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Florentine Day 4 was not Florentine at all. It was time, time my friends, to go to San Gimignano. This town is another walled city, this one without the sprawl outside the walls, instead being girt by a patchwork of fields as it was in medieval times. Its fame is its towers, built by medieval families in a dark ages Babalian race to best each other. These days, there are only fourteen, down from seventy plus. The towers themselves are artless in design, and the art within is artless too: more of the same gold-gilded icon refuse that accounts for 80% of Italian museum pieces. Though the towers are plain, together they make for a pleasant spectacle. I say impressive, and no stronger adjective, because I was slightly disappointed after the anticipation built on so many strong reviews. I found Assisi a finer city. This is partially because Assisi forces you to walk to the walls, presenting you with many views of the whole (especially if you trespass onto farm land) where as the bus delivers you to the gates at San Gimignano. Despite this, Matt, Spaniard Emma and I had a good outing. In the evening, Matt and the other hostel kids went out into Firenze to drink themselves stupid (the results testify to their success) while I had a quiet one to recover.

Today, our last full day here, was a sedate affair, begun with a caffe lungo macchiato on the street, which is the high life indeed, and Matt doing the zombie shuffle until two and me cruising about, sorting photos and what not. As much of our clique left for other adventure today, Matt and I tried to tie a few loose ends up around Firenze thereafter, but the Cimitero degli Inglesi, on a roundabout in the middle of a major road, was closed. I did however find that it inspired this. In fact, if you will all indulge me, in the comments of this post, I shall write a list of paintings I must see and where they are, more for myself than anyone else, but in few years we shall check on my progress.

Anyway, Matt and I ended the day by finding where historical bastard Savonarola burnt much of the art and books of Firenze and was in turn burnt as a heretic a year later (suck it), and then going to the finest sammich shop I have ever known, next door to the Dante church. For between Euro 2.50 and 3.50, this fine man produces from his 2 square meter store (plus 1 for storage) a masterpiece. Twice now I have had his porchetta, with Tuscan pork cured with fennel and other spices, slightly piquant sun-dried tomatoes and mild greens. I declared to him this: “Sei il maestro dei panini”. A Firenze must.

Matt and I head for Ravenna tomorrow, and then I go to Padova one day earlier than planned. I am cheating myself out of one day of travel, but more heinous still, I have cheated myself out of finishing my PhD with scholarship intact, it having ended on the 28th. I told you I was trouble, you know that I’m no good.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 2nd, 2008 03:46 am (UTC)
Sounds like you boys are having a good time!

Take care!

Allison :)
Sep. 2nd, 2008 02:44 pm (UTC)
List of paintings these eyes must behold:
Böcklin: The Isle of the Dead
The Met, New York; Kunstmuseum, Basel; Staatliche Museen, Berlin; Museum der bildenden Künste, Leipzig
Bruegel the Elder: The Triumph of Death
Museo del Prado, Madrid

Bosch: Death and the Miser
National Gallery of Art, Washington

H. R. Giger Museum
Château St. Germain, Gruyères, Switzerland

Modigliani: Reclining Nude
Met, New York

Otto Dix: The Suicide
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

At least there's one ray of sunshine in that lot. Meh.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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