11 July 2011

Too Few Days in Florence

Switzerland being smack-dab in the middle of Europe, it's embarrassingly easy to hop a train or plane and skip around to all those countries we Americans dreamed of in Western Civ. classes. A few weeks ago, Maïf and I joined American friends for nine days in Florence and Venice, my first time in Italy.

First came Florence, a vibrant city with a view anywhere you look, seamlessly interwoven with its rich past as the heart of Renaissance art and religion, most majestically manifested by the Duomo.
  The city's treasures are well protected by patrolling men and women in uniform.

We stayed in a wonderful upper floor apartment next to the Medici family chapel, which made me feel a little like a gargoyle somehow. The apartment's owner is restoring a historic fresco in one bedroom -- pale flowers and poised birds framed in soft brushwork amid the damp chalky aroma of the ages ... these things seep into your dreams at night.

Florence is a city dripping with sensuality and romance. 

 And most of all, art.
 Clet, his self-portait and a work from his recent series using street signs for social comment.

But Florence is no calcified museum. It is zinging with café life.

And the daily dramas that make a great city tick. 

Next time I'll yak about Venice. People speak of Venice as a magical place. And it is, especially if you find ant farms of tourists magical.


  1. I've found the big Italian cities quite overwhelming with all the fabulous architecture and art everywhere. Always find sitting on outdoor cafes and restaurants with a glass of wine quite restorative.

    (Naples, however, I did not find very bella, which makes me a philistine, no doubt.)

  2. Dearest Philistine,

    I couldn't agree with you more. I believe that if the whole world would just stop and have a glass of wine at an outdoor café everything would be much better.

  3. Love the pics. A nice variety.