Last night and this morning, Avery and I tossed around ideas of what to do for her final full day in Firenze. We revisited the idea of taking a day trip to Venice, which I am really torn with, but decide to leave that and perhaps an over night there, for a future trip.
Avery says she would like to see Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, so an afternoon at the Uffizi it is. I buy biglietti on line, scheduling our time for 2:30. This allows for a leisurely morning and a good lunch before.
I decide Avery needs to have some pappa pomodoro before leaving Toscana, and since I had a wonderful bowl at I’Raddi…we return.
We arrive about 30 minutes before it opens…that time depends on whether you think they open by what the sign on the door says or by what we were told when we first tried to enter. Avery and I wait around outside along with two laborers. A great way to tell if a place is buono or not…do locals come and wait for it to open as well? Once the time has passed for when they “said” they would open…I decide to walk in again. I had been waiting, thinking they would come out and say, “OK…you can come in now”, but when I poke my head in and tentatively say, “tavalo per due?” we get “Certo” in response and are the first to be seated. We are taken to the same table I had last time. By the time we ordered, the small trattoria was packed with workers and families, and a few well informed tourist.
Looking over the menu, this time I see melone e prosciutto but I do not see pappa pomodoro, so I ask. “Si” they have it today. Avery and I have a hard time deciding so we order everything we want to try.
It was almost…just almost… a little embarrassing when piatto after piatto was placed on our tavolo. Avery’s first choice was fiori fritti. We wanted to compare these to the ones we prepared yesterday…research mind you. I, of course, wanted melone e prosciutto (presented differently than my last visit), the pappa pomodoro was our reason for returning, so it was a must and then at the last minute, I saw coccoli, the fried dough I fell in love with in 2013, it was served with stracchino and prosciutto, this rounded out our “lunch”. No vino or a nap would be needed before the museo.
Several times during our lunch the electricity went off in the trattoria.
After a few “alloras” were heard, someone would walk out, flip a switch in another part of the building and we were up and running again.
Leaving I’Raddi, we still had about an hour before our scheduled time at the Uffizi, so we roamed oltrarno picking up a few treats Avery wanted to bring back. Next door to a wonderful little tea towel shop, I found an amazing pillow shop. I fell in love instantly, just knowing they were the perfect souvenir. In the window, one-of-a-kind pillows were shown with images of the duomo and the facade of Santo Spirito appliquéd on them. Also featured were a Vespa and the Florentine Giglio, but the previously mentioned were my favorites. I went in enamored, spoke with the artist, gushed over his work and left undecided.
Every single thing I purchase leads to concerns about zipping my suitcase…I also always consider the price. Although I am happy to contribute to an artist’s life, I ultimately decided against the 75euro investment…maybe next time.
When we arrived at the Uffizi, the lines were of course LONG…I felt pretty confident we would be skipping most, due to a specific time on our bigliettos. And yes, we did not have to wait in the line to purchase a ticket, but we still had to wait in one to enter. I assume they turn you down if you wait in the line and get to the front before your time, but am not sure.
This is my forth visit to the Uffizi. My first was with Mom and Jim, second on a tour with Florencetown, third solo and now fourth with Avery. My kids have endured many a museo visit with me over their years. I have learned it is best to have a fairly specific agenda, hit the highlights. My reason for this is two-fold…number one are less likely to lose their attention (and get them to continue visiting museums) and number two, I think we retain more when we don’t try to see/experience everything.
So, our agenda is- Share with Avery a few of my Gothic, Early and High Renaissance favorites; Simone Martini, Giotto, Botticelli (also Avery’s request) , Michelangelo and da Vinci. Also see Rafael and Carravagio’s work. Andiamo!
Below I focused on the angel on the left of Giotto’s late medieval/gothic painting Ognissanti Madonna or Madonna Enthroned. Painted in 1310, it is often celebrated as the first painting of the Renaissance (and Giotto, 1266-1337, as the first painter of the Renaissance) due to its newfound naturalism.
We study Giotto and look at this piece as we are introduced to the Renaissance in Art II. What a beautiful example of a limited color palette this is.
This panel, The Annunciation with Saint Margaret and Saint Ansanus was painted in 1333, by Simone Martini 1284-1344. As I have mentioned, I love depictions of The Holy Spirit.
While looking at the depiction of the angel, I just shake my head at the beautifully rendered details. My eye flits around from the wings, to the blush of the face, to the raised letters exclaiming the news…the movement in the cape, the patterns throughout, the energy in the halo…
My heart warms to be with Avery as she stands admiring this piece, The Birth of Venus, 1486, Sandro Botticelli, 1445-1510. I am reminded of a visit long ago to the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Nonnie and I had taken Avery for her first visit when she was in kindergarten or first grade. While at the museum, she stood transfixed in front of a painting Joan of Arc by Jules Bastien-Lepage. The painting is huge, 100×110 inches. Bastien-Lepage depicts Joan in her parents’ garden, gazing up at the angels appearing to her. It is an exquisite painting and the expressiveness of the teenager is captivating. Avery gazed at it for minutes, the placement and size of the piece underscoring her smallness. Finally, she turned her head over her shoulder and said to with resolution, “Let’s get it.”
Primavera, Botticelli, late 1470’s or early 1480’s. It is often described as one of the most controversial and or written about paintings in the world as well as one of the most popular paintings in Western art. Along with The Birth of Venus, Botticelli depiction of subjects from classical mythology on a very large scale was virtually unprecedented in Western art since classical antiquity. And….we haven’t discussed the Medici family in a while…so let me add it is said both were commissioned by a member of the family.
Adoration of the Magi, 1475, dates from 1475 or 1476, early in Botticelli’s career. In the scene, numerous Medici are present: Cosimo, kneeling by the Virgin, his sons Piero, kneeling in the center with the red cape and Giovanni as the third Magus. Cosimo’s grandsons Giuliano and Lorenzo also make an appearance. The three Medici depicted as the Magi were dead at the time and Lorenzo the Magnificent was the power player. In much I have read, Botticelli, like many other major artists of the day, were daily fixtures at Palazzo Medici, some even taking up residence. The man gazing at us, far right, yellow cape…Sandro B. himself.
Who needs a pick me up? We do!
We decide to splurge with a sit-down snack on the terrazzo of the museo. Spritz for me, jolt of caffeine for A, acqua e dolce for both.
Spritz with a view…
Back in the museu, we make our other stops. I continued to share a bit of my love of Art History with mi figlia…I was getting a lot of “uh-huhs” so I kept it to a minimum.
Although showing her the da Vinci’s always in residence was a must of our/my list, both of us getting to see this recently restored piece was a special treat.
The Adoration of the Magi is an early painting, 1481, by Leonardo da Vinci, 1452-1519. Leonardo received the commission by Augustinian monks of San Donato a Scopeto in Florence, but as was his way, he left the painting unfinished when he departed for Milan the following year.
Admiring this piece, 97″x 96″, gives unique insight to the master’s process.
Exciting the Uffizi, you pass through bookstore after bookstore. It is very hard to not buy, buy, buy…but instead, I take a quick photo of a book I need to add to my Amazon Wish List..Palle! Palle! Palle!!!!
Yesterday or maybe the day before, we saw a new restaurant we wanted to try. It is over in the Santa Croceish area so we head that way for our aperitivo.
This is a type place I am hesitant to try. I feel like I am being disloyal to the True Firenze…whatever that means…I usually prefer quaint and authentic to new and slick, but as with ditta Artigianale, I was thrilled with that find, so we decide perche no to Foody Farm.
We love the decor of the interior. I took the photo of the light fixture just for you Carolyn…Avery and I thought you would like it.
Avery chooses a Rosè for us and we continue on this non-traditional path choosing steak tartare and pulled chicken tacos to munch on.
Roaming our way back towards the Arno, we pass this sign and Avery says, “Go Goats”. We keep walking a few more steps, then I return to take a photo of it. Avery said, “I wondered how many steps you’d take before you went back.” Oh I am SO predictable…For those unaware, our school district’s mascot is a goat…as well as a bit of a family joke…
As the sun sets, we are in no hurry and have zero agenda.
A bit later, we find ourselves on our street, but not ready to turn in for the night. We stop at a trattoria I had eyed for days. Each time I would approach, I’d tell myself, “If the outside table is empty…I’m sitting down.” This evening, it was empty.
We order due bicchieri di vino bianco and just enjoy.
I cross the via to take a shot of our spot and as I am taking the photo, the waiter rushes out and jumps in the shot with Avery.
Shortly after their “moment”…he reappears with an offering.
Ahhh… the benefits of traveling with the Young & Lovely!