Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Year Ago Today

A year ago today I spent nearly the entire day alone in Florence. My friends left in the morning after breakfast, and I left the guesthouse where we were staying shortly after. According to my journal entry, I was feeling exhausted by 2:45. My tired feet got mention more than once, as I was walking pretty much the entire time after the fifteen-minute-at-most bus ride into the center.

I also mention how much encounters with rude people can affect one's day. I wasn't able to reach any of my friends via telephone, and I was having trouble getting the public phones to work. I had also learned that getting out to my friends' house in Strove was going to be costlier and more complicated than I expected.

At one point I wrote, "The song title 'O Sactissima' comes to my mind, even though I don't know the music. It changes to 'O Stanchissima,' though! I am so tired in my legs and feet." (Sanctissima means very holy; stanchissima means very tired.)

The redeeming moments of the long day were talking with the artists near the Duomo, buying a backpack I'd found a few days earlier, and eating wonderful peach and berry gelato.

At the end of my entry for this day, I wrote about how tumultuous the past two years had been, knowing my job might end, having it end, working in a less than stable situation, moving to the new house, etc. Even the trip to Italy had come up rather suddenly as a possibility. My last two sentences are, "It is nice to be away. I don't think I've even thought that until just now."

Well, it was lovely to be away, and here are some photos taken after the ones from the previous post.

Carolyn and I spent the morning in the Oltrarno (literally "across the Arno" river) section of the city. Of course we crossed the Arno via the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge.)

No, it's not a taxidermy shop, but a sandwich shop. And they did serve wild boar meat as one possible ingredient.

Santo Spirito, the church of the Holy Spirit.

We met back with Carolyn's husband and granddaughter at the Piazza Signoria.

And suddenly the skies turned dark!

And torrential rain began, and people were getting soaked. We huddled under the Loggia for protection with hundreds of others. Soon we were getting wet there, because of the strong wind, so we crossed the street to stand under the porch of the Uffizi. It didn't really make much difference.

We bought rain ponchos from the vendors who had suddenly appeared out of nowhere, slogged our way down the street to a trattoria for lunch. Wet and bedraggled, we were seated. The rain stopped within ten minutes.

And the skies were blue and beautiful the rest of the day, except for another downpour later in the afternoon as we were leaving a DaVinci exhibit.

And blue and beautiful that evening. (I know it's blurry, but I think the color's worth it.)

The next day we saw the Casa di Dante,

spent a good bit of time in the Boboli Gardens,

and defied gravity walking up from the guesthouse to the church of San Miniato, just in time to hear the last several minutes of the monks singing their evening prayer service.

San Miniato way up on the hill, seen from the other side of the river (taken that morning),

and Florence seen from inside San Miniato (taken that evening.)

This is from the day when my feet were so tired. I had sat down to rest near one of the old city gates. If you look closely, you can see that the tiny white speck about 2/3 of the way down, in the center, is a soccer ball!

When I first went to live in Florence, my friend Jay said, "Always remember to look up. If you don't look up, you'll miss so much beauty." This is a part of the city I'd walked through countless times back in those days, but until a year ago, I'd never looked up at this particular point. Jay was right.

From the steps of San Miniato, from my journal.


Lucy said...

So beautiful, and beautifully recorded. I do long for Italy. Who knows, one day we may meet up there...

Sheila said...

Oh, that would be lovely, Lucy. Let's hope so!