Living in Florence Living in Florence

What a weekend

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My weekend started on Friday night after I got off the last airplane from Paris. To celebrate my return to Florence, my marito (husband) and I went to my favorite pizzeria. When we arrived home, I couldn’t wait to look up at San Miniato while standing at the small wall above the Arno. Besides my fabulous run on Saturday morning, my marito and I went to the stadio (stadium) to watch the Fiorentina play a partita (soccer match).

The highlight of my weekend was this morning when my marito and I met up with two of our friends to take a tour of the Cappelle Medicee with a private tour guide, Letizia. I have visited the Cappelle Medicee numerous times, but have always wanted a tour of it. After going on two tours with Letizia, I knew that she’d be the perfect person to ask to talk to us more about the Cappelle Medicee.

Sunday morning we arrived in front of the Cappelle Medicee at 11am. We walked briskly through the center of town with a clear, blue sky above with only pockets of sun shining in the open areas.

As soon as we arrived inside, Letizia led us to a framed document with part of the Medici family tree. She explained to us some of the history from this branch of the Medici family and how most of the members were buried below our feet. We then went upstairs to the octagonal cappella (chapel) where large marble tombs were placed high above against the walls.

Every time I walk into the cappella, it takes me a few moments to take it all in. The cappella is nothing like anything else I’ve seen in Florence. Even if the Duomo is impressive inside and out, the cappella has a magnificent, yet somber, effect that takes some getting used to. We listened to Letizia tell us about so many of the details in the cappella. She explained how the fresco in the dome was supposed to be lapis lazuli to represent the sky and the stars. For some unknown reason, it was never done. The Medici family did put money aside to complete the cappella, but it was never done. Empty spaces accentuate the statues never completed.

She took us to the Sagrestia Nuova, which was done by Michelangelo. It’s where he mixed architecture and sculpture. I had been in the sagrestia nuova (new sacristy), but never appreciated until now. Letizia’s explanation of the statues, the message that Michelangelo was transmitting, and the beauty in the details allowed me to appreciate it.

After our visit of the Cappelle Medicee, we walked to Santa Maria Novella. I have always loved this church, but knew nothing of its history. Letizia taught us so much about Florence’s only gothic church. I saw it in such a different light that it was almost as if I were visiting some other church.

I have read a little about both places, but having someone explain it to me while I’m standing inside makes a world of difference.

We are planning on more tours together next year, and hopefully will have other friends of ours join us. A few others were supposed to join us, but in the end were unable to.

After our visits this morning, we had lunch together at one of my favorite Tuscan restaurants. We ate so much that we had to walk around town to burn it off. I was so happy that we were near Ponte alla Carraia so that we could walk along the Arno. Just yesterday, I was running along the same road and wished that I could’ve had my macchina fotografica (camera) with me.

After so many days in Paris, it was a dream to jump back into my city, run around it, visit it, watch my football team, enjoy its delicious specialties, and appreciate the city’s gifts. This weekend was one of the best I’ve had upon returning to Florence. Now that I go away so regularly, I have started to make more plans like these with my marito and friends.

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