I have shared with you many stories of woe and culture shock, so today I thought I’d share a tale of a very good day. To me, this was yesterday; but since I have already written about 2 weeks worth of blog posts, to you it was probably a couple of weeks ago. (Lucky for you you’re not reading about actual yesterday (Dec. 4), or you’d be reading about my being wet and cold and homesick and about my wait at the post office.) In any case….
The day started off with a necessary trip to the Questura (where you do most immigration-related things). Now, you’re probably thinking “that doesn’t sound like the start of a good day” – but the sun was out for the 35 minute walk there and the lines were faster than usual, with the lady who’s helping me already through by the time I got there (yay!). With so much of the beautiful morning left (this was a Friday; I don’t have school on Fridays), I decided to just stroll.
Somewhere during my leisurely stroll I came upon the Bargello (lesser known museum); with my Uffizi card in hand, I walked right in (love this card!). While I’ll provide the educational tour part below, the Bargello was also cool for two reasons other than the art – 1) it was almost empty and soooooo quiet and peaceful – I sat in the courtyard and relaxed (and watched the woman pictured below sketching one of the sculptures) and 2) I bumped into one of the women from the charity organization meeting I had attended and it made me feel like this is really my town (bumping into acquaintances has that effect).
After the Bargello I decided to stroll around “my town” some more, soon realizing I was less than a mile from Steve’s school and it was almost his lunch break; we met on the hill and sat in the sun for a bit – nice! After Steve got home from work we decided to fight the urge to be lazy and go out for (yet another) stroll. First, to see if a Korean grocery store my new Italian teacher (she’s originally from Mexico and now studying Korean!) told me about really exists (it does – tiny but cool). At this point Steve needed to find a restroom, and as you may or may not know, this isn’t the easiest task anywhere in Europe and usually involves paying for the privilege. Since we were close to the Uffizi and I was thinking they might still be open (about 5:30 p.m.) and we have that card that gets us in for free, we checked it out – at first we thought they were closed because it was deserted, but the sign said “aperto” and in we went (good tip for visiting the Uffizi sans crowds)! So, how amazing/surreal is this – I waited for Steve in front of Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus”!?!?! Seriously – taking a bathroom break in the building with some of the world’s masterpieces?!?!?! Unreal. In any case, we still had an hour before the museum closed, so we strolled around and appreciated the museum.
By this time we were getting hungry, but being Italy it was still about 1 – 1.5 hours too early to think about dinner…but NOT too early to think about the aperitivo buffet at Serafini (which I wrote about and posted photos of here)! We had a lovely time at the aperitivo, and not having stuffed ourselves on what was not meant to be dinner, stopped by our favorite pizza place (which opens at 7:30) and got a margherita pizza to go. All in all, it was a very good day!
As for the Bargello, it is a sculpture museum, which used to be a prison. As I mentioned, the courtyard (row 1) is very peaceful (I didn’t know until researching later that they used to execute prisoners here – gasp!). The museum has a few lesser-known pieces by Michelangelo and (almost) an entire room dedicated to Donatello. There are also lots of tiny sculpted works such as vessels and combs and more. Photos are prohibited, but now I’ve learned in the less-populated rooms, if you ask nicely they sometimes let you take a no-flash shot (much better approach than when I did so without permission in a different gallery and promptly got yelled at and kicked out of that room). So, below, following the courtyard shots, are a few more shots throughout the upper rooms (notice the cool grotesques on the plate), ending with Donatello’s “David” as well as another artist’s (Verrocchio’s) version of David (seems like they had a contest as to who could make David look the “least intimidating,” no?).
It was a lovely stroll (I google-mapped as much of it as I can remember and in total I walked about 10 miles) – thanks for coming along!