Florence:  looking over the city

Early for me in Florence is when the road workers below start. On Monday it was at 08:00. Same every other day, 08:00. Small mercies it isn’t 07:00. Pneumatic drills, a concrete mixer and the digger would be too much before then. And some days, a tile cutter or whatever is used for pavers!  Madre mia! Certainly ensures I walk the streets for hours. But, hey, it’s Florence and that’s no hardship.
For me Florence is not the ‘stay only for one day’ town I’d heard about. It’s all so much better, more beautiful and fascinating than I’d expected when I arrived: the wonderful bridge (I did to death in the last blog entry), the colourful houses alongside the river, the yellow, burnt yellow, siena (the colour), and cream houses often with coloured windows (that I did to near-death); and the small hills overlooking this old part of town (I’ll get to them yet!). It could all be a gigantic living postcard. Oh, wow. 

However, I feel very foreign here. I can’t understand much of what is being said and feel as though I should. I am very grateful for the huge Italian diaspora over the past two centuries that means many locals speak a reasonable level of english, much better than in Spain. In Spain and around Spanish speakers though, I feel a challenge and a pleasure. Here, at some deep level I feel I should understand but, I can’t. No, I’m not going to sign up for Italian classes when I get back. Would help my opera listening and would have been a good idea years ago. I’ll stick with Spanish for now and unlocking the puzzle of why on earth their telenovelas leave so many addicted to a daily dose! Yes, the Days of our Lives or, Coronation Street equivalents. Perhaps even Dr Who! 

Moving on

On my wanders I found the house where Galile Galileo was born and, the one where he lived later, just along the street. I used Spanglish to interpret the signs and convinced the three young Germans. Was I right? Doesn’t really matter…😉 seems highly probable. 

Back to the first hill, over an upstream bridge and up the hill. Not so big but wow! 

The tower. St Nic’s. Also known as the Torre de San Niccoló. It’s the shape that gets me. The partly bulbous top that looks so serious! Just Magin archers up there. Or fire watchers?

Whichever way you look at it it’s impressive. And I love the way Florence central sits just over the river from it.

The arrangement of the outside stairs is intriguing. 

The church at the top of the hill up behind St Nic’s. Wow! 

Up closer it just gets better. It is such a distinct style. No idea when it was built. Who cares! It’s very impressive.

And then there is inside. On the floor, very old memorials, possibly over human remains.

And the walls with frescos and hanging paintings. Astoundingly this church had no money collectors at its entrance. No, it was free. The monks run a shop on site but buying wasn’t obligatory.  So unlike many churches here. No, all others I’ve considered entering. Money takers at every door. Too many for me.  I’ve helped the church enough. 😏

Parts of the ceiling are superb.

As is the back wall.

And a Roman eagle hangs prominently, looking fierce.

And then, out the front. All sorts of people and things.

A cathedral! THE Duomo. The cathedral and Medici chapel (forgive me if I’ve got it wrong – I just love the buildings). 

And even old city walls down to the side of the hill, my next direction. Is there anything more quintessentially Tuscan than the adjacent house?

And some newly weds with photographer.  I liked the way they were standing, both with one hand up behind their back.

The various types of burial places near the church include shared graves and crypts. All overlooking the city. Don’t be crass and think of cost for a space up there. No! But I am wondering as there are so few….. Interestingly, the oldest I found was late 1800s. So not even old by local standards. Imagine having descendants here for hundreds of generations. 

What a place to be resurrected from: years of lying, rotting, in the ground overlooking the city of Florence knowing one day you will be resurrected and out, and still looking over a beautiful city. And, Florence has probably got more beautiful over time with better and cleaner streets and waterways, a sewerage system, and quality health care. Imagine the middle ages if you weren’t a palace resident permitted to use the important-people rooms. 

Here’s to Florence! 

And here’s hoping the Internet is faster next time I upload anything. My suspicion:  almost everyone in Florence is watching the Apple promo tonight. What else! It’s what I’d be doing if there was any juice on the waves.  Instead, I’m patiently uploading very slowly and cursing this Airbnb that claims to have Internet – they just didn’t say PEDAL fast if you want it to work …… Download speed of 1Mb/sec (good day). Upload? Almost stationary. Aggghhhh 


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