I am thinking that I ought to wrap this trip up.Â It’s actually Saturday, March 28th and we’ve been home almost a week.Â We rented a car in Florence, a Renault Espace, and drove to Milan.Â Let me tell you that there are no gas stations near the airport in Milan.Â We drove around for an hour trying to find a gas station and finally found one on the road in the opposite direction.Â So heading out from Milan airport there is a gas station but for all the people who need to fill up their rental cars on the way in, no.
The trip back seemed unending.Â Eight hours from Milan to New york and then over six hours from JFK to SFO.Â There were heavy winds.Â I was so antsy in my seat.Â Even though I have vowed never again in coach, it was so so long even in business class.
We’re home now and the week has been busy.Â Sarah came over on Monday.Â It was her birthday.Â We went out to lunch, had manicures and pedicures and then we cooked dinner.Â On Tuesday we went over to see Nathan and Sam as well as Ryan, Leigh and Jon.Â John had a working dinner.Â On Thursday we went up to wine country with Sarah and stayed overnight.Â When we got back on Friday we crashed and we didn’t do much today, Saturday.Â It’s time to try to get over the jetlag.
It was a great, great trip.Â And now it’s time to start planning the next one.
Today was back to back art. All the pictures today are from the Opera dell Duomo since the other places wouldn’t let us take pictures. We started out at the Horne Museum. This museum houses a lot of early Renaissance art. The woman at the desk was very helpful and loaned us a book so we would know what we were looking at. The people upstairs where the art was treated us like a couple of miscreants on a mission to destroy their collection. They followed us closely and on one occasion told us to back away from a painting.
Next we went to the Opera dell Duomo which is a repository of art associated with the cathedral. We’ve been there a lot of times but we love a lot of the pieces in there. John is especially fond of the Mary Magdalen wood carving pictured.
In the Opera dell Duomo they also have many 14th century altarpieces. Here’s one about poor St. Sebastian. Although he is known for being shot full of arrows as in the center panel, it is not the way he actually died. In the small panels it also shows that after not dying from being shot full of arrows, he was clubbed to death and then thrown into a well or sewer. He’s always shown with his arrows in paintings as well as his martyr’s palm frond.
Finally also from the Opera dell Duomo, there isÂ a Michelangelo Pieta. This is one from the end of his life and is mostly complete. The face of Nicodemus who is the older man holding Jesus has Michelangelo’s face. The small figure on the left is supposedly carved by someone else.
Our last stop was at the Accademia. We had to wait on line and John saw this graffiti on the building. “Dear Satan, Thanks for the beer and good times. Love, God” It made us laugh. The Accademia is home to the fabulous Michelangelo David. It seems that most people just come to see this statue and miss out on all the other 13th, 14th and 15th century stuff. Their loss.
After a slow start to the morning we managed to get out around 10:30. Our first stop was the Bargello. In addition to having a lot of Michelangelo statues, there are some wonderful early paintings and ivory work. I think my favorite thing in the museum is a wonderful madonna and child from the 13th century. It is one of the earliest paintings that I have seen and the colors on it are still brilliant. Painting during that time was done with strict rules. Faces look Byzantine and the folds of drapery are quite geometric.
On the Ponte Vecchio are many of the stores of goldsmiths. It is too bad that the dollar has just become so much weaker against the Euro. The jewelry looks fabulous and it is hard to resist.
Here I am on the Ponte Vecchio doing the traditional pose with the Arno River behind me.
At the church of Santa Maria del Carmine is the Branchacci Chapel. During the 17th century the church burned down but the chapel with its 15th century frescoes survived. We viewed the frescoes painted by Masolino, Masaccio and Lippi. They are really amazing. Leonardo da Vinci said that he attributes the Renaissance to Giotto and Masaccio. The Masaccio figures are so lifelike and emotive next to even Masolino’s. The colors are still brilliant and the frescoes depict the life of St. Peter.
After finishing our visit to the Branchacci Chapel it was almost 3 PM and time for a little lunch. I first ate at the Osteria Santo Spiritu when we came here for the Oracle Users Group Conference in 1994. Every time we come here, it’s kind of a touchstone. Last time we were here the newest owners were celebrating their 10th anniversary of the restuarant. In November they will be open for 15 years. We always have the rigatoni with ricotta salata, a dry cheese. We also had some borlotti beans and a salad of celery, nuts and gorgonzola. It was all good.