Nom de Plumage

June 24, 2012

The Tombs Of Italy’s Favourite Son’s


After yesterday’s long and exciting day, I awoke later than usual feeling tired and a little sad that it is my last day in Florence. Before I leave for the day’s adventures, I telephone my family back home. My mother has just finished her radiotherapy for her second bout of breast cancer and even though she is tired both physically and emotionally, she is relieved that it is all over and she is in good spirits. I too am relieved, but the guilt still eats away at my soul that I left to tour Europe, leaving her at her time of need. I know that is what she wanted and we argued about it for days (she won of course), but I cannot help feeling that I should have been with her.

Markets in Europe are something to behold. I love the idea that farmers/growers and produce specialists can grow/make their wonderful goods and sell them under one roof. Mercato Centrale is one such market in the centre of the city. There is everything that you need i.e. smoked and fresh meat/ofal, fish/seafood, fruit, vegetables, cheese, dried and fresh goods, bread and flowers. I wandered the food aisles in awe of the quality and variety of produce.

 

Two days ago, I stood outside the large arched door of Palazzo Veccihio, looking in and wondering what delights lay inside. Today I returned and walked under the impressive arch and into a world of opulence. The palace once belonged to the Medici family in the greatest of Italian eras, the Renaissance , and although not as opulent as the more modern palaces, it is ¬†elegant and very beautiful. So much so, that I became a little overwhelmed by all the splendour of art and architecture, that tears swelled in my eyes. Whether is was due to the relief of my mother’s remission, or my good bye to Florence or just the whole experience, I know not, but whatever it was it was emotional and beautiful?

A short distance away, is the Cathedral of Santa Croce. The importance of this cathedral, lays not in the beauty of the building or the fact that is a religious house, but what lays inside. Each of the four walls of the cathedral has lined side-by-side, the glorious stone and marble tombs of some of Italy’s famous sons. The greatest of them all is Michelangelo and his tomb is magnificent. Dante has also a tomb, but it is deceiving to the unsuspecting tourist because his body actually lays elsewhere. The genius Galileo is also here and many others. At the back of the cathedral is a beautiful cloister and garden area that I explored before I departed for my next important event – lunch.

Michelangelo’s Tomb

Dante’s Tomb

Galileo’s Tomb

I walk back towards Palazzo Veccihio and within the beautiful piazza, I choose a restaurant for my lunch. The weather is glorious and so I sit down at the very edge of the outdoor seating area so as I can watch the people and just glorify in my surroundings. I have yet to even grasp the basics of the Italian language, but I know enough to be able to order my lunch of veal cutlets with porcini mushrooms, fresh bread, a glass of white wine and an espresso at the end. A very simple meal, yet very delicious. It was entertaining to watch the gypsies pester the outside diners for money and the waiters who have the unenviable job of shooing them away and not so politely I might add. But I am sure they have done it many times before and so politeness has all but banished. Not ever dreaming of missing my daily gelato fix, I walk across the plaza to a gelateria for a blackberry and creme caramel hit. Need I even write, DELICIOUS?

Past all that glitters if not gold, the Ponte Veccihio is a buzz and crowded with tourists. But I continue walking to Pitti Palace. It is a huge palace that has been divided to cater for several exhibitions. I did not know this, so I was a little stumped as to what exhibition I should visit? In the end I chose the ‘fashion and costumes’ plus the gardens. It was interesting to view the changing seasons of fashion, but it also gave me a glimpse of the beautiful palace as well. At the back of the palace, is a huge garden that has been beautifully landscaped. I explored the many tiers and mazes until I found myself at the bottom of some stairs that lead up to a smaller palace that had a wonderful view of Florence from a different angle. Within this palace was old porcelain dinnerware and ornaments that are dated some several hundred years old. Beautifully preserved and presented, it was a lovely way to end my day.

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