Of Grits Half Kissed

After my week in Rome, my next destination was Florence, a city that for my money begins and ends with A Room With A View, my favorite movie of all time. (And a pretty good book, too, though the book is a bit more darkly sarcastic than its film version.)

Aside from its general merits (the movie’s wiki page has a fairly large list of awards), and some fairly specific scenes that I’m particularly fond of, the movie is probably my favorite because it so much resembles much of my upbringing.  My mother’s family was essentially the Honeychurch’s — a bunch of nice people sitting about in pleasant surroundings having nice conversation with really very little drama.  Our budget was significantly lower, of course.  Our family estate was not nearly so park-like, we were exceedingly short-staffed in the servant department, and I’m told that some members of our family even worked, if you can imagine such a thing.  But, despite all of that, I think it can be fairly said that an aimless state of general well-being is a shared characteristic between our two families, and it has certainly described my life as a whole. Even more so, now that I’ve retired to a modest life of travel. (Sadly, I don’t think I have a good matching character; I sit somewhere between Freddie Honeychurch and Cecil Vyse. Or I’d like to.)

With that said, the entire point of my post-Roman time in Italy was to see the half of the movie that I’d had no familiarity with, Florence, and to visit the places that I knew so well from my many viewings of the movie.  I spent rather a bit of time online looking for references for what real-world places corresponded to movie scenes, and eventually found this, Movie Tourist: A Room With A View, that described nearly all of them in detail. An invaluable resource.

But first, I have to get there.

Monday, February 8th

Rome is around the middle of Italy, and Florence is about 90 minutes north by train.

A fortunately comprehensive map, you can see not only the route I took, but also other major Italian cities, and my later route out through Bologna (north), down to Ancona on the coast, Split on the other side of the Adriatic, and Zagreb in the north east.

A fortunately comprehensive map, you can see not only the route I took, but also other major Italian cities, and my later route out through Bologna (north), down to Ancona on the coast, Split on the other side of the Adriatic, and Zagreb in the north east.

There are faster trains and slower ones, and I’d have been Ok with the slower one, but the faster one wasn’t any more expensive and, leaving at 11:00am, it got me there when it was convenient for my host Alvarez to meet me (after a 25 minute walk to her place from the station).

So, Max gave me a ride to the Circus Maximus subway station, on his way to work (after we took a brief detour to the nearer subway station that I’d planned on walking to, only to find it closed ?!?!?!), a ride during which I learned various things like Max was considering retiring from his tour coordinator job and just running an Airbnb hostel for income.  Given the rates of Airbnb places in Rome, I believe that’s possible.  The subway was crowded, but I got to the train station in plenty of time, had a bit of coffee and chocolate croissant while waiting, and caught the pleasantly well appointed train for Florence on time at 11.

The on board WiFi wasn't great, but if that's your only complaint on public transport then you're doing pretty well.

The on board WiFi wasn’t great, but if that’s your only complaint on public transport then you’re doing pretty well.

Pretty Italian countryside is pretty.

Pretty Italian countryside is pretty.

Arriving in Florence. There's a reason it wasn't called, "A Room With A View Of The Train Tracks". (Pretty sure Rammstein did the soundtrack for that one.)

Arriving in Florence. There’s a reason it wasn’t called, “A Room With A View Of The Train Tracks”. (Pretty sure Rammstein did the soundtrack for that one.)

Florence as a whole is a pretty big place, but the touristy bits are all concentrated within the old city walls. My train arrived at the Firenze station, a little northwest of the center of the map, and my Airbnb place was across the Arno, west and a bit south.

Florence as a whole is a pretty big place, but the touristy bits are all concentrated within the old city walls. (You can still see bits of them around: a Google Image search will show them at different stages of history, but a rough outline of the outer wall can be seen on the map above, in the yellow roadway above the river and the major white road connecting to it below the river.) My train arrived at the Firenze station, a little northwest of the center of the map, and my Airbnb place was across the Arno, west and a bit south.

My train arrived on schedule at about 12:22, and Google Maps guided me towards the Arno river and across it to my Airbnb, passing any number of shops, the American Consulate, and this:

The Hotel Argentina. You can check out any time you like, but they won't cry for you.

The Hotel Argentina. You can check out any time you like, but they won’t cry for you.

Speaking of Argentina, my host Alvarez came from there.  (Still does, I expect.) Apparently, her family was quite international, and her mother’s family comes from Italy, so she was staying there on a relative visa, working as a graphic designer.  Her Airbnb listing has a picture of her and of the room I was staying in.  (One day, these websites and listings I link to are going to start vanishing, and I’ll regret not having my own records and my own pictures of that-place-I-stayed-in-for-2-weeks-that-one-time. But I live in the now, and right now I’m too lazy to make them.)  Alvarez was delightful, spoke very good English, was very pleasant to talk to.  Her fridge had a tendency smell a little too strongly of decaying vegetables, but the internet was generally excellent, and I like her neighbors:

(For those unfamiliar, it's a play on an Offspring lyric. Great band, who provided my only mosh pit experience, which was crazy fun.)

(For those unfamiliar, it’s a play on an Offspring lyric. Great band, who provided my only mosh pit experience, which was crazy fun.)

There was another young lady staying in the other guest room. I’m not sure where she was from (some latinate country); we exchanged a few friendly words, but that was about it.  She may or may not have had a friend staying with her, possibly a “friend”. I never saw the friend, but I’d hear two women’s voices coming from her room sometimes.

This place was a bit of a mixed bag.  It was a nice enough place, on its own.  I should, of course, note that I had no view.  Other than the front of the building across the street.  But it was positioned maybe 3 doors away from an intensely busy roundabout (which you can see on the map above), and the traffic noise *never* stopped.  Well, I guess that’s not fair.  Between about 6:30am and 11pm it never stopped.  By around 11, it dropped to nothing, and I found that if I turned on my ambient noise app on a 2 hour timer when I went to sleep, that would get me through the initial night noise and everything would be quiet if I woke up during the night.  But all day long you’d hear traffic, slightly muffled by the windows.  I did get in a bit of time playing Fallout while I was there, and my earphones blocked it out well enough while playing, but it was really pushing my comfort zone during my stay.  I tried to lighten how I described it in my Airbnb review, but I just had a reread of that review and I notice that there have been no more reviews posted on the place since I stayed there.  I really do hope I’m not scaring people off. Proooobably not… it’s not like the previous reviews were back to back either.  Hrrm.  Curiously, she only has one listing up now; I guess she got a permanent roommate for the other room.

Well, anyway, moving on.  By the time I’d met Alvarez and gotten settled in, it was around 2-ish.  I walked around a tiny bit locally, picked up groceries at the grocery store, and just settled in for the evening.

The next 2 weeks

I’m going to compress everything into general description. I do have daily notes, but I’m not sure there’s any real need for the breakdown.  Florence was being chilly and windy and rainy most of the time I was there, and as much as I *love* weather, that’s exactly the sort of weather that makes you happy to stay indoors and appreciate it while you’re dry.  So my time in Florence broke down mostly into 3 categories:

  • Walk around and see A Room With A View Locations — and sometimes places that weren’t in A Room With A View.  (Pointless, I know, but I was there with time to kill, I had to do something.)
  • Internet or read or play Fallout in my Room Without A View.
  • Have lunch.

In reverse order:

Have lunch

There are typically 3 things tourists do when they travel: see sights, eat local food, and shop.  Shopping is largely out, for me, what with having no place for anything I buy, or any use for it on the road.  And, as for eating local food, I’ve mentioned before that I’m trying to keep the budget down so restaurant dining is something that I don’t do a lot of — any more than you would in your regular life.  Two week tourist trip? You eat out every meal. Daily life? Maybe twice a week.

So that’s pretty much how I’m treating all of these places.  So, I’m eating fruit and crackers and tea for breakfast in Italy (hard to find oatmeal in Italy, for some reason), maybe a sandwich for lunch, or sardines, and generally a salad for dinner. But I would occasionally have some very yummy local foods: there were a couple of deli-type places near me, that had pizza and pastries and sandwiches and some really great meat or veggie lasagnas, so I did have those.  My first day wandering around, I ended up near the Ponte Vecchio (more on that later) and had a great pizza and coffee at a local restaurant for €11.19 (about $12.62), and then stopped at a nearby gelato place only to be stunned by the €10 price tag.  Mind you, it was great gelato (2 scoops, coffee and walnut, in a large waffle cone, super yummy), but I’d never have sprung for it if I’d known it was just under the cost of my whole lunch.  But I made a tactical error buying from a shop right at the base of the Ponte Vecchio, a major tourist site.  Of course it was more expensive than the average neighborhood shop.  (I went to another shop several days later which also had *great* gelato, for maybe €3.50.  Much better.)

My second or third day, I was wandering around trying to find an Irish/British pub — and the one I found didn’t serve food, just drinks, which I found very disorienting.  Really? People come here in the middle of the day and *just* drink?  I’d say it must be nice, but I’m not really sure that it is.

I think it was the day after that, that I found The Lion’s Fountain Irish Pub (circled towards the right of the map above), and that place was great.

Just a placeholder pic From TripAdvisor, in case I can't find mine. I was never here at night, and the patio seating was better set up when I was there.

Just a placeholder pic from TripAdvisor, in case I can’t find mine. [Which I can’t. I could have sworn I took one.] I was never here at night, and the patio seating was better set up when I was there.

I went here maybe 5 times during my stay; I think I alternated between fish and chips and burgers, and Irish coffee and/or Guinness.  They had an outdoor seating area with an awning, and sitting under it, listening to the rain, reading, and watching the passersby, was great.

In drier weather, this interchange would be busier with pedestrians, diners at nearby places, and vegetable stand patrons. Mostly rain in this shot, which was how I liked it.

In drier weather, this interchange would be busier with pedestrians, diners at nearby places, and vegetable stand patrons. Mostly rain in this shot, which was how I liked it.

I did keep trying to go to a place that served boar, which I really wanted to try, but it was never open when I was passing.

I also found a Lindt chocolate shop — that’s a brand that I had seen in Asia, and it had become my go-to brand there. But it originates in Europe and has been pretty common here.  They have some very dark chocolate bars — I even tried one that was 99% chocolate.  The package warned that you would need a discerning taste to appreciate it — I suppose much as you would to appreciate the taste of charcoal, rust, or gunpowder.  Alas, I fear that my palate is not that refined, and I couldn’t really get past a couple of pieces before giving up on it.  But they had a brandy-filled milk chocolate bar that was OMG insanely good.  I visited that shop several times.

And that was pretty much it.  Grocery shopping yielded some amazing cheeses (Italy has really ruled in the cheese department, so far), some good vegetables (I vaguely remember produce being labeled something like “level 1” and “level 2”, and level 2 being pricier, so I gullibly tried to stick to level 2. Was it organic? Who could know?), and beer of no particular virtue.  There was probably better beer somewhere. I just didn’t see it.  With one exception:

Tennent's Super Strong Lager. Surprisingly tasty, for a lager, and 9% alcohol so good for a buzz.

Tennent’s Super Strong Lager, a Scottish beer. Surprisingly tasty, for a lager, and 9% alcohol so good for a buzz.

Internet or read or play Fallout in my Room Without A View

There was rather a lot of this, and it requires little elaboration.  As I say, it was often windy and chilly and rainy, and it made it easy to stay indoors.  No small number of hours were devoted to figuring out how to get to Split, Croatia, in any kind of optimal and inexpensive manner.  Eventually I settled on a couple of trains to get to Ancona on the coast, via Bologna, and an overnight ferry from Ancona to get to Split, but it meant arriving a day later than expected.  All these little European countries are so small and close together by the standards of the American west, that I just tend to assume you hop on a train and 5 hours later you’re there.  10 hours, if it’s on the other side of Europe.  Turns out? Not quite so close as all that.  And going up the Italian peninsula and down the Balkan one, through 3 countries, takes a while and a bunch of train changes.  And this was the off season so most of the ferries weren’t running, just Jadrolinija. Well, I figured it all out eventually.

I did get a book read during the down time, Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman, in my room and down at the pub.TriggerWarning

As the cover implies, this is a collection of Neil’s short stories, and they tend to revolve around the unexpected.  I expect a few of them would be scary to some people — I mostly just found them to be interesting and enjoyable reads.  Although Click-Clack the Rattlebag is perhaps a bit scarier than the others and worth listening to the audio version of, on a dark, wintry night.  (I was reading the Kindle version, but I’d downloaded the audio for that story when it was free at Halloween a couple of years ago.)  But other stories are completely innocuous, and if you’re disinclined to read horror books, you need have no fear of this one.  If I remember his forward correctly, the “Trigger Warning” title more relates to the value of reading things that you aren’t prepared for, not that anything in the stories themselves are likely to be traumatic triggers. Though your mileage may vary on that one — which is rather the point.

By the way, how rainy was it really?  There’s a spot in the Arno where the the river flows over a ledge — you may perhaps recall Miss Honeychurch’s blood-stained photographs being sent washing down it in the movie.  The day after I arrived, I walked towards the city center and followed a riverside path for much of the way:

Heading south, along the path down near river level. The city center is on the other side, and you can see the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore in the distance and the tower of the Palazzo Vecchio (the town hall of Florence).

Heading south, along the path down near river level. The city center is on the far side, and you can see the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore in the distance and the tower of the Palazzo Vecchio (the town hall of Florence).  Up river, you can see the white line of the falls.

Here are those small falls closer up, from a bridge over the river. It's a cute, scenic, little drop. The river flows over the ledge on the left, but the right side is dry.

Here are those small falls closer up, from a bridge over the river. It’s a cute, scenic, little drop. The river flows over the ledge on the left, but the right side of the ledge is dry.

Here I've walked out onto the dry side of the ledge.

Here I’ve walked out onto the dry side of the ledge. All very serene.

Here is that peaceful little ledge 6 days later:

It turns out that the Arno is rather unpredictable, and Florence periodically floods.  There was a whole exhibit in the Santa Croce cathedral complex about the massive flood in 1966 that rose up over the river walls and flooded the city, reaching over 22 feet high in the Santa Croce area (where much of ARWAV was shot). It was the worst flood since 1557 (and possibly the first not blamed on the Jews).

High water marks, from the interior of the Cathedral of Santa Croce.

High water marks, from the interior of the Cathedral of Santa Croce.

Got to say, it’s a bit nervous making, hanging out in a city known for massive floods, and watching the river rise day after day.  Thankfully, I’m a nomad, so if the worst tragedy struck the city, I’d be free to just leave.  Wait, that came out wrong.  Anyway, the rain let up a bit, and the river started to drop, and all was well again.  Getting used to that sort of thing is probably good practice for me, since where I plan to finally retire is super likely to get seriously wrecked in my lifetime.

Out of the Room, Viewing

So, as I mentioned earlier, I found this website a great help in planning my ARWAV sight seeing list.  (Though I think the original phrase is “sight seeing”, that must be rather hard on the blind.  I’ve also seen “site seeing” used, which seems more appropriate as one could then be equally engaged in “site hearing” and “site smelling” — a thing that actually does feature in ARWAV. Still, I am not blind, and all of my sites were also sights, and you should generally assume that I applied most of my senses in appreciating them, to greater or lesser extents.)

I had thought I might have to slowly step through the movie, capturing specific screen shots to compare with reality, but the chap who made that website already copied screen shots from the movie so I shall just recycle his.  It’s not like the pics I’d pull are any different.

For overview, here’s the map I constructed in my CityWalks app (a great little tool for walking tours and information about what you’re seeing):

For some reason, the little pins are dropped slightly below where they should be. So the (1) pin, for my Airbnb place, is too low, the (2) pin, for my first stop should be across the river, etc. But it gives you the idea.

For some reason, the little pins are dropped slightly below where they should be. So the (1) pin, for my Airbnb place, is too low, the (2) pin, for my first stop should be across the river, etc. But it gives you the idea.  I should mention that this wasn’t a single walk, it’s just to show where these places are.

The Pensione Bertolini (Pin 2)

This is actually two places, because the interior location, and the “bad” view at the beginning, are taken from a hotel on the east side of the river, while the “good” view comes from a private residence on the west side on the river, looking across the Arno towards the east.  I considered staying at the hotel, but it was *really* not cheap.  It has long since changed ownership and been renovated, after being bombed in ’93 (for reasons I’m sure were unrelated to the quality of the view), and there’s little to really distinguish it at this point.    Still…

Lucy, looking out upon disappointment.

Lucy, looking out upon disappointment.

The alley she looks down upon.

The alley she looks down upon.

The hotel window that she looks down from.

The hotel window that she looks down from. Judging by the perspective, I’d guess it was the top one.

Since the good view comes from a private residence, there’s no good way to capture that:

The titular view. Heh. Titular. Heh heh heh.

The titular view. Heh. Titular. Heh heh heh.

But in my second week there, I ended up at the Piazzale Michelangelo, at the lower right of my map above, and got this shot, which I’m going to call good enough.

That'll do, pig. That'll do.

That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.

It should be noted that right next to the Pensione is the Ponte Vecchio, a bridge over the Arno that still has shops along it, as was once common.

This bridge with shops on it is one of the most famous sights of Florence, which I regard in the same light as I do the fame of the Mona Lisa, a small painting of a woman. Why it's particularly meaningful to anyone is beyond me (beyond any emotional content that you bring with you, like 'We had our honeymoon here, it was magical!" and such).

This bridge with shops on it is one of the most famous sights of Florence, which I regard in the same light as I do the fame of the Mona Lisa, a small painting of a woman. Why it’s particularly meaningful to anyone is beyond me (beyond any emotional content that you bring with you, like ‘We had our honeymoon here, it was magical!” and such).

You can see the interior of the bridge, with the shops, through the courtesy of Google Images.  And Google Images has some nice shots of the place, exceedingly well lit and color adjusted, that make it look quite pretty.  So, there’s that.

¯\ _(ツ)_/¯

A brief diversion: I call this, "Flattering Your Patron".

A brief diversion: I call this, “The Wise Sculptor Flatters Their Patron”.

On the other side of the Ponte Vecchio (the west side), I wandered the alleyways a bit and stumbled across a nice little corner church.

For lack of a better name, I'm going to call this St Hole In The Wall's. Despite the dimness, it had a very comfortable feel. Like it was an unassuming neighborhood church, that real working people went to. I liked it.

For lack of a better name, I’m going to call this St Hole In The Wall’s. Despite the dimness, it had a very comfortable feel. Like it was an unassuming neighborhood church, that real working people went to. I liked it.

St Shiny's, nearby, was much better lit, but much less personal feeling. Not really a fan of this one.

St Shiny’s, nearby, was much better lit, but much less personal feeling. Not really a fan of this one.

Even the cool D&D diorama they had set up on the side did not win me over.

Even the cool D&D diorama they had set up on the side did not win me over.

It was just after this that I found the lunch place I mentioned earlier, where I had a very nice pizza and coffee and read for a bit, before going on to overpay for gelato.

Piazza della Santissima Annunziata (Pin 7)

Following the movie (roughly), there are scenes of walking about Florence, and one of the first sites is the Piazza della Santissima Annunziata.

"Every city has it's own smell."

“Every city has its own smell.”

There were bits under construction, and a lot of folks loitering about in a strange way that suggested a connection to some welfare program. But the commented-upon statue of Fernando is in it, and it still manages to be pretty.

There were bits under construction, and a lot of folks loitering about in a strange way that suggested a connection to some welfare program. But the commented-upon statue of Fernando is in it, and it still manages to be pretty.

Fernando, closer up. It has occurred to me many times in this year's travel that America is really lacking in statues of famous people. The East Coast has some, but still not nearly the same density, and the West Coast is largely bereft of them. Though, given our likelihood of creating statues of Bush and Trump, it's probably just as well.

Fernando, whom Eleanor Lavish salutes, closer up. It has occurred to me many times in this year’s travel that America is really lacking in statues of famous people. The East Coast has some, but still not nearly the same density, and the West Coast is largely bereft of them. Though, given our likelihood of creating statues of Bush and Trump, it’s probably just as well.

Basilica di Santa Croce (pin 6)

The major cathedral in the movie is Santa Croce, and there are several little vignettes shot in it.

The exterior.

The exterior.

I bet interesting things get done in this square outside the church. Not while *I'm* there, of course, but at other times.

I bet interesting things get done in this square outside the church. Not while *I’m* there, of course, but at other times.

The layout of Santa Croce. Most of it is accessible to the public, and reasonably priced compared to a lot of places.

The layout of Santa Croce. Most of it is accessible to the public, and reasonably priced compared to a lot of places.

You’ll see that the suggested visiting time is 30-40 minutes.  I scoff at their suggestions, and was here for 2 hours.

The interior

The interior

It's surprisingly hard to get a perspective match for these shots. I bet the differences between lenses and placements of movie cameras and iPhone cameras has something to do with it. But I think this one worked.

It’s surprisingly hard to get a perspective match for these shots. I bet the differences between lenses and placements of movie cameras and iPhone cameras has something to do with it. But I think this one worked.

Here’s a pano from the entrance, which in the picture above is down the hall on the left side:

You can see the walls are line with monuments and plaques, and the crossy-bit on the left has walls covered with paintings, as do the little alcoves on each side of it.

You can see the walls are line with monuments and plaques, and the crossy-bit on the left has walls covered with paintings, as do the little alcoves on each side of it.

This cathedral has 3 main attributes: (1) it’s big and pretty, (2) it has some apparently famous wall paintings by Giotto (and others) in its 16 chapels (what you or I would call “alcoves”, or perhaps “walk in closets where I store all my catholic iconography”), and (3) lots of famous dead people are buried here.  You can see a bunch of their tombs here, but here are a few I liked:

The monument to Dante, where Miss Honeychurch is accosted by an overeager prospective tour guide.

The monument to Dante, where Miss Honeychurch is accosted by an overeager prospective tour guide.

Dante's monument. Not a tomb, it turns out, as he was in exile when he died. But, forgive and forget I guess.

Dante’s monument for reals. Not a tomb, it turns out, as he was in exile when he died and his actual body isn’t here. But, forgive and forget I guess.

Seems a bit understated for DaVinci, but, hey, it's here.

Seems a bit understated for DaVinci, but, hey, it’s here.

That's more like it. Turns out, Michelangelo is big in Florence.

That’s more like it. Turns out, Michelangelo is big in Florence.

They must have liked Galileo too.

They must have liked Galileo too. Even if the Church officials didn’t.

Yay, physics!

The cheeriest guy in the cathedral. Yay, physics!

The inventor of the radio certainly deserves a mention.

The inventor of the radio certainly deserves a mention.

"Lucia, the Church has granted your father a tomb in the Great Cathedral. His name will be immortal!"

“Lucia, the Church has granted your father a tomb in the Great Cathedral. His name and works will be immortal!”

Of course, there are other things besides tombs, here:

The crossy bit at the end. Undeniably pretty; the wall paintings were mostly concentrated on this end of the church.

The crossy bit at the end. Undeniably pretty; the wall paintings were mostly concentrated on this end of the church.

One of the chapels on the side. It was in one of these that Mr Emerson incommodes the Reverend Eager, but I'm not quite sure which chapel it was. I didn't take the time to grab stills of its walls, and, honestly, one fat man floating up in the sky like an air balloon looks much like another.

One of the chapels on the side, the Cappella Bardi. It was in one of these that Mr Emerson incommodes the Reverend Eager, but I’m not quite sure which chapel it was. I didn’t take the time to grab movie stills of that chapel’s walls so that I could correctly identify it — but, honestly, one fat man floating up in the sky like an air balloon looks much like another. But I’m modestly certain it was this one, as the bit of floor George Emerson drops to his knees on (see the 36 second mark in the video above) would have behind and to the right of me as I took this, based on the angle.

I did recognize some of the chapel names from the intrusive tour guide’s dialog, like the “Cappella Bardi” above.  So that was cool.

I would just like to note that I have never seen a portrayal of the Annunciation (where an angel tells Mary that she's carrying the illegitimate son of God), where she looks happy about it. Here, she's pulling away from the angel. I've seen boredom, reluctance, disgust, pulling back, fleeing. Not *one* where she looks pleased by the prospect. And I saw a *lot* of them in Italy.

I would just like to note that I have never seen a portrayal of the Annunciation (where an angel tells Mary that she’s carrying the son of God — surprise!), where she looks happy about it. Here, she’s pulling away from the angel. I’ve seen boredom, reluctance, disgust, pulling back, fleeing. Not *one* where she looks pleased by the prospect. And I saw a *lot* of them in Italy. Mind you, this seems like a fairly realistic take on a woman being given this news in a culture where they’re likely to stone you to death for having a child not your husband’s, but I still can’t help but feel that it’s a real failure of the iconography. Inspirational considerations aside, village carpenter’s wife to Divine Mother is a hell of a promotion, she could show a little appreciation.

"Flower deliveries are around back, at the servant's entrance."

“Flower deliveries are around back, at the servant’s entrance.”

On the other side, here's one of the rare Madonna & Child pieces where they actually seem to have affection for each other. I'm not sure Medieval artists were really into the whole "human emotions" thing. (And, really, who can blame them.)

On the other side, here’s one of the rare Madonna & Child pieces where they actually seem to have affection for each other. I’m not sure Medieval artists were really into the whole “human emotions” thing. (And, really, who can blame them.)

Not to be self-aggrandizing or anything, but looking at this did remind me of another picture:

Let's all take a moment to consider the upper body strength the young woman on the left must have developed.

Let’s all take a moment to consider the upper body strength the young woman on the left must have developed.  Very impressive!

Moving on.

I don't remember the Bible mentioning The Orgy On The Mount, but who am I to question Catholic paintings?

I don’t remember the Bible mentioning The Orgy On The Mount, but who am I to question Catholic paintings?

No matter how divine you are, eating beneath a painting of your own crucifixion must be bad for the digestion.

No matter how divine you are, eating beneath a painting of your own crucifixion must be bad for the digestion.

"Move it to the left. A little more... almost there."

“Move it to the left. A little more… almost there.”

(When St Peter kicks me back down to hell, pretty sure he’s going to point to that last comment. But only ’cause it’ll be an easy example.)

In the 10th hour of Christ's sermon, only the angels were still awake.

In the 10th hour of Christ’s sermon, only the angels were still awake.

"Now, Mr Bond, I shall explain my plan for world domination. And then you shall die."

“Now, Mr Bond, I shall explain my plan for world domination. And then you shall die.”

 

Intermission

Well it appears that I was hopelessly naive in assuming that I could fit my 2 weeks in Florence into a single post.  I mean, maybe I could keep going, but I’m up to 4500 words already and I’ve still got at least 2 major movie locations to capture and even a few non-movie-related things.  Plus, this has been a slow one to write and my circulation is not being well served by all the sitting time. And my butt hurts.  So, the rest will have to be saved for next time.

As I write this, it’s the morning of Saturday, May 21st.  Monday, at around noon, I fly to Edinburgh, Scotland, where I will be for 8 days, and then I head to southern Ireland on the 31st for my nearly 3 months there.  I can’t promise to get the next update out before Ireland — I have every hope that I’ll be busy for most of my Edinburgh week. But it will be as soon as I can manage.

And, as a parting gift, I will leave you with two things.  First, this note:

BTW, this popped up in my Twitter feed as I was writing this blog, taking synchronicity to a whole new level.

Posted by @bill_easterly (referencing @benphillips76), “The richest families in Florence in 1427 are still the richest families in Florence in 2011.” This popped up in my Twitter feed as I was writing this blog, taking synchronicity to a whole new level.

We’ll see more of this in the Medici museum, next post.

And, finally, this video, which is wonderful and amazing.

Until next time.

 

 

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3 Responses to Of Grits Half Kissed

  1. Florida says:

    Really? Eating at an Irish pub in Florence? I hope you plan on eating Italian food when you go to Ireland.

    • Charles says:

      Hmmm, interesting point. I always try to find an Irish pub in the cities I visit, but that’s hardly noteworthy in Ireland. I should try to find a sushi place, at least.

  2. Olive Biggerstaff says:

    “An aimless state of general wellbeing” couldn’t describe my life any better! You are the master of words. Love reading your blogs. Keep it up and stay safe.
    Love, Aunt Olive

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