Perhaps it’s how people that love cruises feel…or possibly how a bird feels after the nest is finally complete…everything is settled…every item is in it’s proper place…now life can go on.
This is the same feeling that RoJean and I are beginning to experience as we approach the end of our fourth week in Florence, Italy. My name is on the front door intercom…the new Ikea table for the microwave and a tad more work space is in place…and our red chairs for the home ‘office’ arrived.
Not that we’ve been idle and apartment bound these last four weeks. We have been out and about…let me recount the ways…
First and most important…neighborhood walks both with Silvia guiding the way and on our own. We’ve met Stefano the owner of a wash and dry laundry (and dry cleaners). And there is Leonardo a butcher (macellaio) par excellent. We’ve been to the Odeon Cinema where films are shown in their original language…we saw Room. And there are always new restaurants to try…Edi House…Trattoria Alfredo…Sergio Gozzi’s…some better than others. RoJean even spotted the distinctive sign for Dunkin’ Donuts Sold Here…but we didn’t venture past the sign.
Last weekend we signed up for an art tour of historic San Marco Church and Museum with Alexandra Lawrence, a most wonderful and engaging guide. We learned that Cosimo de Medici was the main benefactor of San Marco upon his return from exile in the 1430s and had Fra Angelico do many of the frescos (wall murals painted on wet plaster)…and that politics then and now are not so different…money talks.
We took our first bus ride across the City and up to the church of San Miniata al Monte for the Saturday evening Mass and a splendid view of Florence below. And we attended our first lecture at the British Institute of Florence. Joseph Weiler, a professor, lawyer and orthodox Jew presented the ‘trial of Jesus’ as arguably the most important and certainly the most famous trial in the history of Western civilization.
And we re-learned a rule of exploring…to rest when you’re tired. Eat when you’re hungry…or you can’t resist trying yet another gelato or cafe. Some of the City’s icons always seem to ‘pop’ up no matter where you walk…
Easter (Pasqua) preparations are in hyper mode all over the City. Various sized chocolate eggs in colorful wrappings are everywhere. A short stroll will reveal the beautiful chocolate ‘waterfall’ at Venchi Chocolate founded in 1878 to the bizarre facade of a Ferragamo hotel.
However, maybe the best feeling of being settled in Florence came when a shop keeper remembered my name and said “Boun giorno, Joe” and then as I was walking back to the apartment…I actually met someone that I knew…Nancy, an ex-pat and new friend that has been here for 20+ years…a quick hug and air kisses right and left…exchange of pleasantries and set a time for coffee. Wow…almost like San Francisco.
PS…Scoppio del Carro (exploding cart) on Easter Sunday morning. Been scouting best locations and getting my cameras ready to go. Knee pads will be required for kneeling on the cobblestones in front of the Duomo. Here’s hoping the weather cooperates and the Carabinieri leave me alone.