A visit to the Bobile Gardens
Morning at the Duomo
This morning, as I often do, I went to the side entrance of the Duomo, which is open for private prayer or for those attending Mass. Today, however, a large crowd of camera people and security guards surrounded the entrance. And there in their midst was a young man, sporting a very chic coat and holding a Gucci briefcase, solemnly walking a short distance among pigeons. Every so often someone would rush up to him to fix his hair or whatever, and then the man would go back to the start and make walk again.
I slipped into church and when I came out they were still at it.
To Florence again!!
I’m off to Florence tomorrow, via CDG. I arrive in Florence at 9AM Monday morning and will take the 20 minute, 2 euro tram ride to Santa Maria Novella. I will call Lorenzo, who for years has rented me apartments, and then walk 15 minutes to my absolute favorite apartment. I will take a quick elevator ride to the second floor where Lorenzo will meet me. We will check that the wifi works, and he will give me the keys.
My apartment overlooks a little street; from the window I can see my favorite cafe serving the best cappuccino ever--maybe I'll stop in!. Then I'll walk around the corner to the Piazza della Signoria, say hello to David and be on my way through the Uffizi courtyard to the Arno. So many favorite spots! And I haven't even mention the Duomo, which I'll check out on my route before returning to the apartment for a nap.
Solitary traveler going again
This solitary traveler is ready to go again. I thought that maybe my Florence days were over, but no, I heard, “Go, follow your bliss, you can do it, you want to go.” I know this is right because, if it weren’t, I know that too. It’s the way I operate. I sit with what comes up; if it goes away, well, that’s the end of that. If it keeps speaking out, I ponder until the answer comes. If it is yes, I make the necessary plans; if it is no, I surrender and stop perseverating on it.
Here’s my plan: fly to Florence March 19th, return March 30. I have rented my most favorite apartment—best location ever, with a museum and church in very direction. Right down the street is La Badia, my peaceful go-to meditation church, and across the street I can count of the best cappuccino and brioche ever.
Looking down, looking up in Florence
When walking in Florence I usually look ahead, navigating pedestrians, bicyclists, taxis, and delivery trucks, and watching to take in the architecture, ancient streets, and of course, the Arno. I look down to watch my step to keep from falling.
And, there are signs to see when looking down; plaques indicating the name of a Jew who lived in the adjacent house, the date of arrest, where deported to, and the date of death or assignation. Looking down, I see more plaques that I want to consider.
And there are signs to see when looking up; plaques indicating the height the Arno reached during the flood of 1966. Looking up, I’m amazed at how much of the city was underwater.
Early morning walk in Florence
Suppers at the Uffizi
I tell people that I go to Florence to walk around with God. That is what I do, but not all the time. Sometimes, in fact very often, I think about food and what and where I will eat. Even that can be prayerful. It’s all about intention, which brings me to the three meals in which Jesus participated: The wedding at Cana, the Last Supper, and the Supper at Emmaus. I love when I come across paintings of these meals with Jesus. Once I started looking for such scenes, the began started appearing. Today two appeared at the Uffizi. Little gems. Enjoy!
Luca Signorelli’s Last Supper (circa 1510) is part of a panel that depict the supper and what followed.
Then there is the Supper at Emmaus (circa 1560-65) by a less well-know artist, Simone Peterzano.
This morning I made my usual pilgrimage to the Convent of San Marco where the most beautiful Fra Angelico paintings (newly restored) are displayed, and where one can walk along the corridors of the monk’s cells. The time in history is fifteen century Renaissance Florence.
If you have been following my blog for a few years you’ve seen these pictures of Fra Angelico’s frescoes before—perhaps many times. I can’t resist making this one of my first stops upon arriving in the city, and I can’t help but take the same pictures each time, even though I have the same scenes archived from times before.
It is silent here, but life is present; a man is sitting with his aging mom; pigeons are scouring the ground; an attendance is picking up paper and keeping the place tidy.
Ah, but now I hear a siren; a boy and his mom are examining the book boxes place along path; they have sat on a nearby bench to read a story.
Florence, here I come!
Here I am, three days before my flight to Rome. I have an overnight flight, which means that in four days I’ll be on an hour and a half train ride through Tuscany to Florence. When I step out of the Santa Maria Novella train station and walk by the Church of Santa Maria Novella, I’ll have a ten minute walk to my apartment overlooking the Church of Santa Maria dei Fiori, which we locals call Il Duomo.
I’ve taken so many pictures of all these sights. Do I need to bring my camera? Except for a change of season, or a photos of years ago, no one will be able to tell when I snapped what I post. But I will take my camera (it’s also my phone) and I will snap and post.
We all know that an important part of a trip is the anticipation. So anticipate with me as I share previous pictures.
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