Made in Tuscany

Theme 1: Aerials Theme 2: Fissures Theme 3: Block and circle Theme 4: Tuscan junk Theme 5: Pomegranate Theme 6:Florentine block Theme 7: At Edisons

Tuscan Journal /2

6 to 19 July 2001

After five days of good food, good company and inspiring surroundings in the hills (see Tuscan journal /1), it was time to move on to the second leg of my holiday.

I left Vallico Sotto and Il Collegio with good memories, around 130 digital photos, a pile of my "art works" and a list of artists David suggest I look at in future - i.e. a lot to draw on for input and inspiration in the future.

Leonie had helped me find a hotel room for my five nights in Florence - not an easy task, at this time of year. She had called 7 other hotels, before she found me a single room at this one. Looking on the map, the hotel was very well placed - near Piazza Liberta, on the edge of the inner city. It wasn't grand, but adequate.

I had no idea what I'd be doing for the next five days, but I was hopeful that my stay in the city would yield something worthwhile. Here's a chronicle of some of the things I undertook during my short visit to Florence:

I found I didn't really like Florence as a city, but I like the Florentine people. When I saw past the impressive buildings, dripping with history, pride, prestige, power, control, etc., and made my way to the back-streets, I found much that made me smile, feel welcomed, and even feel awed at times.

One anecdote

During the "classic" walking tour, we were taken to some of the well-known Renaissance homes. The front doors were very large, so the owner could ride in on horse-back. And out front were ledges, that served as benches for the people waiting for appointments with the residents. The more people you had waiting for you, naturally the more important you were - that was the thinking.

A day or so later, I was sitting on a ledge in San Marco, a Dominican monastry, beautifully decorated with frescoes by Fra Angelica and others. I was contemplating a fresco of the crucifixion. I thought back on the comment our guide had made about the ledges that had served as the "waiting room" for the Florentine wealthy. And I started contemplating what it means to be in God's waiting room. I didn't really make much headway. But when I came across a shop in one of the back-streets, with the words "The Waiting Room" crudely written on the door, I had to smile, and wonder what to make of it all.

I returned from Florence with another 130 photographs, including a series based on the weathered drain-covers near my hotel; some reading matter; a new pair of sandals; and gratitude to God for giving me such a positive and uplifting experience.

irene in firenze
pelegrini, young Italian artist
duomo at night
damian from South Africa
the waiting room
antonio from Italy