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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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December 05, 2017

Tuesday and just two more days to go...

I was a little slow getting out today and then managed to have a struggle getting to my destination.  Having been here so many times I tend to think I know my way around but really I don't - except for around the duomo and from that area to Via Faenza, the street where I've stayed on 2 of my visits.  I had on my list to do for today 2 more museums, but I had forgotten that they both closed at 1:00.  The first one is the Science Museum which has a lot to do with Galileo so I stopped in there at about noon and confirmed that 1 hour wasn't really enough time but did discover that they only close at 1:00 on Tuesdays (naturally!)  So then I went to the second one which is the personal collection of Hubert Horne which he turned over to the City of Florence in his will.  Turns out they were open till 2:00 and so I went ahead and "did" that one and aside from absolutely freezing to death, it was enjoyable.  I think there was one other person there and one girl who spoke quite good English and kept me going in the right direction.  A majority of it, I'd say, was religious art, but there were a lot of wood pieces of furniture and the last room, particularly, was fascinating.

So I'll start the tour at the beginning...well, I'll start it with my rambling, "where in the world am I?" start.
 One of those twisting streets that are so inviting...
 And I know I have a picture of this facade on a post from one of my other trips, but I think it's delightful so here it is again.
 This was at the Palazzo Vecchio which Chris and I toured our first visit to Florence.  I think there's going to be some event taking place there because this load looked like those black boxes of loudspeaker equipment.  And you can see it in the picture but looking up at the window I could see a tiny part of one of the very ornate ceilings that are in every room in this palace.

Now we start the tour of the Museo Horne:  Hubert Percy Horne was born in London in 1864 and took up residence permanently in Florence late in the 19th century and purchased his small palazzo permanently in 1911, dying in 1916.  He endeavored with the refurbishing of his palazzo and with his wide-ranging collections to create a perfect example of the kind of dwelling in which a Renaissance noble or wealthy merchant might have lived.  After his death, two of his friends carried out the remainder of the work per the instructions left in his will.  His will also stipulated that the building with the collections be given to the Italian state.  That's what the little booklet they give you says and that's what I've read in my guidebook.  But the girl at the desk said the building the collection is in is not the one he lived in.  But then she may not have understood my question clearly.  At any rate, I don't think it anymore reflects how a wealthy person would have lived mainly because there are no beds at all!  All of the rooms contain collections of art, various pieces of wood furniture, some statuary, etc.  But his house or not, it was a very generous gift to Italy.
 She's a wood carving from the 13th century!  So old and so lovely.
A pretty and sturdy cradle for the bambini.
 So very much of the art was, of course, religious art and I didn't take too many pictures of that.  But I liked this one because of its simplicity and small size.  The book says it portrays Mary Magdelene, the Archangel Raphael, Tobias and a donor.  It sure looks like two women to me.
 The book called this a knight stepping on the conquered.  Actually the horse is stepping on the conquered and I don't think knights were normally naked. :)
 I loved this one - a really strange picture I thought especially since I thought it was called "Paris Reading" and there was no book.  In checking just now I see it is "Paris Reclining" so it's not nearly as much fun.
 I'm not sure what the blue thing is and I'm not sure how it was crafted - I think it might have been some kind of mesh weaving and maybe even with very, very fine wire.  At any rate, it's pretty stunning.
 And this sad young woman is "The Virgin Annunciate".  I think the face is so lovely and appropriate - I imagine she was fairly troubled.

 Oh, and I loved this one too.  This is "Venus and Cupid" and what I like about it is how utterly the expression on Venus's face says "it sure gets boring being so beautiful..."
 Way too dark - I took a close up below of the inlay work

 And two more interesting busts of women.  Aside from Mary and mythical figures like Venus, there is I think a dearth of statuary of just women.  These two are very appealing.

And this is St. Paul carved in wood and actually painted somewhat.  
 A gorgeous backgammon board (or at least it looks like that).  There is a checkerboard on the other side but it's just black and white squares.
 A very blackened copper pot but you can see that it has a hammered design in it and must have been a favorite pot of some lucky housewife.
 This and the one below is a coin cabinet!  It's wood with embossed and gilded leather.  It would be so neat to own something like this.  I've never seen anything like it before.

 Just a lovely piece of furniture
The top picture is ink on paper (one of my favorite forms of artwork) and portrays Moses breaking the ten commandments. 
 All the floors were these glazed terra cotta tiles and most every room had the entrance door - an normal sized arched door and then a small arched door like the one seen in this photo.  I'm curious why...
 The last room was the most interesting to me because it is filled with things we use today but of course, for the most part, very different from what we use.  Some of these look like drawing aids - angles, protractors, etc. (Horne was an architect) and then all the knives...
 The girl that kind of stayed nearby to answer questions and commiserate with me on how insanely cold it was inside, told me that women pulled these ivory things through their hair.  I don't even know what that could mean but that's what she said.  She also said the one of the right has a dragon figure on it and the mouth can open for the lady to put in a little perfume.  The ivory cylinder is also a perfume container.
 and this is a little mirror framed in a gorgeous ivory frame.  I love ivory!
 this display case held needlework items - these scissors with cases, the thimbles below and part of a measuring "stick" which even though I can't believe I can only assume was made of ivory - they didn't have plastic back then!

 This gorgeous gold thing has a spindle underneath where that handle is and you turn it to wrap thread or wire around the spindle.  I didn't exactly understand that one either.
 And finally, there was a kitchen type place with these great pots sitting next to an ancient stove as seen below
 The solid burner is just that - a solid burner.  The grill work one has four round small knobs that sit up above the grillwork so the pot would not have much contact with the hot metal.
 Old spoons...
 Old forks...
 Wonderful ivory handled silverware...And that's all the pictures from that museum.

They told me there was a video in a room on the ground floor so I went to see that and if I have time I'm going to go back and ask them if I could just see that again without paying and maybe even pay again to see it.  It was the most fantastic thing I've ever seen.  There is a painted portrait of Hubert looking very "arty" and they have made a video with that painting.  He's sitting sideways in a chair not facing the camera in the painting and with some astonishing computer work (I suppose that's what it is), he turns and talks to you, blinks his eyes, the lips match the words, he occasionally reached out past the frame with his hand to touch something or to put a piece of paper he's talking about on the wall.  It's just really incredible.  The only problem was they didn't get the sound as good as the video because it was hard to understand - I don't know if it was too loud, or too echo-y in the stone room or what but I didn't catch everything that was said.  Really neat experience though.

Walking back, I stopped to watch a family taking pictures of each other in this Pinnochio thing and decided to be silly and ask them if they would take one of me.  They seemed very happy to do that so here I am - Pinnochio with glasses.

 And a sweet little bambino going to have a ride on the carousel.

I am getting pretty tired and should get to sleep so I won't go on much about the cooking class.  It was fine and the food we cooked was quite tasty but the chef spoke an awful lot of Italian which kind of left me having no idea what he was talking about.  There were four of us and one of the other three was from Canada so spoke English, but she's taking Italian classes and so tried to talk in Italian with the chef a lot.  But we made tagliatelle noodles with a tomato based sauce that we added quarters of young artichokes to and let them simmer.  The sauce had garlic and basil.  The sauce for the tagliatelle was a mushroom sauce with fresh white mushrooms and reconstituted porcini ones.  We also made biscotti which was like no biscotti I've ever seen at home so don't know if it turned out the right way or not.

And then I managed to walk home without getting mixed up!!!  And now bona notte.

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