Artnotes Italy Daily

Sunday, February 07, 2016

If this is Friday it must be Florence

Our House in the Mountains   Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  12 x 20"  30 x 50cm

 Monte Cimone  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/linen  8 x 10"  20 x 25 cm
Ponte Vecchio   Laurie ox Pessemier   Acrylic/wood  16 x 24"  40 x 60cm

Artnotes:  If this is Friday, it must be Florence

It was a week of catching up, and getting done those things we’d been meaning to do for ever so long.  We each got library cards; we introduced ourselves and our artwork to the local furnishings store; bought wood to paint on at a nearby lumberyard.   It sounds like nothing, but as we learn Italian, each task is a major hurdle.

A friend came to dinner Thursday night and brought the BEST dessert I ever had, from the AC bakery in Bologna.  It was a cake, made like a Napoleon, layers of light, crunchy pastry, chocolate and cream, with the finest sheets of chocolate on top.   We are very lucky to have made friends here, especially ones who like to eat.

Our real “long meant to do” foray this week was a visit to Firenze, aka Florence.   It is a mere 2 hours from our house, and I have been thinking of the Ponte Vecchio for weeks.  In fact, I am thinking of doing a one-day-a-week painting workshop there.  “If this is Friday, I’m painting in Florence”.   I love Florence images, and maybe some people visiting the city of art will want to make their own? 
We walked around – neither of us had been there for more than 35 years.   We were overwhelmed with just how wonderful it was – we’d both thought so years ago (Blair with Notre Dame’s Architecture program, me with Tom Brown), but it’s reassuring when you realize you were right.   When I visited Florence after college, I saved up from my summer job on Cape Cod.  I made 90 dollars a week, saved 50 from every paycheck, and somehow managed to buy an airplane ticket and travel around for three weeks (Europe on $5 a day).  Those days are gone forever, despite what the presidential candidates might promise.

Of course, there were many more tourists, this time mostly Asian.  I longed to see the Giotto frescoes in the Baptistry, but the 15 euro entry fee was daunting.  We settled for/reveled in standing beneath Brunelleschi’s dome in the cathedral.  David (the copy) stood outside the Palazzo Vecchio, and my heart did a little skip.  We went to the Boboli gardens, the target of my first trip, and wished we had days to walk through them.  There was a sense that Florence was a place only for the rich to visit – but we managed to soak up a lot and not spend a fortune in our 4 hour stay.  I don’t know if we looked “down at the heel”, but two French girls shared their wine with us at the restaurant, on the banks of the Arno (I can hear them now  “weren’t those cute little old people?”)


I am hoping to go back to Florence, now that we know how easy that is, and revisit the Laurentian library.  I had never actually gone into the Uffizi and the portrait of Federico da Montefeltro  and Bottticelli’s Venus are beckoning.  The Ponte Vecchio, was as beautiful as I hoped.  And who knows, if it’s Friday and you’re in Florence, maybe we’ll paint together?

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