Every time I come back home from any trip, especially when that trip went really well and I’ve absolutely loved it, I find myself emerged in this kind of lethargy. I just sit down, scrolling through my photographs, reviving these moments I just lived. I think about what I have seen and experienced, and even though I only arrived a few days ago, it always looks like a dream. Like a parallel reality, or something that has happened light years ago.
I just came back from my very, very anticipated trip to Florence. I had never been to Italy before, and even though I want to visit loads of places in there, Florence was my priority. Simply because I am so passionate about the Renaissance. The concept itself has been fascinating me since I first learned it in History classes back in school. The idea of rebirth from ashes. In this case, the concept of freeing from the medieval dark Age, dominated by Catholic Church, the come back to Classicism, the value of the Human rather than a unique focus on this scary, menacing God that will punish you if you do not behave well.
Renaissance was a wake up call. Even though, as a feminist, I am aware that the focus on man was exclusively on the genre male (women were still denied education and delegated to the family plan – being a submissive and virtuous wife and mother), Renaissance brought to life Art itself and the development of scientific and engineering fields. Despite everything that has been said about the Medici, this powerful family that governed Florence in the 15th and 16th century, thanks mainly to Cosimo and Lorenzo, Il Magnifico, the world was flourishing again from the darkness it had been emerged in.
From Leonardo Da Vinci, to Michelangelo, Botticelli to Ticciano to amazing Donatello, they all lived in Florence and created in Florence. Lest forget the amazing Duomo that seemed an impossible work done by irascible Brunelleschi to the beautifully made Gate of Heaven by Ghiberti. For all of this, I dreamed about Florence.
Florence has not disappointed me. I can tell you the way italians treated me, as a tourist, in touristic points, that did disappoint me. Most times they were rude, arrogant, and barely helped when asked for information. Thankfully, Florence was beautiful enough to elude me from this and took me to other times where everything, but everything really, was different.
I just had to close my eyes for a few seconds, and let it happen. Let my imagination build it for me.
I could smell the wet stone from last night’s storm, the smoke from fireplaces lit in the morning to heat up the water for the shower. I could hear the horses’ hooves on the floor, pulling wooden wagons and the noise the wheels made on the stone, muddy floor. I could feel fear, the proximity of a battle. Just another one, as Florence had so many. Then the bells from the church, seeing a group of young nuns running through the food market. Boredom did not reign in Florence. And while I walked within its narrow and medieval streets, I wanted to see it. More than that, I wanted to live it.
I wanted to help Da Vinci steal the corpses for anatomical exploration. I wanted to persuade Michelangelo to finish that Pietá he started to sculpt for its burial. I wanted to tell Brunelleschi to be less despicable to Ghiberti. But more than this, I want to be a Medici. I wanted to belong to that family, I wanted to be the right hand of Lorenzo and enter all those secret passages uniting Palazzo Vecchio to Uffizi Gallery. I just wanted to live in Renaissance has a man, most importantly, an influential man living amongst the best.
But let’s stop the dreamy wonders. As a tourist in the 21st century, I also wanted to eat pizza, pasta, gelato. Back to reality, as a woman in Renaissance I’ll probably be miserable and die pretty young, probably in labour, trying to give birth to a bastard, that would be delivered to Ospedale degli Innocenti, the first european charity institution responsible to take care of abandoned children.
So, meanwhile, as a grown up and independent woman in the 21st century, I also wanted to admire the modernities of current days. Mainly to taste them. I wanted to eat pizza and gelato, pasta and try the famous panini (go to All’Antico Vinaio for that. You need to queue for a bit, but is not that bad, and for €5 you get a big and delicious panini that will feed you for the the next 5 hours). Leather shops are also italian specialities, for both shoes and bags, you can find them anywhere with the most amazing displays.
Hope you enjoyed my selection of photographs from Florence streets. I’ll write some more about the Art and other nerdy details 🙂