>Today was another day crammed with excitement. Dr. P, Future Dr. H (FDH), and I began with a visit to the Museum of San Marco, a monastery from the 1400s. The monastery had many wonderful frescoes done by Fra Angelico, including The Annunciation and a very surreal scene of Christ being tormented on the cross by disembodied Roman hands. How Dalí! (Pictures posted when I get home.)
San Marco is also known for several rooms of relics from Savonarola. Savonarola was the prior of the monastery and a prominent religious fanatic whose enemies had him burned at the stake. I had been eagerly anticipating seeing the relics, but I forgot an important fact about relics: some relics are items that have touched the holy person, not actual parts of the holy person. All of Savonarola’s relics were the boring former category. There was a chunk of wood displayed that may have been from the stake he was burned at, but we were not clear what it was because the sign was in Italian, which none of us understand.
After San Marco, we hustled as best we could over to the Ufizzi, where we had pre-bought tickets. I sat “as best we could” because Wednesday must be tour and school-group day in Firenze, as the streets and piazzas were completely mobbed. The Ufizzi was also packed, but still interesting. We saw lots of great art, including my fave painting, Madonna and Child by Fra Fillipo Lippi. The painting is serenely beautiful, I also like that Lippi was a monk who impregnated Lucretia, the nun who posed as Madonna in his portraits. Their son Fillipino Lippi was also a prominent Renaissance painter.
Dr. P and I were art-ed out after about 2.5 hours, but FDH is hardcore and went on to the Galleria Dell’Accademia to see Michelangelo’s David while Dr. P and I wandered around Firenze’s antiques district. I have absolutely no interest in sculpture, but FDH said it would be a crime to come all the way Firenze and not see the original David, touched by the hands of Michelangelo himself. Put us in jail then, because Dr. P and I were satisfied enough to see the copy that replaced the original in front of Palazzo Vecchio when it was taken inside to protect it from the elements in the 1800s.
Eventually, we met up again and headed to the Boboli Gardens. FDH and I had a heated debate about children and discipline (or something along those lines) until Dr. P told us to shut the fuck up because people were staring at us. The garden was stunning, but also had some weirder elements, like a demented grotto and a statue in which the Medici’s very fat midget court jester posed naked as Bacchus riding on a giant turtle. (Pictures to follow.) How awesome is it that the Medici’s had a midget court jester?!?!
We wrapped the day up with gelato at Vivoli. I had pinolo (pine nut) and stracciatelli (sweet cream with chocolate chips, or at least I think that is what it is). Very, very good. Later, we had dinner at a yummy trattoria. Back at the hotel, FDH and I resolved our debate, so all is well again.
Tomorrow: Duomo and then to Rome!