Italy travelogue, part V

Nora and family are in Italy for two weeks and she’s sharing the experience with us all.  Sit back and enjoy!
Laura

Another gorgeous day. We head out late morning for the walk to  Palazzo Strozzi where there’s a Renaissance exhibit. First we’re going to change  money at the bank on the corner. You can only go in through a tube-like door one  at a time–and you can’t take any sort of bag. Once we figure that out, I go in  only to find they don’t change money there.

But it was an interesting and surreal experience.

Along the way to the palace we spot a fruit and vegetable stall.  It’s tucked into a kind of dead end along one of the narrow  roads.

The colors are so incredible. I swear the strawberries didn’t look  real, they were so deliciously red. Plump tomatoes, zucchini with the wonderful  flowers still attached. Kat hadn’t seen damsons before–we had a tree in the  yard where I grew up. So she buys a couple to try. I’d have done the same if I  hadn’t just eaten a huge plum from the hotel fruit basket.

We walk on, with BW navigating with the map, across piazzas, down  little streets–and there’s a shop with the most adorable baby clothes. Hand  knit, crochets embroidery. The sweetest dress for my youngest granddaughter, Quinn, and the cutest little hooded sweater/jacket for her twin, Colby.  Incredible workmanship, so very special.

We realize we need stamps after we spot a post office, so Jason and  Kat go in to deal with it, and I wander the stalls outside. Score another  Christmas present.

On we go, and BW winds us around to the Strozzi. The entrance leads  to a wide, interior courtyard with a cafe. Lots of people sitting on benches in  the cool. We check our bags, get our tickets, and start through the  exhibit.

Amazing art. 14-1500, but there’s a stone bust from the second  century. Lots of Donatello–bronzes, marbles, wood, terra cotta. Religious and  classical heroic figures, and just out there. Not behind glass. I see  Donatella’s St. George and the Dragon. Fantastic. A grinning boy with a hole at  the end of his penis–he was a fountain. Peeing fountains, the plaque tells us  were very popular.

I suppose the amusement factor for such things is, was and will be  part of the human condition.

Many, many Madonnas with Child–and she always seems to be holding  Jesus on her left arm. Jason imagines she had a gun of steel on that arm. 

I love the ones where she’s cuddling him and they both look so  happy.

It’s absolutely wonderful, from the sculptures to the paintings,  all displayed in big, airy rooms with benches for those who want to sit and  absorb.

At the end of the exhibit there’s a long table set up with tiles of  stone, wood, leather, marble, bronze. You’re invited to sit, touch, consider the  textures, what you prefer. You can fill out a postcard with a drawing or  thoughts on your feelings. They’ve displayed many, and I enjoy looking through  them.

Back out we go, and wander toward the Duomo, decide to have  lunch–a lovely salad for me with a dressing of melted gorganzola.  Delicious!

I see more girls/women with black tights or leggings under their  dresses. WHY??? It’s not only hot but if it’s fashionable it’s still  unattractive–and just silly when the temps are in the 90s.

It’s nice to sit, eat, drink, talk–and have the little mists of  cool water trickle down now and then from the awning to cool us off. 

Kat spots a woman with a bundle of scarves, and one is simply  beautiful. The sale is done over the rail between the trattoria and the piazza.  Nice work!

As the line for the small tour of the Duomo isn’t long, we go for  it. Takes us little time to get in, and I remember so well from my first visit  here how lovely it is. The intense colors of the stained glass, the stunning  painted ceiling  over the main altar area. It’s a reverent space despite  the wandering tourists, but I think as reverent toward art and architecture as  religion.

Once we’re done, we hit the gelateria across the piazza. Mint for  me today–glorious, refreshing, with those little chunks of chocolate to add a  touch of rich.

Another belt stall as Kat’s buying gifts, then the men are tired of  us. LOL. As we’ve another stop to make–a return to a shop–they head back to  the hotel, and Kat and I clean house!

I think I bagged nine more Christmas gifts which basically covers  all my girl pals–and the proprietor, who has no English–is so sweet. Kat finds  a fabulous bag for her laptop.

We haul it all back where I find BW asleep on the  couch.

Tomorrow the Uffizi–and tonight I think very casual and easy again.

Nora

14 thoughts on “Italy travelogue, part V”

  1. The trip sounds absolutely amazing. Just may have to add this to my bucket list. So many places to see and not enough time.

  2. Please, please, please add me to your Christmas gift list. LOL! You’ve got some very lucky girl pals 🙂
    It seems strange that some banks won’t change money, maybe that’s and Italian thing. I always just get cash (enough for a number of days per transaction) from an ATM using my bank ATM/debit card when I travel around Europe (if using a US bank card, I notify the bank first). It just makes things easier.

  3. I’m really enjoying reading your adventures in Florence. When we were in Italy on a tour, we only spent a day and a half there. I can see that we missed so much in that city, and our impressions of it were colored by the haste with which we traveled and the crowds that were there at the time. I’d like to go back.

  4. Black tights are very popular in the UK as well. Women are not happy with their pale leg color so they wear tights to hide them. It’s too bad they don’t use a more natural color. Thanks for sharing, Nora!

  5. Black leggings or tights under dresses…Why???
    I can answer that…
    Well, I can tell you why I do and have done so for years! Under every dress or skirt, winter, autumn, spring and summer!
    It’s because I don’t really care for pantyhose, but, I hate having bare legs more!!!
    Unless I’m in summer shorts/swimsuit I can’t stand bare legs!!
    It’s a thing!
    They are more comfortable than pantyhose and can be as cool or warm as you want depending how thin or thick they are.
    I never wear heels, but I can wear flats or boots easily with either tights or leggings.
    So there is my why….. 🙂

  6. Thanks so much for taking us along on your travels. I visited Italy in 2011 and 2012, and LOVED Florence. I can’t wait til you go to the Academia and tell us all about David.

    And Gayla is right about using ATMs for cash instead of exchanging currency. You get the most current exchange rate, and any fee your bank charges you will be way less than the exchange fee. And ATMs are everywhere!

  7. Oh, Nora, thank you for describing your adventures with all of your senses- the sights, sounds, smells, feels, textures, tastes…brings all your experiences to life in a vivid way!

  8. I am a relatively new but faithful reader. Have always wanted to go to Italy & now want to go even more. I agree with the other comment – wish I was on your Christmas list! The sandals sound awesome! Am trying to read all the ‘In Death’ series in order – having to go back quite a bit – but having a great time trying to figure out Roarke & Eve as it sounds like my own marriage 20 years ago 🙂 Enjoy Italy & can’t wait to read the new book!

  9. If you MUST wear tights or leggings in the summer under shorts (!!!!) or dresses, at least try for a nude. Better, use an easy daily lotion self tanner. Got to be cooler in 90 plus degrees, and it has to look better under shorts and dresses.

    I’d use an ATM, but I never use one at home so don’t even know my PIN number, or if I even have one!

    Nora

  10. Oh, I remember so clearly this little tucked away part of Notre Dame, where I felt that reverence Nora describes. I love standing amidst priceless history!
    I thought we had moved on from te painful leggings/shorts debacle… Damn shame.
    I supposed I should be embarrassed about the giddiness I feel as I read about the great shopping — no such luck. Sounds heavenly!

  11. My cousins belong to a sect of Mennonites in NY. The females wear skirts or dresses and the young ones wear tights or “pantaloons” for modesty. I really enjoy your descriptions of where you’ve been and what you’ve seen.

  12. FYI and weird factoid but women almost always hold their babies on the Left maybe so they are closer to the heart? Or perhaps they need their right hands to do other things with. Interesting but most men will place a baby on their right shoulder.

  13. Hi Laura thanks for sharing – Eve would never be bothered by the fashion that’s annoying Nora so have to think Roark has more in common with Nora’s taste. I smile while I read these posts better reading than entertainment magazines.

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