I headed out to Chisea Oggnisanti – appropriately all saints church – and took a fairly slow route, not in any particular rush, as it was a wednesday and it wasn’t like it would be closed. Just a wander through the streets of florence.
I came across another church – I mean, florence isn’t as infested as Rome, but if you walk 3 blocks and take a few random turns and you haven’t come across a church then at some point you have fallen into the river. I was going to pop inside, but they had some kind of service on.
Weird, I thought.
I then continued on and eventually got to Chis Ogg, and went saw some obvious tourists entering and exiting, so went inside.
Where a church service was in progress.
November 1 is, as it turns out, some kind of public/religious holiday/festival in Italy. This caused some moderately interesting times.
Looking at the signs, the service had started about 40 mins ago, so I could wait it out; it took about another 20 or 30 minutes. Unlike quite a few of the tourists, I waited outside because obviously. I (and others) had one or two false re-entries, as groups trickled out – including most of the nuns – before it finished, but eventually they were done.
Chisea Oggnisanti is where Botticelli – my favourite artist – and Simonetta Vespuchi – his muse and almost assuredly illicit lover – are buried. It also, like most italian churches, contains some pretty good art. I guess that’ll happen when you’re in the art capital of the world and extremely talented artists are in your congregation.
The ceiling is also pretty extraordinary.
That ceiling is completely flat; you can see a line of black dashes along the side – that’s actually a couple of centimetres from the top, all of the light grey stuff is just a perspective trick.
Visited B and Sim; there was a section open that hadn’t been last time I was here where someone or other famous was buried as well. Took a few pictures, determined that (once again) getting in to the last super wasn’t a going concern, and left.
Again wasn’t n a rush to go to anything, so took a fairly leisurely wander back. Ended up on this street
where someone was in driving hell, or as it is known locally, ‘Florence’.
I actually had to step into a doorway so they could not whack me with their mirror, after they’d just done about an 18 point turn to turn onto this street, and they looked so flustered and lost.
I came back here, and headed out to do some shopping.
A lot of the stalls have this weird off-putting habit of showing you a thing, and when you ask the price they say something like ’42 – but for you 37. No, actually, today 34′.
If you’re going to pretend I’m getting a bargain, you have to give me time to haggle and think I’m winning. I’m sure I could have pushed them down more, but it’s just such a weirdly tactic.
Ended up buying the things from a nice italian gent who told me his (identical to the random auto discount store) product was 25, and when I asked for a deal saying ‘No is just 25’ which – look I could probably have tried to push but the simple nature of the transaction was appealing.
After dropping that stuff off at base, I headed to the Medici chapel. It’s super close to the hotel, and although not the most exciting thing in the city it is just very nice.
The ceiling in the upstairs chapel is an un-capped dome; presumably it was built before the main cathedral, as it’s not like the Medici wouldn’t have been able to pay for whatsisname to do the cap-trick.
(The dome of florence cathedral –
was the first fully closed dome built (ever? certainly in the west). Turns out if you’re not clever, when you close a dome it has a tendency to crack and collapse in on itself.
The scale of the Medici chapel is still pretty amazing.
Just an incredible set of expenses must have gone into it.
Maximus always hated judging the ‘Best Butt in Rome’ contests’
My next stop was off to an exhibition I had almost wandered into earlier in the day, celebrating…well actually I’m not strictly sure. It was ‘Firenze Cinquecento’ but that would be 500 years of florence and florence goes back to before 1517 so…???
This was at ~5 or 6. And florence was *crazy* busy.
The area around Il Duomo and the major streets leading to the other big squares were jammed with people. I assume it was because of all saints day, but it was absurdly busy – not quite shoulder to shoulder but not far off.
And people were trying to drive though these streets. Some of them were honking furiously, which it turns out is an inefficient method of going through 5000 people, especially as those 5 meters away can neither see nor hear your car. You might as well get out.
Which (and sadly I didn’t take a picture) on taxi driver did – parked across two lanes of traffic on a theoretical road and I have no idea where the driver was. Probably having a smoke a few meters away, but he sure gave zero damns about the other cars trying to get around him if so.
Anyway, the exhibition.
Exhibition was mostly art up to about the 17th or 18th century. Nothing outrageously good, but some nice art. I’d have bought some posters or something from the shop, if only anything in the shop related to the exhibition.
Dear museums: Dance with the one who brung you. I don’t need, at this exhibition, 15 different postcards of David, or of Birth of Venus, or the god-damn Mona Lisa. I mean, sure, have a small amount of that so people with diarrhoea of the brain can be dreadfully uncreative, but sell me nice things about the things I just saw!
This one is interesting due to something you can barely see in it –
That’s a communion wafer below Jesus. This painting is a catholic anti-protestant propaganda piece – it wants you to understand that Jesus is legit dying right into that wafer, just for you.
The rapture will be strictly pants-optional
I find this painting powerfully weird. But apparently Jesus is much less keen on pants – and non-cape clothes in general – than most of the other people in heaven. Although that one guy to Jesus’s right is trying, but has only managed to turn his clothes into a large purple nappy.
You do you, purple guy.
The other thing about the art in this exhibition is…
Ok, ok look, I need to talk about stairs, but you must understand it isn’t a complaint, ok? Everyone?
This exhibit is in Pallazo Strozzi, where they often have exhibitions of various less famous art from around the joint.
The exhibition space is two moderately lengthy flights of stairs up.
The paintings here are mostly the walls of other buildings. The painting of cape-Jesus and nappy man is quite tall – Jesus would be maybe neice-height – so the painting is maybe 3 to 3 and a half meters. And is the wall of a building, so made of bricks or something. They were inset into the walls here, but I’d guess they must have been a hand or more thick.
And there doesn’t appear to be an elevator.
So I don’t know who the hell got them in here, but dang that must have been a process.
Sweet Zombie Jesus!
After this I went off to dinner. It was nice.
Actually this reminds me of a story I neglected to tell last night.
So at all the restaurants I’ve been to, they bring out bred for you. I have no idea why; the bred they bring appears to be stale and mostly tastes like slightly moist notebooks. Possibly it’s the remains of leftover product from the markets.
None the less, bring it they do.
Last night, I got a pasta entre-sort-of thing, and it came with bread.
I finished the pasta, and they took it away. The head waiter asked the waiter why it’d been taken, as I had more food coming.
And so it came back, very sorry, you have more coming, sorry, etc.
And then a different waiter took it away, about 40 seconds later, and made it almost to the kitchen, and then brought it back.
And then I drank some water, waited for the main, which came out. And the waiter took the bread away.
I could see the head waiter, in conversation with another couple who were ordering, looking pleadingly/murderously as this waiter took the entirely unwanted bread, hoping to catch his eye and tell him to put the freaking bread back.
A minute later, the head waiter returned the bread, making sure all the waiters understood it wasn’t to be taken again. I forced myself to eat some of the weirdly damp and yet also entirely desiccating to the mouth bread, just to prevent some kind of bread-based revolution occurring and me being bread-knifed on the way out.
Tonight I had a different dinner entertainment, not at all to do with my food. The place I ate was rather popular. About every five minutes, half a dozen people would troop in, ask for a table, say they had no reservation, and troop out after being told to put their names down and come back in half an hour or more.
This repeated until a group of 5 Americans came in and when the waiter asked if they had a reservation, said ‘Oh we’re just going to join our friends who already have a table’.
The waiter looked to where they were pointing – a table for 2, occupied by 2, with other very full tables near it – and quite clearly very nearly lost it. He managed to convince them – in a way that you would call technically polite – that, no, there was no way in hell he was going to attempt to seat 7 at a table for 2, please get out of my restaurant.
He did not suggest they come back in half an hour or an hour.