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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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September 26, 2009

Wednesday - Three Places Visited and All Enjoyable

Please note:  Just in case you didn't catch it in my posting e-mail (or if you're not on my e-mail list, there are no photos with this post because I seem to have lost them, which is a real bummer.  I have one more slim hope that I may have left a small memory card at my hotel in Florence, but probably not...I'm pondering a return trip at least to the Orsanmichele.
My first stop was the Orsanmichele. It started out as a building with a loggia on the bottom with a granary on top to hold grain for the city during sieges. Then in the 1300's the loggia arches were filled in and the building became a church. Where each arch was there is now a sculpture and each of the sculptures were paid for by one of the various guilds in the city and so represents that guild. There are 14 of them, 3 on two sides, and 4 on the other two sides. And wonder of wonders, they actually had an information board in English that told you what each statue was. My son will be very proud of me – I copied down the diagram with names and then went out and photographed each one! The interior is small in comparison to the cathedrals, but the altar is absolutely gorgeous, gothic rather than Renaissance. This was a nice visit.

Then on to the Musee de L'Opera which has nothing to do with opera. It's sort of like the attic of the duomo. I wanted to see all the stuff about the making of the dome – tools, models, Brunellleschi's death mask...and there are lots of other things there also. I loved this museum – I did the audio tour but finally gave up on that (I couldn't seem to find the next room after the first three or four) and just wandered through the rooms. When I did manage to discover a room's number, then I would listen a bit, but she talked more than I do! There was lots of statuary (a lot taken from the cathedral during its many refurbishings), the original panels of Ghiberti's “Gates of Paradise” baptistery doors (although only four were on display at the time), and lots of models and drawings that were submitted in the various dome competitions.

Next stop was the Bargello museum built (or finished) in 1255 (I'm so amazed at the age of everything here) which started out as a police station, then was used as a prison. And now it's a great museum which just proves "waste not, want not". It's a museum of sculpture. Again, there was no guide, but I did have a guidebook Antonio lent me that told me what to look for although it was 2006 and it's amazing how much they've rearranged things since then! There were two statues of David, both on a life size scale rather than like huge Michealangelo's 17 foot David. TNot that the names probably mean anything to very many of us but one was by Donatello (who I am getting to know) and the other by Verrocchio and like Verrocchio's best of all three Davids. I also found the two door panels that were submitted by Brunelleschi and Ghiberti for the baptistery doors. Ghiberti's was chosen and much as I love Brunelleschi's dome, I have to say I would have chosen Ghiberti's too. Oh, and another statue that is in this museum is the one of Mercury that is FTD's logo. I knew their symbol was a picture ofa real statue, but it kind of tickled when I walked into the room and there he was – felt like I was in a florist's shop. It's a beautiful statue though...very graceful.

I came back home a different way, finally crossing the fourth and final bridge over the Arno, which meant I had a walk through a new area which I enjoy. It finally brought me to the Pitti Palace and then I was on familiar grou

For dinner, I had bought a pint of real pretty strawberries and on the way home from my outing, Ibought a hunk of salty foccaccio, then some asiago cheese at a neighborhood store and went to the Santo Spirito Piazza to eat it and work on the blog a little. There are a number of small restaurants there and I've been eating dinner at them so far. I went to one of them to see about getting a glass of wine to drink cause I'd seen people sitting on the church steps,etc. with wine in wine glasses. He said sure and came back with this little thin plastic cup like they use at some water coolers – the sort that kind of squish if you hold them too firmly. And then told me that for me it would be 3E. I wasn't sure what he meant and he said oh, usually it's 5E but for you 3. Thing is I think most of the time I've only paid about 4E for a ¼ liter of wine which is 2 glasses, so that's my first time of feeling ripped off.


vrmichie said...

But where's the pictures?

Actually, I'm amazed you're keeping up with your blog as well as you are. You sure must be exhausted by the end of the day but pleasantly so. Glad you're having such good weather. xoxo

Christopher said...

Woohoo... The Orsanmichele! Feel free to bring back an English language guidebook of that, if such a thing exists! ;)
Sorry to hear about the photos---have you figured what you did, that lost them? If you can avoid this---don't fully erase or "reformat" your camera chips, unless you must---because sometimes you can actually recover "deleted" images with other software... worth a try when you get home, perhaps.

Mary Lynne said...

I need to put in a little note that I LOST them - they have disappeared from my memory card and from my computer. I had typed up the post before I knew that...

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