand on his son’s head, the fact that they are working together in the workshop, the foreshadowing of the cross.
As a parent I don’t know what will happen to my children, don’t know all of their crosses they will bear, but I like to imagine my hand on their head, and saying what I can only imagine Joseph is saying to his son. For every child it is different, but must include something along the order of wishing to carry their cross for a few lengths while they rest up for the difficult journey ahead. Joseph could no more carry that cross for Jesus than I can carry mine for my children. I only hope that there are workshop moments, where they remember the touch of my hand, laid aside their head.
We head to Mercato Centrale, a large warehouse-style building, and on the way see a lovely tableau of wild animals advertising a butcher (below).
It’s a plain-looking church outside, with just the bones of its design to recommend it. Last time I was here was when I was working on my honors thesis as an undergraduate; the project would combine poetry and photography in a handmade book (of which I still have two copies). I took tons of black and white photos of this church and spent hours in the darkroom dodging and burning the old fashioned way, with paper, hand, cardstock, whatever I could find to bring up the crisp contrasting angles of this design.This church is an old friend.
But this one is supple, beautiful leather with a cool handle. Another life milestone achieved. When I stopped at another shop, she saw my bag from Roberts and said, “Roberts have nice fabric.” I agree, even though I think she meant leather.
To get there, we cut through Plaza della Signoria, with its Palazzo Veccchio building, all aglow in the evening sun (this is what we were waiting for last night, but we were off by a day for the Florence Glow-Show).
Up slowly, we realize we just can’t keep up a horrendous pace and still come back in one piece. The bells on this Sunday morning are calling the faithful out to mass, and after breakfast, we head out ourselves to the Bargello Museum. It was built in 1255 as an early Florence police station, and then a prison. Given the surly expressions of some of the museum staff, I can only surmise that some of the early history has been carried forth.
We ended the night walking past the Duomo, and went back to our hotel.
I just had to show you the rubber band. I know now why San Lorenzo charges for entry–apparently like all the other churches, but maybe not enough. A rubber band. That’s the kind of home repairs we do around our house sometimes too. It endears this whoever to me, the person who chose a rubber band as their fixit-tool of choice.
We met up with some colleagues and former post-docs of Dave’s and all went to dinner at ZaZa, where we had a three soup sampler of Tuscan favorites, and a dish of mushroom fettucini. Too bad I forgot to take photos, but we were hungry.
Flying from LAX to SFO to Frankfurt to Florence–whoops! The pilot came on the intercom and said “blahblahblah Bologna blahblahblah Diversion blahblahblah Busses.”
Here we are milling around Bologna. Notice on the left the black tube on that lady’s back? That’s how I knew that group were scientists, traveling with their poster tube to ICEM, the conference Dave’s at. I was really happy to see them. You can depend on scientists. I shared a cab with one and the cranky cab driver: “Notta two fares! One fare!” Oh yeah–well I’m not hopping around Florence alone at 10 o’clock at night, after being in the fascinating Bologna airport, the hour-long bus ride over the Appennine Mountains–or under them in a succession of tunnels–in a giant bus gliding within inches of large square trucks while coming down a mountain.
Well, I made it. I kept thinking. I spent hours on hold and talking to AT&T so I could use my phone in Italy and then I couldn’t figure it out? I ended up borrowing a phone from the guy beside me (paid him 2 euros) to call and leave a message at the hotel. Wild.
I feel your pain. She has held up that piece of the wall for centuries now. I’m reminded of the front of the church in Orvieto, but Orvieto’s cathedral has more golds and reds. The Duomo is in greens, pinks and white. Someday I’ll have to post those 2007 pictures from that other Italy trip. Yep, some day.
Since I’ve stood in lines for the David and for the Uffizi before, I decided to skip those and look at some lesser known places. This was a former convent: Cenacolo de Sant’Appollonia and one wall has Castagno’s Last Supper. There’s a lot of Last Suppers around Italy.
The massive lines for the Duomo had disappeared, so I went in and did my tourist thing. It’s basically a big empty church, with tons of tourists, including the American girl (why is it always Americans?) trying to argue her way out of wearing a “poncho” made out of that cheapy recycled stuff. It’s posted EVERYWHERE that there are no bare shoulders in churches, and she was trying to convince the guard that this wasn’t really a church. Just put the poncho on, sweetheart.
After a break, I decided to go and see the church behind us, San Lorenzo. It’s an interesting church, somewhat noble in character, but surrounded but TONS of carts selling genuine made in Florence Indian scarves, belts, earrings, pashmina, sunglasses (I’ll bet you didn’t know Florence had a sunglass factory too!) and all other worldly goods, but all handmade right here in Florence.I think Dave would really be styling with some checkerboard belts.
I kept thinking of the time when Christ cleared the moneychangers and others from the temple. Not that these guys are in the temple, but it just crossed my mind. I’ll bet the people in the church would love to have a fraction of the day’s receipts to spiff the inside of San Lorenzo–but it would be an uneasy partnership at best.
Then we split the swordfish with potatoes. After dinner, we all walked over to the Duomo area, joining in the other one billion strolling Florentines and tourists. It’s still hot, but we’re tired, so pass up their offer for some gelato and head back to the hotel.