Sunday, August 22, 2010

First day

We started out by going to the Uffizi and picking up an annual pass.  It saves money for those intending to hit the most famous museums often, and saves standing in very long lines.  We took a first quick look at the Uffizi and later the Medici Museums at San Lorenzo.  My first impression is that all the famous old paintings I want to study look old, dirty gray, and poorly lighted.  There will be some serious hurdles to get over, and I'm glad I saw the book illustrations first.  On the other hand, it is true that you can see a lot in a painting several feet square that is not obvious in a print that fits a page in a book.  This is what I came to find out, and I have a month to work on it.

On the more touristy side, it is amazing to walk around Florence.  The streets are narrow and have strange angles where streets that were inside and outside the walls were connected when the walls were removed.  We are just a block outside the ancient Roman wall site, just inside the wall of 1175.  You can't see very far.  On our way back from San Lorenzo, we came to a corner and suddenly there was the cathedral!  This picture is the view that suddenly surprised me.

We came back to the apartment and took a nap.  The temperature was about 91 and we are in a little rooftop building, but there was a good breeze -- we have left the air-conditioning off and all the windows open.  It reminds us a lot of our time in Hawaii, with nice breezes blowing around in the apartment.

Later we went out to see some sights and get supper.  We stopped at the church of S. Apostoli (built in maybe 1100 or maybe 800, remodeled several times over the centuries, and after the 1966 floods restored to its 13th century appearance.)  A service was about to start so we sat through that with 6 other people.  Here is the inside of the church

The open space in front of the church is the Piazza del Limbo, named for the fact that it was used as a burial ground for unbaptised children, who went to limbo rather than heaven, hell, or purgatory.  High up on a wall is this ancient carving, now covered with glass for protection.

From here we went to S. Trinita for a quick look and then supper.  In this picture, S Trinita and the restaurant are just ahead around the curve (the curve of the 1175 wall) and S. Apostoli is just behind us.  All this is within a couple of blocks of our new home.

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