Palle!Palle!Palle!

Trying not to add to the heat of the appartamento this morning, my start was a bit slow.  Si, when Fiippo left me last evening, the portable AC unit was working…but at about 12:30 am…beep, beep, beep and the unfortunate “clunk” of a machine shutting  off.

“Seriously!?”  I thought…and may have muttered audibly.  I tried to lay there as still as possible (both in body, mind and spirit),  dozing for another 10 minutes or so.  I then woke with the thought that maybe the breaker was triggered, and I just needed to flip.  So I stumbled up (please remember that I have not slept in about 30 some odd hours), but no,  not the issue.  I went over to the unit, punched a few buttons and got the thing beeping and running again…for 20 minutes or so.  After the 3rd set of beeps, I decided the sound was more torturous than the heat.  I pointed the portable fan Filippo had been wise enough to bring, kicked the sheets off and did my best, knowing things would eventually get better.

First order of the day, contact the brothers.  Second, grab something to eat.

I joined every other tourist in Firenze at Mercato Centrale, treating myself to not one croissant, but due and a cappucinno…certo.  At that time of the day, most were doing the Spritz, birra, pizza thing.  I found myself a corner of a tavola and settled in for a bit.

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A different goal I set for this trip was to create a bit of “art” along the way.  Notice that is art with a little “a”.  Last summer, I discovered Danny Gregory.  Danny is an illustrator turned Drawing Guru.  I bought a couple of his books, developed a deep crush and had hopes of adopting his “draw daily” lifestyle.  During the school year, I could not make it stick…OK…I did not stick with it.  I thought this trip was a perfect opportunity to develop a fun, creative habit.

I do not think of myself as a “talent” other than I like my mind.  I do not have the talent transferring my thoughts/ideas to paper well.  As a child and a teen, I had no “stage” talent.  Like Marcia Brady, I considered curling my hair on stage in the “Miss Northbrook” beauty pageant.  Anyway…let’s not go there…so I reluctantly packed art supplies for this trip.  These few supplies; sketchbook, pens, prismas, travel water colors, took up valuable space and my “monkey” (that is what Danny calls that little voice we have that puts us down” kept chattering that it was silly.  But as silly as it is, I have been enjoying it.

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Another goal for this trip, especially while in Firenze, was to take a closer look at the impact the Medici family had on this city and on history as a whole.

I have read several historical books based on the Medicis and have watched a couple of documentaries and historical fiction films about them as well.  I feel like know quite a bit, except for the piccolo fact I cannot keep all the Giovannis, Cosimos, Pieros and Leonardos straight…I really need a visual of the Family Tree.

Today, I dedicate to the Godfathers of the Renaissance…The Medicis.

First stop, the Basilica di San Lorenzo.

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La Basilica di San Lorenzo is the oldest church in Firenze, first consecrated in 393.  In 1419, Giovanni di Bicci de’ Medici made this fixer-upper his charge.  Filippo Brunelleschi, of the dome of the duomo fame, was the architect hired.  The church contains other important architectural and artistic works by Donatello and Michelangelo as well.

San Lorenzo was the parish church of the Medici family and is the burial place for molti a Medici.

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Throughout the architecture, interior and the city of Firenze,  you will find the Medici coat of arms.  There are several different stories which “explain” what the balls or palle (in Italian) represent.  Whatever their meaning, these guys had ’em.  Generation after generation illustrated thought, commitment and fortitude.  Medici men were always “All In”, even when they wanted to appear they were not.

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One of several works by Donatello is the bronze pulpit (one of two) depicting the Passion of Christ.  1460-1465.

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The Martelli Annunciation by Filippo Lippi was painted in 1440.  This was not commissioned by the Medici family but by Niccolo Martelli, a rich Florentine  citizen.

The Sagrestia Vecchia or Old Sacristy is one of the most important monuments of early Italian Renaissance architecture.

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Designed by Filippo Brunelleschi (busy guy) for the Medici Family, hence the palle!palle!palle!  In the center of the room is the sarcophagus of Giovanni di Bicci de’ Medici and to the left is the bronze sarcophagus of Giovanni and Piero’s de’ Medici which was created by Verrocchio, teacher to Leonardo da Vinci.  Some of the work on the piece is attributed to Leonardo.  So when we use the term “patron” to describe what the Medicis were during the Renaissance, it is simply not adequate.

I found this interesting…To the side of the lanterned dome Brunelleschi designed, there is a smaller dome which depicts the night sky of Florence, July 4, 1442 (how they know that, boggles my mind).  The odd thing is, there is no documentation of any public events for the night of July 4, 1442.  So this is an insider’s mystery.  Either the artist and/or the patron knows the significance.  So intriguing!

Next stop, Palazzo de’ Medici.

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I was kinda giddy as I walked in the footsteps of the Medici.  I imagined them entering the relative safety of their palazzo as the Florentines shouted, “Palle! Palle! Palle!”  The intent of their shouts determined by its delivery.  The family definitely had their its ups and downs.

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In the courtyard, though the archway there, Donatello’s David once stood.

Next stop, the grocery store…the Medicis did not shop here per se…but…

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And before one puts their groceries away…one must draw them.  (The oddities of solo travel.)

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During the day, I had a chance to speak/meet with Filippo again.  He came by to respond to my news that the original…well not the “original” original…we all know the original, original AC is on the blink…I’m currently talking about the “original” interim AC…anyway, he came to take ANOTHER look at this unit.  He told me he had come earlier, spent 25 minutes here and it was working fine.  As I write this, it makes it sound as if Filippo is put out with me…not at all.  He has been nothing but helpful and kind.   These brothers care about their guests.   As we stood talking about said 2nd unit, it shut off AGAIN.  I clapped and was so thankful for him to see it in…uh, non-action.  He makes another phone call to Giovanni-the younger. As he’s talking, he looks at me and gives me the universal “thumbs-up”.  When he says “ciao, ciao, ciao, ciao” (By the way, the record number of ciao’s while saying goodbye is 7…I heard it on the streets yesterday, and I counted.) he says to me, “Two good-a news-a-s”.  The two good-a news-a-s were 1-Giovanni-the younger found and purchased ANOTHER portable unit (Filippo explains during the Firenze heats, these units sometimes cannot be found in a 200 kilometer area) and the second good-a news-a-s was a technician will be coming domani to fix the Original Original AC unit…the real original.

Filippo once again instructs me to go eat and drink and when I return, my brand new interim (due) unit will be up and running.

I remain Oltrarno (which I am loving) and return to a 2015 favorite, Le Volpi e l’uva.  You may remember I had a wonderful evening here with Curious Appetite’s Coral Sisk experiencing a tiered wine tasting.

For dinner, Crostino con salsiccia and Un bicchiere di vino bianco…freddo.

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And for dolce…watercolor.

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