Tuesday, 21 June 2011

A rewritten Florence post (i accidentally deleted the last one)

Rewriting a blog post is actually quite difficult when you have already had the giant splurge, but I suppose I can't just skip the rest of Florence for laziness. So here goes.

Day One continues

The aria selections were really amazing, sung by a single soprano accompanied on piano. She was a very good Asian woman and the power behind her voice was phenomenal. You really felt like she was giving it her all, not holding back so as to avoid overwhelming the small space. Tbh, the more exciting part of the night for me was that I actually met people and chatted and hung out and stuff. I met two Mexican brothers (cowboys apparently, no jokes) outside the church with the arias and they were asking me if it was any good. Turns out they are from some tiny little Mexican ranch town, so have never heard opera. I was a little horrified but also amused when they were so shocked by the sheer power of operatic singing that they laughed, combined with the expression on an opera singers face...its understandable. But they were really nice guys and I realised how much more enjoyable it is to walk around and look at statues with people and actually be able to talk about it. Had some Bellini, which is sparking white wine and peach, and is super yummy. Hung out on this dam thing that runs across the middle of the Arno, and its looks like you are sitting in the middle of the river, which is really quite trippy. Too much light pollution meant Florence had a grand total of 1 visible star. Tsk.

Day Two

The day was really dominated by the Uffizi. I could go into a lovely big art history rant, but I doubt many of you would be interested. So...the short version. The main hall had a collection of Medici 'classical' statues, although most of them have no known provenance. The coolest part was the mimiced the original Medici layout, so all the Emperors went in chronological order, so I kinda tested by recall against the statues. The medieval art was fairly brief, but  the proto-Renaissance period (I hate that term so much) was really interesting. Filippo Lippi and his followers really let you see the progression. Most people race through to the Botticelli room, but there are his two earliest works in the previous room which are astounding. I loved the Botticelli, although seeing his less 'famous' works was really interesting, and they are easily as good, if not better, than the more wellknown pieces. This part of the Museum got me thinking, that perhaps the LACK of overtly religious subject matter is a driving force behind the popularisation of a painting. In a modern largely secular (or at least not Catholic) society, fawning over the powerful symbolism and uplifting spirtualism of a Madonna is a little harder to swallow than 'pagan' gods, portraits or commoners. Its a theory in progress though. After Botticelli came Leonardo. They only had two, which was suprising, but it was two of my favouites! The Adoration of the Magi is so eerie and the forms so amazing, precisely because its unfnished. The Annunciation is an early work that I really quite like and appreciate. The rest of the Museum had less 'big names', although I will just say that I enjoyed the progression through Mannerism to the 17th and 18th century paintings. The Baroque Caravaggio stuff was so graphic and gruesome = awesome. The Uffizi took up almost 5 hours, and I went through fairly quick, I just got so very tired though. Its quite draining. The rest of the day.....not much got done. I wandered around to look for food, I hit up the San Lorenzo Market and gota  skirt and a marble statue of the Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna - cast from marble dust. Its so very purrrty. I also went to the Museum to the opera of the Duomo (the administrative body in charge of the cathedral, not the opera opera), which had all the old facades and designs - very interesting. Tucked away inside was Michaelangelo's Pieta - the one that he broke up somewhat because he didn't like it. This was quite unexpected, but really quite a beautiful scuplture.

The last part of the day was more Opera at a nearby church - La Traviata. They performed basically the entire thing, with 4 singers. Very intimate stage setting. The singers were quite amazing, although I got the impression that the Soprano had restrained her voice to avoid overwhelming the  church, and that this was the reason a few of her top notes didn't have enough oompf to them. The opera was amazing, although I would like to see it again on a proper stage when I am a little less exhausted.

Leaving Florence in the morning was pretty straightforward, got on my train and got to Roma Termini no problem.

Frascati news coming soon!

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