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the giant museum

Here’s a NYT story about a man who wanted to fix his sewer pipe and ended up with his own museum: typical. In Cortona, Bruce and I went into what we thought was a small local museum, and twenty rooms full of treasure later, we were desperate to get out. This entire country is a museum. In the best sense of the word.

BK and I are solo this evening because we’ll be together non-stop for the next four days, so this afternoon and evening I strolled around this marvel of a city again. The weather today was perfect – sunny, breezy. I had a rest in the quiet hotel, then changed into the fancy lightweight sandals I’d brought for just such an occasion, when it was warm and I wanted to look good. Set out. After a block, I went back and changed into my Nikes with the extra padded insole. With this much walking, and on very uneven cobblestones and pavement, nice-looking shoes are out of the question.

Whereas for the local women, there’s no problem. I guess they don’t really walk much. Most Italian women older than 15 seem to wear a uniform of tight jeans with careful rips, sparkly tops, lots of hair and extremely high-heeled shoes. Now I understand where Italian fashion and especially their crazy shoes come from – women actually wear them here, on these perilous streets. Whereas even in comfy but not padded sandals, I lasted only a block. My legs and feet are walked out.

After changing, I set out again in the late afternoon sun – the bridges packed with Italians and tourists, taking in the vista – to San Trinita, to see a spectacular painting that needs a special light that wasn’t working when Bruce and I were there – the Adoration of the Magi by Ghirlandaio. The most beautiful Mary and baby, but especially – yes – the cow and the donkey, even more beautiful.

On the other hand, I’ve had it with countless paintings of a man being tortured to death, dying in agony on a cross. Enough. What a central image for a faith. Not to mention graphic images of the other martyred saints. Enough blood pouring out and savage imaginings of hell. With such grotesque but powerful imagery, I can see why this church has kept so many captive for so long. But I hate it.

I walked and walked with the vast crowds, taking in the evening sun, window shopping, trying not to be killed by bicycles, motorcycles, cars and busses. Finally took myself yet again to my favourite Florentine spot in Piazza San Spirito – the place where I’ve now come 3 times for a glass of wine and free aperitivo food.

You can sit there forever under the trees with your glass and your plate, as the sun sets and people come with their children and dogs to let them loose in the beautiful square. Passed on the walk home a little shop, one of many:
Now in my room, getting packed. Tomorrow we go early to Lucca for the day, not just to explore but to meet Bruce’s Italian musician friend Giuliano, who’s coming specially to see us. And Friday, I check out and we go to Cinque Terre for three days. Thunderstorms predicted – keep your fingers crossed for us. 



2 Responses to “the giant museum”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Ooooo Beth, homesickness aside, what a fabulous trip. Lucca……another beauty , enjoy! Carole

  2. beth says:

    Incredibly beautiful, Carole.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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