Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Towers and Ragu and Musuems and...

It's all going by so quickly. Two and a half weeks left in Florence. It's almost over! I'm desperate to see everything I can here in the city; I have an appointment at the Uffizi tomorrow (if anything is mandatory here that is!), and I managed two musuems yesterday after my Food and Culture of Italy class.

First I attended the Leonardo Da Vinci musuem, which was a bit dissapointing. They had his robot-knight (which I think was not a copy, hard to tell from the placard), and three notebooks as actual artifacts. The rest of the display was composed of working models (mostly in wood) of the more famous machines from his notebooks. The sign said "no photos"but I cheated in the hall of mirrors.
Next, I made my way to the Antiquities Musuem. They have a breathtaking collection of Eutruscan, Greek, Roman, and Egyptian artifacts. The pottery collection on the second story is particularly exquisite, with many pieces of astounding artistic quality and expressiveness. Many of these pieces have been restored to be almost complete. There are also numerous bronze sculptures and an extensive collection of sarcophogi; also an intact Egyptian chariot!
I was pretty worn out after spending 3 hours on my feet staring at these treasures, but it was almost time for the San Marco curch to re-open (4:00) so I sat in SS Annunciata square to rest my legs until it opened at ten past. This church is over 700 years old, and I was deeply moved by the gravitas of the place and the heady air of centuries of worship. I am not a practicing Catholic, but I have a healthy respect for spirituality. I was moved to light a candle for my late Great-Aunt Pat, who I felt would like it if I remembered her in at least one of the many beautiful, old churches I have visited this month; in this one particularly I felt her urging me to make such a gesture. She was a devout Catholic, and would have loved to have been with me, and I feel that she has been.

Last weekend my friend Alycia and I visited San Giminano on Friday and Saturday we went to Bologna, this time joined by Alycia's friend Meredith. On Sunday I took a stroll through the Boboli Gardens and the connected Porcelain Musuem and Costume Musuem.

San Giminano is my favorite! The towers, the intact walls, the clearly Midaeval nature of the town have been preserved (though for the unfortunate reasons of repeated plagues and resultand economic hardship).
Alycia and I split up; she to shop, I to explore, and set a time to meet for lunch. First I climbed the Torre Forte
And took a bunch of pictures
Then I walked around for a while, and we met for a tasty lunch. After, we had gelato (of course!) at one of the best places I've been so far, and I had two of the best flavors so far; saffron and blood orange. Yum!
We then visited the torture musuem (big ripoff), and took the bus home.

Bologna was also lovely, with its famous loggia.

I could not visit Bologna without tasting pasta with Bolognese sauce, so I had Gnocci con Ragu for lunch. Delicious!
That's all I have time for today, I'll try to catch up more later this week; Rome this weekend (a change in plans) and San Giminano again for a Midaeval festival. Ciao!

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