Today, I begin my morning earlier than usual. I actually have an agenda today.
9:00 mass at Santo Spirito was a very intimate experience as there were only about dieci of us there.
As I was leaving, the priest came and shook my hand with a smile. “Grazie , Padre.” “Ciao! Prego.” I Andiamo en Pace to grab a bite to eat.
I had seen a post yesterday by Curious Appetite sharing the thought of why drink caffe in the morning when you can have tiramisu from this spot, ditto Artigianale.
I do not choose tiramisu because I figure a sugar high and a tower high might not mix well, but I will return. This place is like Italy meets Seattle or Austin. Clean, crisp, hip. There are tre locations in Firenze. I actually run across another later. But this one is right down the via from me.
Although ditta Artigianale is a place I could spend the morning…I have a tower to climb.
As I cross the Orno at Ponte Vecchio, there is a guy at work removing the Love Locks attached illegally to the bridge. I guess there are rules to love.
During the morning I was a bit nervous the lines at Palazzo Vecchio would be long. I need not have worried. I do not think this is one of the more popular tourist stops. During my hour or so in the torre, I encounter no more than quindici persone. This with a light breeze made for a perfetto experience.
The brochure states there are 223 steps to the top of this 95mt high tower. Note: these steps do not include the many you climb to get to the tower.
This torre is one of the oldest parts of Palazzo Vecchio, built around 1299. So it is vecchio, vecchio. The tower was built as a protection from external attack, but it was also a symbol of the government lording over the Florentine families.
First stop, the highest battlement level affording a lovely terracotta and blue view.
Then, piu scale.
Before you reach the bell chambers at the tippy(ish) top, there is a small prison cell known as the Alberghetto. I am really excited about this. Others, stick their heads in and pass it on by. Non me! I want to spend some time where Cosimo the Elder (in 1433) and Fra’ Girolamo Savonarola (in 1498) were guests. I love being in an area where you know important historical figures walked…but standing in a 10×8 cell, really concentrates that experience. Molto, molto cool!
Can’t help but touch this…can you imagine the people and emotions that did!!??!!
The current view out of the Alberghetto is of the Uffizi and then the Arno. Back in the day, solo Arno.
And when you reach the top, another breathtaking view.
I sent Daddy this photo and he joked about me scouting a spot for my cooking show…trying to top Giada.
There is an attendant at the top and I ask him if the bell above us is the “vacca “. He says yes but is not sure where it got it’s name. I enlighten him. Vacca means cow in Italian and the bell’s toll, was said to sound like a cow mooing. This bell was rung to summon the Florentines to Piazza Della Signoria to hear important news or to take part in a parlamento or voting.
Yesterday Daddy emailed me with a “suggestion”…go figure! Anyway, he said, “I know this is your blog, but I think you should include at least a photo a day with YOU in it.” Not gonna happen Doug, but this one’s for you.
I am really looking forward to my friend, Danita, joining me in a couple of days, but there are definatley perks to traveling solo. I do not think anyone would have wanted to spend 30+ minutes at the top of the tower while I sketched. The few who came up would make you spin around the top, take a selfie or two and then say to their travel companion, “You ready?”
Returning to Palazzo level, I tour the various rooms, appartamento said and halls. Sings of my amici the Medicis are everywhere. Much of their tumultuous lives took place within these walls. As I experienced the low point of the cell and “read” the highpoints painted on walls and ceilings, I wonder how we would illustrate our lives, condensed to its major lows and highs.
Below depicts Cosimo the Elder giving Brunelleschi (kneeling) the green light to build Basillica San Lorenzo.
Here Cosimo surrounds himself with many of the major artist of the time. Oh Cosimo, center of the Renaissance Universe. Aspetta!
As I have said, if there is not someone barring the door, I will enter. Case in Point…
I am just roaming through, and I find myself in an above average crowded room. It takes me a moment to register, at some level, that the people here seem to have “costumes” on…and ridiculous hats…Then a harmonica (still confused at this choice for this venue) begins playing “Here comes the Bride”…yep, I’ve crashed un altro wedding. I lower my head, back out and then grab a quick shot
As I stroll through the Palazzo, I am transported by Bella musica. I enter the balcony over looking . Even though I knew I was in a massive building, the grandeur and size of this “room” boggles my mind. I find my way down to get a closer look/listen.
What a treat to be transported while admiring this impressive hall. It was commissioned in 1494 by Savonarola, of all people. He had led a revolt to oust the Medicis and founded a more democratic government, The Council of 500, hence the name “Salone dei Cinquecento”. Piero Soderini was elected Gonfaloniere for life. Leonardo and Michelangelo were commissioned to create great frescoes illustrating the great history of Firenze. None of their work was ever completed, but sketches remain.
In 1540, guess who returned to power….si, bene! The Medicis. The purpose of the hall changed to Duke Cosimo I de Medici’s “boardroom”. And Vasari was commissioned to illustrate the Medici spun history of Firenze.
Front and center…Pope Leo X, aka Giovanni di Lorenzo de Medici.
Like the falls of the Medici, it is time for me to return to the streets.
But they are EVERYWHERE…here, meet Maria de Medici…by blub.
In the Art, Pray, Food cycle…it is time for food.
So let’s compare La Proscuitteria to All’ antico Vinaio…If the Voce della gente mean anything, All’ antico Vinaio would remain tops.
But, taste should prevail…seeing sunlight through my prosciutto is a molto bene sign.
And my choice remains true to Antico over La Proscuitteria.
Still working to recover some of the cab fare, I nibble all the way home and have a bicchiere di vino bianco in la Mia Casa.
The evenings are meant for roaming. What a treat it was to see this street artist and his patrons enjoying his work.
Oh yeah…the evenings are meant for Spritz as well.
Today’s offering of chalk art in front of Zara made me smile. Quite the Mash-Up…da Vinci and Duchamp…can’t wait to share this one in class.
As I walk along the Arno, on my way back home for the evening, I love seeing so many people stopping there day to admire the setting sun.
The shot below is looking back at Ponte Santa Trinita and the sun’s admirers.
With no more than the passing of dieci minuti, this was my view from Ponte Alla Carraia. No words.
At the appartamento, I removed my shoes and began to relax. Wait…put those sandali back on! I just read there is a free concert back at my Palazzo. 10:00 pm-3:00am! Andiamo!
Quick note….I was having some MAJOR technical difficulties this morning in the appartamento. I almost threw the iPad out the finestra…but while I waited for Danita to recover from her flight and our first day, I came down to ditta Artigianale. Connect with their wifi and write over 1/2 of this on my phone….so, Per favore, perdona qualsiasi errore. I’ll try to edit later. Ciao for now!