Tuesday, June 24, 2014

another bout of standhal syndrome

Every performer has a weakness for encores. 

And, even though the best advice is to leave the audience wanting more, we stage freaks just never learn.  Even if only one or two audience members have offered up a standing ovation.

So, here goes.  As an encore, I offer up a few reasons why Florence is my favorite city in the world.  And why I would consider living there -- for at least a year.

Let's start with the obvious.  Florence was not built as a living museum.  But it has turned into one.

It was one of the cities that saw its glory blaze during the Renaissance.  And it has retained that feel: as if you might see Donatello meeting with a Medici brother at the Duomo.  Everywhere you turn there are reminders.

Churches.  Everywhere.  With their tarted up facades and more inlaid marble than a Greenwich Village bathhouse.  Santa Maria Novella, in this case.

In the center of it all is one of the grandest churches in the world -- the Duomo, with Brunelleshi's famous dome.

Of course, there are the tombs of its famous sons.  The Medici chapel designed by Michelangelo (which I could not photograph) is the grandest.  Built for the banker family who turned themselves into dukes.

A favorite of mine is Dante's tomb.  The poet who dared to write in the vulgar -- and brought poetry to the masses.

And, of course, there is always Machiavelli's tomb.  Its inclusion in any list seems to stoke up the flames of controversy.  Just ask one of my former girlfriends.

For the record, I consider him to be merely what he was.  An ambitious amoral schemer.  We know the type far too well in politics throughout the world.  Of course, the modern variety has none of the panache of Old Nic.

So, why don't I pack up my bags and head to Florence for a year?  This is one reason.  Or, perhaps, thousands of reasons.

The crowds were the worst I have seen.  It was a perfect day -- and a weekend, when I was there.  But it was impractical to wait for the long lines to get inside any of the sights.  And, once in, with few exceptions, visitors were shoulder-to-shoulder.

The line you see is filled with people waiting to enter the Uffizi -- Florence's major art museum.  At most, they will get a glimpse of some of the western world's greatest Renaissance art works.

The best time to visit is in the winter.  The city is terribly cold.  But the crowds recede.  A bit.

I must confess, though, the real reason I would like to live in Florence is for the food.  It is home to my favorite restaurant.

Having said that, I suspect I could afford to eat there only once every other month or so.  That alone would be reason enough to spend no more than a year there.

Right now, it is just another one of those dreams -- to be considered at another time.  Today, I am on a journey north to say farewell to my friend Theresa.

I will see you when I return.  We can then discuss if there are any photographs of other cities I visited that you might want to see.

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