Today my plan was to visit the church of Santa Maria Novella, but along the way I made a few unexpected stops, which is particularly easy to do when traveling alone. You want to stop at the exhibit of the Parte Guelfa? Go right ahead. A merry-go-round ride? Sure. Join the crowds at Orsanmichele? Why not? Antipasto at Ciro’s? By all means.
With that began a private tour of the headquarters of this important political party in 12th,13th and 14th century Italy: the public hall designed by Brunelleschi (1377-1446), with ceiling and side paneling by Vasari (1511-1574) a hundred or so years later: the secret door in the paneling leading to a little terrace over looking the piazza below: and finally the private rooms of the party, with a little medallion of the head of Christ sculpted by Donatello above the door.