Day 5

Posted by Whit Barringer , Monday, June 04, 2007 5:16 AM


CT 7:44 P.M.

IT 2:44 A.M.

Yes, it’s really late. But I wanted to get this done before I went to bed so I didn’t leave anything out like I’m sure I did last time.

Today we got up at 8:00 to get to the university by 9. From there, we walked to the Piazza del Santissimo Annuziata. There they have an orphanage, which we’d actually seen beforehand in our wandering travels. What we hadn’t seen was the actual church Santissimo Annuziata. It was free, so we went ahead and wandered in, even though we had an reservation at the Accademia at 10:00.

At first when we walked into the Annuziata, it was a just a foyer with frescos (it sounds weird to say that, but in Florence frescos are everywhere). Then we walked into the sanctuary. I’ve never seen anything so ornate, so ostentatious, so beautiful, or perhaps even so sacred. Gilded from the bottom of the walls to the center of the ceiling, with inscriptions in the ceiling, a fresco, the tomb of a pope, the tomb of a martyr, and a painted dome, it was the singular most beautiful thing I’ve seen while I’ve been here thus far. And we haven’t even been in Santa Croce, where the master, Michelangelo, is buried.

Annuziata was extremely impressive. Something I saw that made me think was the actual painting in the dome of the church (ital.- chiesa). Unlike the Duomo and the Baptistery (which I said were different in style, but I found out they’re also different in theology – the Duomo includes room for purgatory while the Baptistery has the black and white of those saved and those condemned), the dome of Annuziata has no crux/apex painting. There is an obvious ascension of those involved, men and women clamoring for heaven, but heaven isn’t shown. It’s a yellow-to-white cloudiness, and then the bright light of the sun shining through the absolute center. No assumption, just an assertion.

From there, we hurried to the Accademia, which is where the David is held. They had old paintings and some statues, but that’s about it besides David. Interestingly enough, I saw an Andrea del Sarto painting (Browning wrote a poem about him that I really like). Even more interestingly, they had the incompletes, or the “slaves” that Michelangelo didn’t complete. These are blocks of marble, six and seven feet tall, that have the beginnings of statues coming out of them but were not finished. They were impressive, even if their description panels were a tad overdramatic. Calling an unfinished statue “human condition in finite and infinite” etc. etc. is avoiding calling a spade a spade. He didn’t like it so he dropped his chisel, had brunch, and then started another.

David was huge. If I hadn’t seen the movie Children of Men, I would have had no idea it was that large. But since that surprised was ruined for me, it wasn’t as impressive as it could have been. They had a 3D model of the statue that you could use virtual reality to move, but it wasn’t showing anything you couldn’t see by just looking at Il David. Interesting side note: he’s uncircumcised. Or at least, I was told he was. I wouldn’t have known how to tell, so I’ll take my friends’ words for it.

They also had a plaster museum for statues mostly built between the 18th and 19th centuries. These were the plaster models the sculptors used to do the huge stone statues around the Comune di Firenze. Then they had more paintings… And then they had the most expensive gift shop ever. Oh, did I mention you couldn’t take pictures? Yeah. That’s why. They make a killing off of selling stuff with him all over it. I bought stuff for Gran and Mama – I mean, really tiny stuff – and it cost me 16.80 Euros. That’s insane.

I saw some of my friends and we went upstairs to look at the XIV century stuffs. They even had some Russian saint paintings. Otherwise, it was a lot of gold and simplistic paintings. I’m more for the later stuff, which has depth, soul, and realism. It’s all impressive, but some of it is definitely more so.

After this, we went outside and waited on other people. I put on my sunglasses and nearly fell asleep – sitting on the sidewalk. We missed the other girl we were waiting on, so we went to catch up with her. They all started looking at bracelets. Since I had a whole 5 Euro and some Euro coins on me, I decided to head back. I stopped and got a 1.50 gelato (I’m not going to get to have them again, at least for a long time) and then stopped a grocery store that was strictly vegetables and got asparagus for my dinner for 1.90.

I went back to the apartment, downloaded pictures, and decided to “lay down and read.” I laid down, read two pages, and passed out on the couch. For four hours.

I woke up, refreshed at least, and got a call from Dr. Bane. He had my luggage and was going to drop it off at the school. I got my journal entries loaded on my memory stick and headed out. Shops close down from around 3-5 or 4-6 here and open again until whenever, usually 8, so the internet place wasn’t open. I went very slowly to the school (my right calf had been killing me for a few days now), explored a bit, went in the school, grabbed my bag, and came back (slowly) to the apartment. Dr. Bane tried to call me three times, but we couldn’t connect. We ended up texting each other. I told him everything was fine with my bag and he said to meet at the school at 11:00 for the Gli Uffizi tomorrow. I fixed my dinner, brought to you by 14 Euro, and had cinnamon peaches later on…. As well as another round of asparagus for my midnight reading snack.

The reason I’m up so late is because I’m behind reading for class. I found out on Tuesday that I had totally misunderstood the assignments and that I was supposed to read about three times what I thought I was going to have to, so I’m sharing with my roommate. I just read four chapters of the Aeneid and have one to go.

Hurrah! Off to bed. Kind of sad that’s all I did today, but when you take four hour naps because you’re just that exhausted, it severely limits what you actually do.

1 Response to "Day 5"

Sarah Says:

I was *not* prepared for David when I saw him. The first thing I saw was this picture of kids looking straight up with their jaws dropped. I was all, "what in the world?"... and then I turned the corner. My jaw dropped too for sure.

It sounds like you are having a great time... even if there is a lot of sleep involved. Sleeping in Italy is so much cooler than sleeping here. ;)

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