Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pitti Palace

My last day in Florence... I have enjoyed my time here, even though, despite my best efforts to linger over gelati and soups, it has been pretty jam-packed and somewhat exhausting (and rainy - more rain in Rome forecast for tomorrow and Saturday as well, boo. At least it's not suffocatingly hot I suppose). I do love Italy, but starting to look forward to having a place to call my own in Nice - if I can find one that is. Having wild fantasies of finding my 'local' (bakery, cafe, bar...) and making friends and having a 'usual' order and all the rest of it. Let's hope it all works out...

I woke up around 6 am this morning, having succumbed to the temptations of sleep at 8.30 pm last night, without dinner. So it was off again early, first for an amazing chocolate cream-filled doughnut at a bakery down the street (which I stretched out for a good hour with a book) and then to the Medici Chapels. Not to sound all Nancy Negative, but not really 9 euros worth of experience to be had there. I was sort of left wandering around after half an hour wondering if there was anything else to see (don't think so). There were a number of Michelangelo sculptures, and you do have to admire the way he somehow believably makes it seem like there's musculature under that marble 'flesh', lots and lots of holy relics in fancy gold reliquaries, and some amazing stone mosaics - not the bitsy mosaics one's used to, but with the stones lying flush without joins, making pictures that almost look like they're painted on to porcelain or something. Those got a second glance, but everything else was done with pretty quickly. Ah, the jaded eye of the traveller...

The Pitti Palace, on the other hand, was crammed with masterpieces and gorgeously decorated. One thing to note is that, unlike with the Uffizi, pre-booking the tickets didn't really pay off, as there was no queue anyway. There was a LOT to see, the rooms were works of art in themselves, particularly the royal apartments (and going on the free behind-the-scenes tour to see the smaller rooms closed to general visitors was a highlight), and then they were hung with magnificent works of art, including more Raphaels than I've ever seen together, I think, probably about 7 or 8 in one room, and then in another there was La Donna Vellata, one of his best. Also plenty of Del Sartos, Titians, Perugios, portraits of the Medicis (who lived there after kicking the rival Pitti family out) and many more. The modern art gallery was not 'my' sort of modern art, mostly 19th century figurative tat and Italian impressionists, but that was fine since I was pretty tired at that stage anyway. Sat for a while before one of the windows on the upper floor - if you gaze out at the horizon and ignore the occasional crane and bits of scaffolding, you can imagine yourself living there back in the day. Maybe not a Medici, but I think I pulled off a pretty good languid Isabel Archer-esque vibe of the grand tourist in Florence, gazing across the rooftops in the rain.

I would have liked to have visited the Boboli gardens behind the palace, but as metioned, it was raining, so I whiled away more of the afternoon in a cafe with minestrone and a book - borrowed Ben Elton's Chart Throb from the hostel and read it all in a day to preserve my own books for another proverbial rainy day. Not half bad.

So, off to the Eternal City tomorrow, bags in tow, catch you all there.


  1. Your time in Italy sounds wonderful. I'll have to revisit these posts when I'm getting to the point of going there myself. Have fun!

  2. Your having a good time on you're holiday I see.


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